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

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.129/07 06.07.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Nami says that they were invited to Strasbourg in order to discuss the representation of the Turkish Cypriots in the European Parliament
  • [02] Talat insists on the lifting of the so-called isolations
  • [03] Ozdemir says that the issue of the direct representation of northern Cyprus in the European Parliament is on their agenda
  • [04] The Turkish Cypriot Environmental Platform sends a letter to the EP noting that the nature is destroyed in the occupied areas because of the constructions
  • [05] Talat says that he never accepted the withdrawal of all the Turkish troops and the settlers from Cyprus, the annulment of the Treaty of Guarantees and the return of all Greek Cypriot refugees to their homes
  • [06] A British businesswoman reveals that she was forced to buy lottery tickets of ORP in order to have her job done
  • [07] Turkish Cypriot trade unions accuse the government of behaving as if it is accountable to places from where it takes directions
  • [08] Angela Merkel stated that it was wrong that Cyprus became member of the EU before the solution of the Cyprus problem
  • [09] Turkeys Constitutional Court rejects appeal from President Sezer and CHP leader Baykal on popular election of president
  • [10] Who will people vote for? What will determine their decision?
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [11] From the Turkish Press on the forthcoming parliamentary elections
  • [12] From the Turkish Press on issues of the Turkish political agenda

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Nami says that they were invited to Strasbourg in order to discuss the representation of the Turkish Cypriots in the European Parliament

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (06.07.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot so-called MPs from the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and the National Unity Party (UBP), Ozdil Nami and Hasan Tacoy respectively, will visit Strasbourg next week in order to secure the representation of the Turkish Cypriots in the European Parliament in the same way that they are represented in the Council of Europe.

    Mr Nami stated yesterday that they will visit Strasbourg upon invitation they received from Mechtild Rothe, chairwoman of the European Parliaments (EP) High Level Contact Group with the Turkish Cypriots. He said that the Cyprus problem was discussed last week at the meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and that expressions in favour of the Turkish Cypriot community were used. This angered the Greeks and the Greek Cypriots, he argued.

    Mr Nami said that the reporter of the PACE on Cyprus, Mr Joachim Horster has submitted his draft-report, that this draft-report is planned to be completed in October 2007 and added that Mr Horster aimed at visiting the island within this framework but he postponed his visit because of the elections in Turkey, Greece and the Republic of Cyprus. Nami said that in case this report is ready in June 2008, it will be discussed at the general assembly in October 2008, the soonest.

    Mr Nami noted that the PACEs reporter invited them to the meeting of the Political Affairs Committee, which will take place in Paris on 13 September. Mr Nami noted that they gave the draft of the report of the PACE to the officials of the European Parliament, who were much influenced from it and expressed their support to making use of the possibilities in the PACE at the EP as well.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Talat insists on the lifting of the so-called isolations

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (06.07.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat met yesterday with a delegation from the Greens Group at the European Parliament, which is visiting Cyprus. The co-chairwoman of the Greens Group, Mrs Monica Frassoni expressed the belief that the whole Cyprus has joined the EU and pointed out that the necessary steps should be made so that the impasse which exists may be overcome.

    The member of the Greens, Cem Ozdemir argued that there are some people who are using delaying tactics and added that these people serve the division of the island.

    In his statements Mr Talat reiterated the allegation of the Turkish side that the lifting of the so-called isolations and steps to be made towards this direction by the EU would be a support to the solution. He argued that their final target is not the lifting of the isolations and that they continuously stress that this could not substitute the solution. He claimed that the lack of will for lifting the isolations is tantamount to the postponement of the solution.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Ozdemir says that the issue of the direct representation of northern Cyprus in the European Parliament is on their agenda

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (06.07.07) reports that Ahmet Yonluer, head of the so-called religious affairs department, met yesterday with a delegation from the Greens Group at the European Parliament, which is visiting Cyprus.

    Mr Yonluer argued that Archbishop Chrysostomos should refrain from making radical statements and alleged that the statements of Archbishop Chrysostomos have the characteristic of eliminating the dialogue between religions.

    In statements during the meeting, Cem Ozdemir, member of the parliamentary Group of the Greens in the EP said that the issue of the direct representation of northern Cyprus in the EP is on their agenda and added that they are working on the lifting of the embargoes in the fields of sports and education. Ozdemir said that their visit to the occupied areas showed to the people of northern Cyprus that they are not alone.

    The head of the delegation, Mrs Monica Frassoni said that they are proud to meet the religious leaders and noted that the religious leaders could be a bridge between the two communities.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] The Turkish Cypriot Environmental Platform sends a letter to the EP noting that the nature is destroyed in the occupied areas because of the constructions

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (06.07.07) reports that the delegation from the Greens Group at the European Parliament met yesterday with the members of the Environmental Platform established in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The members of the platform asked for the support of the European Greens in their struggle for putting an end to the ecological crimes in northern Cyprus.

    The platform handed over to Mrs Monica Frassoni, co-chairwoman of the Group, an open letter addressed to the EP. The letter noted that the environmental crime is also influencing the Cyprus problem in a negative manner and pointed out that the nature is being destroyed in the occupied areas because of the constructions. The letter referred also to the water problem.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Talat says that he never accepted the withdrawal of all the Turkish troops and the settlers from Cyprus, the annulment of the Treaty of Guarantees and the return of all Greek Cypriot refugees to their homes

    Turkish Cypriot daily VOLKAN newspaper (06.07.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat described as a lie the statements made by Mr Demetris Christofias, General Secretary of AKEL and President of the House of Representatives, that the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and Mr Talat have backed out from their common views and the agreements they signed with AKEL providing for the withdrawal of all the Turkish troops and the settlers from Cyprus, the annulment of the Treaty of Guarantees and the return of all Greek Cypriot refugees to their homes.

    Responding to VOLKANs questions Mr Talat has, reportedly, said the following:

    What Christofias says is a lie. He made no such agreement with the CTP or myself. I have never supported and I do not support the view of the withdrawal of all the Turkish army from the island before or after the solution, the annulment of the guarantees and the return of all the Greek Cypriot refugees. In spite of the fact that I have stated this many times after allegations by Christofias, he continues to say the same lie. I am not obliged to reply to all the lies said by Christofias. If Christofias possesses documents on the issue, let him disclose them and let us see them.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] A British businesswoman reveals that she was forced to buy lottery tickets of ORP in order to have her job done

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (06.07.07) reports that a British businesswoman named Amanda Jayne Warrender, representative of Maywill Development Ltd, visited the paper and told its journalists that she was forced by the former minister of economy and tourism, Enver Ozturk, to buy a 10.000 pounds sterling lottery ticket issued by the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) so that Mr Ozturk could do her job.

    Mrs Warrender noted that she gave Mr Ozturk two checks for 5.000 pounds each. The paper called Mr Ozturk who confirmed the information. Mrs Amanda Jayne Warrender said that after Ozturk was removed from his post she visited the chairman of ORP, Turgay Avci who apologised to her and gave her back one of the checks, which was not cashed.

    Moreover, the paper further reports that the record of Avci is also not clean. It was found out that in 2004 the lifting of the immunity of Mr Avci was asked so that a parliamentary investigation may be conducted against him for causing trouble in a tender, securing posts to his relatives and spending money in an improper manner. Mr Avci was accused then by Sonay Adem, MP with the Republican Turkish Party.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Turkish Cypriot trade unions accuse the government of behaving as if it is accountable to places from where it takes directions

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (06.07.07) reports that 30 trade unions and other organizations have decided to carry out a protest act in front of the building of the assembly on Monday. The organizations will protest against the Social Securities Draft-Law, arguing that the views of the people have not been taken into consideration while this draft-law was being prepared and that the government behaved as if it is accountable to places from where it takes directions and not to the people.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Angela Merkel stated that it was wrong that Cyprus became member of the EU before the solution of the Cyprus problem

    Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (06.07.07) reports that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that it was wrong that Cyprus became member of the EU before the solution of the Cyprus problem. Mrs Merkel, who was replying to questions about Cyprus and Turkey addressed to her by the Turkish origin deputy Professor Hakki Keskin, in a meeting of a commission of the Federal Parliament in Germany, stated that no progress could be made during the German EU presidency. Unfortunately both the Greek Cypriots and Turkey preserved their positions on this issue, she said and added that these discussions have shown to them openly that from now on a country which has not solved its internal problems must not become member of the EU. Otherwise, as it was seen from the Cyprus example, the member country can prevent the developments that can bring the solution. Asked by Mr Keskin about the attitude of the French President Nicolas Sarkozy towards Turkeys EU negotiations, Mrs Merkel stated: The negotiations are continuing and added that during the German Presidency two new chapters were opened for negotiations and the negotiations for three more chapters were continued.

    (CS)

    [09] Turkey´s Constitutional Court rejects appeal from President Sezer and CHP leader Baykal on popular election of president

    Turkish daily TODAY´S ZAMAN newspaper (06.07.07) reports:

    In a surprise ruling the Constitutional Court yesterday rejected applications from President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), upholding a package of constitutional changes that pave the way for election of the president by popular vote.

    The changes are now expected to be put to a referendum in mid-October. President Sezer has both applied to the Constitutional Court to get the changes annulled and called for a referendum after reviewing the amendments passed in Parliament by an overwhelming majority vote. A referendum on the constitutional amendments is not expected before October, as Sezer vetoed a separate amendment to reduce the referendum period from the current 120 days following publication of the changes in the Official Gazette to 45. The changes were published in the Official Gazette on June 16.

    The court unanimously rejected requests from Sezer and the CHP to annul the changes because one of the amendments was passed by less than 367 votes, Haim K1l1ç, acting court president, told reporters. It also rejected objections on procedural grounds with a majority vote.

    The constitutional changes allow election of the president by popular vote, rather than the current practice of election in Parliament, for two five-year consecutive terms; reduce the parliamentary election period from five years to four; and stipulate that a quorum of 184 deputies would be enough to elect a president.

    The court's decision was unexpected and triggered discussion about a number of possibilities for how the process of presidential election might proceed. The government called for early elections on July 22 after the Constitutional Court canceled a parliamentary vote for president upholding an application from the CHP that there should have been at least 367 deputies in attendance.

    Since the constitutional changes will not go into effect without a referendum, the current norms will apply if the new Parliament emerging after July 22 elections attempts to elect a new president. This means the new president will be elected by parliamentary vote for a seven-year term and in a session attended by at least 367 deputies.

    Failure to do so might trigger early elections again. In this case, constitutional changes will apply to the presidential election to be held after seven years unless the new president resigns on his or her own will, even if the amendments are approved in the October referendum.

    However, although the court ruling is widely expected to be followed by a referendum in mid-October and a fresh attempt in Parliament to elect a new president for the next seven years following the July 22 polls, experts say the new Parliament can follow different paths.

    Ahmet 0yimaya, a former chairman of Parliament's Constitutional Commission, claimed Parliament did not have to elect a president as the first thing to do after the polls, saying there is no constitutional norm to that effect. "It may elect a president immediately or it may do so later," he said.

    Others mostly expect Parliament to elect a new president following the July 22 polls. "The 120-day period expires in October and Parliament cannot refrain from electing a new president by then," Orhan Eraslan, a member of the Constitutional Commission from the CHP said.

    Former Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Türk insisted that Parliament will have to dissolve itself and go to new polls if it fails to elect a new president after those on July 22.

    How to elect a president

    Burhan Kuzu, a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) who also heads Parliament's Constitutional Commission, said the incoming Parliament could elect a new president to replace Sezer following the July 22 polls and then make temporary changes to the Constitution to ensure that this president will be in office until a new one is elected by popular vote. "The Parliament will decide on how to proceed according to distribution of seats emerging out of the July 22 polls," he said.

    Another possibility is that Parliament will focus on the election of a new president according to currently valid norms and decide to suspend the referendum process on the constitutional changes for the time being. "The best thing to do for Parliament would be to set a calendar to elect the new president and elect one. The issue of referendum will be assessed separately," said Nihat Ergün, deputy parliamentary group chairman of the AK Party.

    He said a positive outcome from the referendum in favor of the constitutional changes is not a set in stone and added there would be an election calendar to elect the next president even if the outcome is positive. That would mean President Sezer, who is already having a prolonged term due to Parliament's failure to elect his successor, would stay in the post for another several months. "We don't have the luxury to wait for 2008 to elect a new president," Ergün said.

    In a different scenario, the ruling AK Party would block election of a new president in Parliament, forcing fresh parliamentary elections. By the time the new elections are held, the constitutional changes would be approved in the October referendum and voters would go to ballot boxes to elect both a new parliament and a new president. Observers say the AK Party might opt for such an option particularly if it comes up with less deputies than hoped for in the July 22 elections and predicts better results in a new election.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan was tightlipped after the announcement of the Constitutional Court decision. Responding to questions from reporters, the prime minister said he would not comment before seeing a detailed justification for the ruling from the court.

    [10] Who will people vote for? What will determine their decision?

    Under the above title, Turkish daily TODAY´S ZAMAN newspaper (06.07.07) publishes the following:

    With what are arguably the most critical elections in the history of Turkish democracy approaching, the results of public opinion surveys are disclosed one after the other.

    Naturally, the thing people are most curious about is which parties will enter Parliament by surpassing the 10 percent election threshold and which party will garner what percentage of the vote. To satisfy the curiosity of our readers, I'd like to share the results of five surveys conducted recently.

    According to the results obtained by polling firm GENAR, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will get 40.9 percent of the vote in the July 22 elections and enter Parliament with 317 deputies, the Republican People's Party (CHP) with 142 deputies, garnering 22.1 percent of the vote, and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) will get 10.8 percent and win 56 seats. The independent candidates will win 35 seats with 7.2 percent of the vote. It is not difficult to guess that most of them will be the candidates of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party.

    The results of another surveying firm, ANAR, are as follows: The AK Party will win 325 seats with 43 percent of the vote, the CHP 143 seats with 23 percent, the MHP 53 seats with 11 percent and independents will win 29 seats with 6 percent of the vote.

    SONAR's results show that the AK Party will win 274 seats with 40.5 percent of the vote, the CHP 100 seats with 20.03 percent, the MHP will win 62 seats with 12.2 percent and the Young Party (GP) will win 42 seats with 11.06 percent of the vote. While the results revealed by all other surveying firms point out that only three parties will enter Parliament, the SONAR survey estimates that the GP will also pass the threshold.

    The results of KAMAR indicate that the AK Party will get 39.8 percent of the vote and win 317 seats and that the CHP will win 156 seats with 23.6 percent. The survey estimates that in the event the MHP, which is at the threshold now with 9.8 percent, surpasses the election barrier, it will win 48 seats and that independent candidates will win 29 seats with 6.4 percent of the vote.

    I'd like to end the topic here by saying that some person-specific surveys, the results of which have not been disclosed to the public, envisage a three-party Parliament accompanied by independent deputies after July 22. Also, all surveys indicate an AK Party government after the elections.

    At this point, the fundamental question that perpetually suggests itself is what determines voter tendencies. The findings of research company VERITAS provide the answer to this question. According to the results of a VERITAS survey conducted by talking face-to-face with 13,794 people in 27 provinces, the party leaders play a major role in the decision of the voter. A record 83.2 percent of participants say that the person leading a party is either "very important" (43.1 percent) or "important" (40.1 percent.) Those saying that it is "not important at all" number 3.8 percent, those saying "not important" amount to 7.7 percent and those saying that it "doesn't matter" account for 5.3 percent.

    Party ideologies are also of importance for voters. For 38.5 percent of them, the party ideology is "very important" in terms of their decisions; 46.3 percent find it "important." While the rate of those saying that it is "not important at all" is as low as 2.7 percent, 5.5 percent think it "not important," and 7.2 percent say it "doesn't matter."

    As for the candidates, 25.8 percent of respondents think that the candidates nominated by the parties are "very important"; 44.8 percent say they are "important"; 4.5 percent think candidates are "not important at all"; those finding them "not important" total 9.7 percent; and those saying they "don't matter" stand at 15.2 percent.

    Parties' past successes and failures also appear to be important factors in voters' preferences. The survey reported that 33.6 percent find past deeds "very important," while 46.2 percent find them "important." Those saying they are "not important at all" amount to 3.9 percent; 6.1 percent say they are "not important"; and finally 10.2 percent think they "don't matter."

    The research has revealed that voters also pay attention to campaign promises. While 32 percent of them find the promises "important" in making their preferences, 19.5 percent see them as "very important." Those considering them "not important" total 20.2 percent, while 15.3 percent maintain they are "not important at all." Some 12.6 percent think that they "don't matter." In the end, however, campaign promises are not as determining a factor as party leaders and ideologies.

    Intra-familial decisions also play a role on the decision of voters. While 15.4 percent find intra-familial decisions "very important," 31.9 percent say they are "not important." A total of 20.8 percent believe they are "not important," 15.4 percent hold that they are "not important at all" and 16.6 percent assert that they "don't matter." This in turn proves that family heads still wield great influence over the preference of voters.

    Another interesting result is that the influence of the media on voter preferences is not as strong as is believed. While only 9.6 percent say that the information they obtain from the media is "very important," 23 percent claim it is "important." Those saying that it is "not important at all" amount to 28.6 percent, and those saying that it is "not important" number 24.4 percent.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [11] From the Turkish Press on the forthcoming parliamentary elections

    The Turkish Press on 5 July 2007 continues to cover the forthcoming parliamentary elections with reports and commentaries as follows:

    VATAN newspaper reports that according to surveys conducted by three different firms for the AKP [Justice and Development Party], the AKP enjoys 40.5 percent of popularity, CHP [Republican People's Party] 21 percent, MHP [Nationalist Action Party] 10.5 percent, DP [Democratic Party] 7 percent, and GP [Young Party] 6.5 percent.

    In an interview given to SABAH newspaper on his way to an AKP rally, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said AKP's presidential candidate will be determined by taking the voters' sentiments into account, adding that if people were allowed to elect the president he would have been elected president in the first round. Commenting on the three PKK defectors' claim about US soldiers supplying arms to the PKK, Gul said the credibility of such claims should first be determined and measures taken accordingly. Gul added that the government has now established a more effective consultative mechanism with the General Staff regarding the cross-border operation, adding that the government has the will to conduct an operation if need be.

    In his a column in MILLIYET Melih Asik writes that Necmettin Erbakan provided the most succinct assessment of the elections when he said that this time around the issue is not whether the country will be run better or worse, but whether Turkey will survive as a nation. Asik says the race is now between a government supported by the United States, EU, Barzani, Talabani, Karamanlis, and Papadopoulos and constitutional institutions working hard to protect the republic. "The foreign monsters, who know that they can wrest from the AKP what they want to wrest from Turkey, are supporting this government," Asik declares, adding that some people who call themselves intellectuals are serving the interest of foreigners.

    In a column in MILLIYET, Derya Sazak criticizes MHP leader Devlet Bahceli for provoking the people into violence by his calls for the execution of Ocalan. Sazak adds that the increase in terrorism and concomitant funerals held for martyrs have increased MHP's votes, reduced DP's chance of commanding the center-right, and opened the way for a CHP-MHP alliance. Sazak warns MHP that ordinary people in Turkey no more want social tension, and brandishing a rope to hang Ocalan will not solve the country's problems.

    A report in YENI SAFAK under the title: "CHP sets its sights on MHP," which outlines the results of a Pollmark survey suggesting that public support for the ruling AKP has risen to 40,4 and that the main opposition Republican People's Party, (CHP), sees the Nationalist Action Party, (MHP), as a certain coalition partner.

    In an article entitled "Why is the left avoiding the CHP?", YENI SAFAK columnist Fehmi Koru calls attention to what he refers to as recent surveys indicating that the CHP has begun to lose votes after managing to reach over 20 percent in the popularity stakes and discusses the question why the CHP is hard-pressed even to retain the support of its "natural voters." He argues that the answer appears to lie in the distinction between what the CHP stands for today and the expectations of the Left, asserting that leftist electors are suspicious about the CHP's attachment to democracy to the point of considering casting their votes in favor of the AKP.

    A front-page report entitled "Tugrul Turkes: It would not be proper for us to align ourselves with CHP," quotes Tugrul Turkes, a MHP candidate for Parliament and son of the late Alparslan Turkes, former leader of the MHP, as saying that it would not be proper for the MHP to consider a coalition with a party like the CHP, which "has for years presented nationalism as a bad thing like the appendix in the human body."

    In an article entitled "Turkey faces a test of legality and conscience", ZAMAN columnist Sahin Alpay draws attention to the "really shocking" aspect of MHP leader Devlet Bahceli's parading of a hangman's noose before a rally crowd in Erzurum in calling on the Erdogan government to have PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan executed, namely "the fact that a political leader in the Turkey of 2007 can believe he can increase his votes by fuelling rancor and hatred and acting like an executioner at an election rally."

    In a commentary entitled "AKP's hidden agenda out in the open", ZAMAN writer Etyen Mahcupyan takes issue with the "secularist" argument that the ruling AKP has a hidden agenda to "Islamize Turkey and turn it into another Iran or Saudi Arabia." Mahcupyan asserts that "to the extent that the ongoing process of change in Turkey has transformed the Islamic section and made it a natural part of the public domain, the social center has shifted toward a more conservative and libertarian base," making the AKP automatically a centrist party since it is a "natural extension of that base." He goes on to argue that if the AKP has any "hidden agenda," it is to bring more democracy to Turkey.

    [12] From the Turkish Press on issues of the Turkish political agenda

    The Turkish Press on 5 July 2007 covers as follows issues on the political agenda:

    A report in HURRIYET writes that from now on the paper will field a "Third Eye" to monitor the political developments in Ankara. This unnamed "third eye" has filed his first report from the 4th of July reception at the US Embassy. According to the "third eye," the important development this time around was that Foreign Minister Gul and Chief of the General Staff Buyukanit did not attend this year's ceremony and a civilian orchestra, instead of a Turkish military one, played the tunes. The "third eye" speculates that the presence of the civilian orchestra might either mean that the Turkish military was thus expressing its displeasure at US policies or the United States was sending a subtle message to the Turkish military over the latter's reaction to the PKK presence in northern Iraq.

    A report in SABAH writes that Turkey was represented at the 4th of July reception by Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul and State Minister Ali Babacan, adding that the reception was dull because not many officials attended it because of the ongoing election campaign and differences between the two countries over anti-terror struggle. Sabah too notes that instead of Turkish military orchestra, this time around an American civilian orchestra was present at the reception.

    A report in MILLIYET quotes Ambassador Ross Wilson as saying during the reception speech that the United States will work smoothly with any government to take shape after the elections. The report also quotes Turkish military sources as saying that the Turkish Army was represented in the reception at the level of lieutenant generals, and not full generals, because Americans sent lieutenant generals to Turkey's national day at the Turkish Embassy in Washington on 29 October last year.

    SABAH reports that Gen Buyukanit has refused to establish contact with US officials at the Silk Road 2007 seminar in Antalya after PKK defectors' claim about US arms supply to the PKK. In the seminar, in which five US lieutenant generals were also taking part, Buyukanit only met NATO, EU, and Georgian officers and officials. The paper adds that Buyukanit also refused to attend the 4th of July reception at the US Embassy.

    VATAN reports that former Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said during statements to NTV that 28 countries are backing the Kurdish organization PKK, most of them Turkey's allies. As such, the problem is not in the adoption of motion on troop dispatch but to what extent that motion would help solve the PKK problem.

    In a column in HURRIYET Yalcin Dogan argues that the highest state institutions are of the opinion that Turkey should consider everything well before an impetuous intervention in Iraq, for it is vary hard to conduct such an operation without permission from the United Sates. Dogan also says that it would take just an hour to pass the motion on troop dispatch from the parliament, the important thing is what course the actual military operation would take on the ground, especially in view of the fact that 28 countries are backing the PKK and the United States is openly against Turkish intervention. Dogan believes the government should, instead, launch a diplomatic initiative to persuade these 28 countries to stop backing the PKK and join in a common struggle against terrorism.

    A report in Vakit entitled "America wants to infiltrate into the OIC"refers to the Bush administration's recently announced decision to appoint an envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference, (OIC), as a bid to "appease the rising indignation in the Islamic world caused by occupation campaigns intended to expand Israel's borders on the pretext of implementing the Broader Middle East Project." According to the report, Washington's move has been described as an attempt to infiltrate into the OIC by Turkish foreign policy analysts.

    Today's Zaman carries an interview entitled "Turkey is no longer the cold war's satellite country" with Suat Kinikoglu, Director of the German Marshall Fund and an AKP candidate for Parliament, who argues that "Turkish-US relations will have to be redefined" and that "March 1, 2003 was a wakeup call for America to realize that some things have changed in Turkey."

    In an article entitled "If Turkish soldiers gave guns to Al-Qa'ida", MILLI GAZETE columnist Hasan Unal slams part of the Turkish media for refraining from turning the spotlight on the "confessions" of four captured PKK militants who disclosed before cameras that they had seen US armored vehicles carrying M-16 rifles, ammunition, and explosives to the PKK camps on Mount Kandil. Unal also asks what the United States' reaction would be if four Al-Qa'ida militants were to make a similar testimony against Turkey.

    Finally, a front-page report in BUGUN entitled "Gangs are like an underground cobweb" highlights the remarks made by Foreign Minister Gul expressing his "amazement" at the size of the munitions seized in recent operations against certain "gangs." The report quotes Gul as saying that the General Staff has taken action against these criminal syndicates and that "our military and police are sharing intelligence" about these groups.

    EG/


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