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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-07-09

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.130/07 07-09.07.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Reaction to President Papadopoulos letter to the UN proposing a meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat
  • [02] German Foreign Minister Steinmeier stated that Germany is ready to extent every possible help to the next EU presidency for securing the economic development of the Turkish Cypriots
  • [03] Statements by the European Parliaments Greens Group member Cem Ozdemir to YENIDUZEN
  • [04] More on the occupied Mare Monte Hotel issue
  • [05] Cyprus has overcome the obstacle with TOBB and became ICC member
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [06] Columnist in TODAY´S ZAMAN assesses the impact of the Turkish elections on the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [07] From the Turkish Press of 6, 7 and 8 July
  • [08] OYAK rides the gravy train in northern Iraq

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Reaction to President Papadopoulos letter to the UN proposing a meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat

    All todays local papers (09.07.07) report about President Papadopoulos letter to the UN proposing a meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper reports that the so-called presidential spokesman Hasan Ercakica has confirmed that the Turkish Cypriot side has received the proposals and declared that the Turkish Cypriot side will seriously evaluate the proposals and will give its reply during the course of the week. Ercakica further said that the first meeting regarding the evaluation of the proposals will take place today at Mr. Talats office.

    Ercakica went on and criticized the Greek Cypriot side for giving the proposals to the Greek Cypriot media. He said that the action is for domestic policy considerations.

    KIBRIS also reports that Papadopoulos-Talat meeting will take place within ten days.

    Turkish Cypriot daily STAR newspaper reports under the banner headlines Criminal Moller and attacks the UN Secretary-Generals Special representative in Cyprus Mr. Micheal Moller and accuses him of leaking the UN Secretary-Generals letter to President Papadopoulos. The Paper accuses Mr Moller of being pro- Greek Cypriot.

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (06.07.07) reports the following from the United Nations:

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides to comply with July 8th agreement and start the solution process for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    Releasing a statement to mark the anniversary of the July 8th agreement signed between the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities, Ban reminded that the agreement provides the framework for a political process aimed at the resumption of full-fledged negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    "Although the two sides continue to be engaged through regular discussions under the auspices of the United Nations -- and both leaders express their commitment to a solution leading to a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation -- it is regrettable that one year has passed without any start to the agreed process," the statement said.

    "The Secretary-General takes this opportunity, therefore, to urge the two leaders to build on the progress achieved to date, by showing the necessary imagination and political courage to move from talks about procedures to real engagement on substance. While emphasizing once again that the responsibility for the solution to the Cypriot problem lies with the Cypriots themselves, he also reiterates that the United Nations stands ready to continue assisting the two communities in their search for a solution to this protracted problem," it said.

    Moreover, ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (06.07.07) reports the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Michael Moeller, the Special Representative of UN Secretary General to Cyprus and the Chief of Mission at the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), urged on Thursday the two leaders (President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos) in Cyprus to build on progress achieved to date by showing the necessary imagination and political courage to move from discussions on procedures to real engagement on substance.

    According to UNFICYP statement, Moeller took floor at the UNFICYP Integrated Medal Parade on Thursday night.

    Moeller said, "almost a year on from the 8 July (2006) agreement, it is time to fulfil the expectations raised when the leaders of the two communities signed their first agreement since the late seventies (1977-1979 summit agreements)." "Now more than ever, this island needs a renewal of confidence and mutual trust in a joint commitment to resolve the Cyprus problem once and for all," he emphasized. "The Security Council has urged all parties to move to full-fledged negotiations, saying the status quo is unacceptable and that time is not on the side of a final settlement. Of course, everyone agrees that the Cyprus problem must have a home grown solution. It is essential that Cypriots feel that their voices are heard in helping shape a solution. For this to happen, civil society needs to be allowed to freely engage and express itself within and between their communities," Moeller added.

    Additionally, ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (08.07.07) reports the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos sent a letter to President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and asked for a meeting.

    The meeting demand of Papadopoulos took place in Greek Cypriot press on Sunday which wrote that Talat and Papadopoulos will meet within 10 days.Papadopoulos, in his letter, proposed to discuss two working groups and two technical committees' starting to study within the scope of July 8th agreement.TRNC Presidency Spokesman Hasan Ercakica affirmed the proposal of Papadopoulos. However, he said that the proposal was published in the Greek Cypriot press, and this shows Greek Cypriot administration's unserious approach towards the issue.

    Noting that TRNC will assess the proposal seriously and give a response within the next week, Ercakica said that the first meeting about the issue will be held at TRNC Presidency on Monday.

    Finally, illegal Bayrak television (08.07.07) broadcast the following:

    Today is the first anniversary of the 8-July Agreement reached between the two leaders last summer during a visit to the island by the UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari. In spite of President Mehmet Ali Talats insistent calls for face-to-face talks with the Leader of the Greek Cypriot Administration Tassos Papadopoulos, no discussions have yet taken place between the two leaders since the start of the process.

    Meanwhile, Mr Papadopoulos has sent a letter to President Talat asking for a meeting but his initiative was seen as an attempt to gain support before next years Presidential election in South Cyprus.

    Mr Papadapoulos letter was handed to the President by the UN Secretary-Generals Special Representative to Cyprus Chief of Mission Michael Moller two days ago. Despite calls from the Turkish Cypriot side for `full-fledged negotiations` between the two sides, in his letter, Mr Papadopoulos was just asking for a meeting to discuss the establishment of two technical committees and two experts working groups.

    The Greek Cypriot Leaders letter came at a time when the Presidential election process started in South Cyprus and AKEL Leader Demetris Christofias candidacy for the Presidency was announced.

    Diplomatic sources say Mr Papadopoulos letter could be an attempt to gain more support in the Presidential election which is to be held in February next year.

    Meanwhile, President Talat and Greek Cypriot Leader Papadopoulos are expected to come together next week at an event to be held at the CMP Anthropological Laboratory in the UN-controlled buffer zone.

    On the 8th of July 2006, President Mehmet Ali Talat and Leader of the Greek Cypriot Administration Tassos Papadopoulos announced at the end of their three-way meeting with Mr Gambari that they agreed to begin immediately a twin-track talks process aimed at finding a solution to the Cyprus Problem.

    A 5-point declaration, agreed upon by the two leaders, outlining the framework of a future settlement in Cyprus was read out by Mr. Gambari at the end of the three-hour meeting held at the residence of the UN Secretary Generals Representative in Cyprus and Chief of Mission Michael Moller in the UN controlled buffer zone.

    The agreement conceived was to see the setting up of technical and working groups but no progress has yet been achieved on the setting up of the committees so far.

    But, talks between Presidential Undersecretary Rasit Pertev and Chief of the Diplomatic Bureau of the Greek Cypriot President Tasos Tzionis still continue.

    In a statement issued to mark the anniversary, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon urged the two leaders to build on progress achieved to date and to move from discussions on procedures to real engagement on substance. Mr Moon said it is regrettable that one year has passed without any start to the agreed process, although the two sides continue to be engaged through regular discussions under the auspices of the United Nations and both leaders expressed their commitment to a solution leading to a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    Emphasizing that the responsibility for the solution to the Cypriot problem lies with the Cypriots themselves, the UN Secretary-Secretary General said that the United Nations stands ready to continue assisting the two communities in their search for a solution to this protracted problem. To mark the anniversary, the Cyprus Youth Platform is staging an action in Lefkosia tonight to mark the first anniversary of the 8-July Process launched by the two leaders of the island on the 8th of July 2006.

    `Peace Now` is the theme of the action at the `10. Y1l Park1`.

    In a statement, the Platform expressed disappointment over the failure to take steps towards a solution to the Cyprus problem in spite of the decisions taken by the two sides.

    [02] German Foreign Minister Steinmeier stated that Germany is ready to extent every possible help to the next EU presidency for securing the economic development of the Turkish Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (09.07.07) publishes an exclusive interview given by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to the paper´s columnist Hasan Hasturer.

    When asked to comment on Germanys failure regarding the Direct Trade Regulation between the occupied area and the EU, and the possibility of any success by the new EU term president Portugal on this issue German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: As term president our target was to score progress on the Direct Trade Regulation between the Turkish Cypriot Community and the EU member countries. Regarding this issue we have held intense contacts with all the interested parties. These contacts showed that the time is not ripe for progress on this issue because of the existing political situation. We are ready to extend at a highest level every possible help to the next presidency for securing the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot people.

    When asked to comment on the allegations that the EU is a hostage to the Greek Cypriots and that the only thing the Turkish Cypriots could get from the EU is promises, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: For the last several years the EU worked in a successful manner in order to support the Turkish Cypriot community, economically and financially. The arrangement and putting into force the Green Line Regulation created a basis between the Cypriots as regards the trade. Despite the fact that the potential provided by the Green Line Regulation is not exploited to its full capacity, Turkish Cypriots working in the Greek Cypriot side of the Republic and the goods produced by the Cyprus Republic being marketed in the Turkish Cypriot side made important contribution to the economic development of the northern part of the island.

    By introducing and implementing the Financial Assistance Regulation the EU was able to provide to the Turkish Cypriot community, for its economic development, 259 million Euro. This is a very important amount and unfortunately the Turkish Cypriot leaders were unable to understand the economic and political meaning of this. As far as I am concerned the EU made not only promises but provided concrete help.

    Referring to the solution of the Cyprus problem and the EUs role, the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: One should not forget that as far as the solution of the Cyprus problem is concerned, the main responsibility falls upon the parties concerned. If the interested parties are not ready to struggle for a settlement then it is not possible for people outside to be successful. The international community under the existing conditions is ready to extend every help. The UN is the most suitable forum for this. The EU is ready to do everything to help the UN efforts to this end.

    (MHY)

    [03] Statements by the European Parliaments Greens Group member Cem Ozdemir to YENIDUZEN

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (09.07.07) publishes an exclusive interview with the European Parliaments Greens Group member Cem Ozdemir.

    When asked to comment on the forthcoming elections in the government controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Ozdemir said: It is a hopeful sign the increase of candidates in the south, because naturally the Cyprus problem will be on the agenda and different solution proposals also will be on the agenda. It is a nice thing when Kasoulides declared that as soon as he is elected he will meet Talat. Esteemed Christofias as well put his candidacy. Most probably he did not put his candidacy to say: I put my candidacy because I want to do what Papadopoulos did, it would be illogical isnt it? This means that there is small progress.

    As for the Direct Trade Regulation, Mr. Ozdemir said that one should not expect speedy results, and added that one should be realistic and should not expect progress in the short term.

    As for the authority in the occupied area the European Parliament member scorned Turkey for its intervention in the occupied area. He said: If Mr. Talat is the elected leader of the north Cyprus then his authority should be accordingly. There is something that I cannot understand. When in 1974 Turkey came here it had declared that it did so in order to save the Turkish Cypriots, which is the case. If this is so, why the police force is not under the control of the north Cyprus administration, and it is under the control of Turkey? If the aim is to make the Turkish Cypriots strong and sound then please respect their work. Here, who is serving whom? Do the elected ones serve the appointed ones or the appointed ones the elected ones? There is the same problem in Turkey and here, and this is unacceptable. The will of the people is taken as basis. There is no institution or person above the peoples will, neither civilian nor a person in uniform.

    (MHY)

    [04] More on the occupied Mare Monte Hotel issue

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (09.07.07) alleges that behind the chairman of the Net Holding Executive Committee, Mr Besim Tibuk, who leased the Mare Monte Hotel and the facilities around it which belongs to the Church and now under the Vakif control, is the Greek capital. The paper bases its allegation on a meeting held between Mr. Tibuk and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemeos on 13 February 2007 in Fener, and the subsequent statements made by Besim Tibuk in favour of the Greek Cypriot properties in the occupied areas.

    The paper asks: Are they going to give Mare Monte to the Greek Cypriots?

    (MHY)

    [05] Cyprus has overcome the obstacle with TOBB and became ICC member

    Under the above title MILLIYET newspaper (06.07.07) reports that the chairman of the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Industry, Salih Tunar, who took part in the World Chambers Congress, has said that through Turkey´s channel, they became member to International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). He said: We have become member under the TOBB. All the communication from Paris comes to the TRNC.

    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [06] Columnist in TODAY´S ZAMAN assesses the impact of the Turkish elections on the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus

    Under the title: What the July 22 elections will change TODAY´S ZAMAN newspaper (09.07.07) publishes the following article by Atan Atun:

    For most of the people, the July 22 elections in Turkey will forcibly divert the political life of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) onto a new path.

    It is a correct judgment based on simple assumptions, like the saying, If Turkey sneezes, the KKTC catches cold.

    The internal perception of estimating the results of the elections in Turkey differs when looking at them from outside. When you look at them from inside or experience them, you get focused on a specific point and what you get is the results of this region, which gradually get enlarged and cover the whole country.

    When looking at them from outside, the picture is totally different. The view is clearer when not attached to a political party and not affected by sentimentality. You smell the results very close to the reality.

    To me, Turkey looks like a new and strong bus of a recent design, confidently running on tough roads.

    The management of the bus is handled by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the driver is the leader of this party. His seconds are his teammates.

    The passengers sitting in the bus are the people of Turkey, and they are represented by the other political parties. Naturally their speakers are the leaders of these political parties.

    While some of the passengers are quarreling, shouting, objecting, protesting the management and trying to pull the driver out of his seat, others are cheering the driver and giving him support. This is what the picture is when looking at the elections from inside, or while sitting in the bus.

    The situation looks totally different from outside or standing on the pavement.

    The situation and the disputes taking place within the bus do not reflect fully to the observers standing outside, and what they see or perceive is a shining bus of a latest model, running smoothly and safely on a rough road. The performance of the bus hits you rather than what the passengers are doing inside.

    So as the elections approach, outsider observations are different than insider ones.

    It seems that the AK Party is leading and again will be the winner of this election.

    For ages the people who formed the silent majority of Turkey, living a life without compromising their tradition and culture, will again support the AK Party as they did in the last elections.

    The Democrat Party (DP), born out of the joint venture of the True Path Party (DYP) and Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) as the new hope, suddenly fell into an awkward position with the backtracking of Erkan Mumcu, the leader of ANAVATAN. Although the DP was once considered the strongest opponent of the AK Party and the inevitable coalition partner of the new government, it is now struggling to get enough votes to cross the election threshold.

    Although the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) claims to be the biggest, it is true that they are the largest of the opponents only and not overall. It seems quite impossible that they will top the votes of the AK Party.

    The Nationalist Action Party (MHP) is trying very hard to pass the threshold and it is very likely that they will manage so.

    This is the overall picture a fortnight before the elections.

    According to the act regulating the elections, the seats in Parliament are distributed to political parties according to the votes they garner, as per the famous DHondt method widely used in Western countries. The votes of the small parties underneath the threshold are also conveyed and redistributed to the political parties which topped the necessary number of votes to get seats in Parliament. The system seems unfair but is the best among all.

    The performance of the ruling party during the final days of the election will have a permanent effect on the destiny of elections. A cross-border operation over the Iraqi border to take control of the area widely used by the terror Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) will have a positive effect on the votes of the silent majority and the others. This fact need not to be a soothsayer. It will have the same effect on people as the 1974 intervention on Cyprus.

    In the Turkish part of Cyprus, the Republican Turks Party-Freedom and Reform Party (CTP-ORP) coalition government is now like a lame duck. They are trying very hard to survive until the elections in Turkey. There will be a change in the KKTC government as well after the elections. No wonder there came about the famous phrase I mentioned in the beginning.

    [07] From the Turkish Press of 6, 7 and 8 July

    The Turkish Press on 6, 7 and 8 July 2007 covered a wide range of issues in addition to the forthcoming elections and a possible cross-border military operation in N. Iraq, as follows:

    In a commentary in THE NEW ANATOLIAN (06.07.07), Ilnur Cevik argues that the AKP "will be landed with a parliamentary opposition from the 'left-wing' Republican People's Party (CHP) and the ultraconservative Nationalist Action Party (MHP) as well as Kurdish independents with indirect links to separatist PKK. So it will be fighting on too many fronts in the Parliament when it wants to push through sensitive or controversial legislation. Beyond that AK Party will have to seek real compromise with all these groups if it wants the new Parliament to elect a president to replace Ahmet Necdet Sezer or push through constitutional amendments which recent events have shown is badly needed."

    MILLIYET (06.07.07) reports that the Ankara public prosecutor's office, which is looking into the "Whirlpool" operation, has come across information indicating that the Patriotic Forces Alliance (VKGB) has been obtaining money from the state's slush fund to purchase armoured vehicles and guns. The investigation has also shown that VKGB deputy leader Salih Zeki Balaban urged a senior army officer to publicize the doctor's report that exempted Prime Minister Erdogan's elder son Ahmet Burak Erdogan from military service.

    SABAH (06.07.07) reports that the VKGB influenced military contracts with the help of some military personnel and held contacts with Iraqi and Syrian businessmen to purchase long-barrel machineguns. The report adds that the prosecution of the group is progressing slowly because the investigation against it is being conducted piecemeal and parts are not being brought together.

    In his column for REFERANS (06.07.07), Cengiz Candar describes the VKGB as a gang involved in provocation, swindling, and smuggling. Candar mentions a phone conversation between Balaban and a former Gendarmerie officer in which Balaban tells the officer to look after the arms seized from the train derailed in Bingol on 25 May as they might be the ones destined for the VKGB. Quoting press reports on VKGB's links with the army officers, Candar wonders how come the Army is not aware of the existence of this gang within the military. Candar says the identity of the gang leader, said to be a retired commander, should be revealed, warning that unless the police force and the army cleanse themselves of this gang no one would have any confidence in Turkey's future.

    In an article entitled "Militarists and Mobsters' Market", YENI SAFAK (06.07.07) columnist Ali Bayramoglu focuses on comments made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan about crime syndicates which, he noted, was as serious as terrorism because they have infiltrated into the government. Bayramoglu comments: "Recent operations launched against crime syndicates have revealed the gravity of threat posed by those illegal organizations to Turkish democracy and public." He concludes by urging the government to maintain an all-out campaign against such groups as part of Turkey's democratization process.

    In an article entitled "Is The United States an earthly God?",VAKIT (06.07.07) columnist Ahmet Varol draws attention to conspiracy theories which, he says, revolve around the United States and lead to the conclusion that there could be no social movement not controlled by the United States. He comments: "The United States indirectly controls almost all ideological movements, including those which mistakenly believe that they are maintaining a struggle for freedom through scenarios, plans, and strategies devised in advance. Although incidents witnessed around the world are ascribed to anti-American groups, they actually constitute a specific phase of its scenarios."

    Taha Akyol in MILLIYET (07.07.07) asserts that the investigation of the Ankara Prosecutor's Office into the VKGB, the Patriotic Forces Alliance, shows that we are faced with a broad network of connections, and adds: "It is clear that in addition to the known terrorist organizations, there are various illegal formations in our country that act in the name of patriotism." In his column Akyol says that it is up to the court to rule whether the figures and actions mentioned in the investigations have links to the Hrant Dink and Council of State murders. Akyol refers to the existence of "a culture of illegality," adding that the presence of retired officers renders the matter even more grave. He urges the state to eradicate what he terms this "black stain," while we, in turn, should "strengthen the aspect of our culture that considers lawlessness a shame."

    In an article in the same newspaper MILLIYET (07.07.07), Derya Sazak states that the operation against the VKGB "raised new doubts regarding the Hrant Dink murder." Sazak remarks that new question marks arise despite attempts to downgrade the organization behind the assassination to the level of "a group of friends." Sazak mentions the telephone conversation said to have been conducted by an official of the VKGB and the allegation that the leader of the alliance is a retired general, and goes on to ask questions about retired soldiers' being implicated in dubious affairs.

    A report by Evren Deger in THE NEW ANATOLIAN (07.07.07) states based on military sources, that the Turkish Armed Forces has come to the conclusion that global warming will pose a potential threat to national security.

    Under the headline, "Gangs would not be so effective if they were not protected," ZAMAN (07.07.07) runs a front-page report which quotes Foreign Minister Gul as saying that recent police operations against "gangs" have revealed these crime syndicates to have "incredible structures and affiliations" and that the purpose of these groups is to "render the national will ineffective and prepare the ground for extraordinary conditions in Turkey."

    A report by Tolga Sardan in MILLIYET (08.07.07) details the links between the Patriotic Forces Alliance, the VKGB, and the army. Secret police surveillance conducted through court order revealed that VKGB administrator Ahmet Cinali held meetings with high-ranking army officers.

    In an article in ORTADOGU (08.07.07), Mehmet Celebi refers to Prime Minister Erdogan's co-chairmanship in the Greater Middle East Project, the BOP, and argues that assuming duties in the projects of foreign countries is not part of the duties and responsibilities of a prime minister. Noting that the authorization of the Grand National Assembly should be sought in relations with other countries, Celebi claims that "the project of occupying Muslim countries, conducting massacres, and converting the Middle East to Christianity is briefly called the BOP." The writer then goes on to ask Erdogan whether he received authorization from the parliament to become the co-chairman of the BOP and whether he is receiving aid from the United States within the framework of this duty.

    An article entitled "Might these be just election gangs?", in YENI SAFAK (08.07.07) by columnist Koray Duzgoren questions the good faith of the Erdogan government in adopting measures against criminal "gangs" within the state ahead of a parliamentary election, arguing that if the AKP were really sincere in trying to root out these crime syndicates, it would be anxious to unravel the facts behind the Semdinli bombing and "treat it as a matter of honour" to solve the murder of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. He also asks Foreign Minister Gul, who stated the Government's "determination" to smoke out the said gangs in a recent interview with Yeni Safak, why the Government waited until the election period to take action against the so-called "Patriotic Forces Alliance."

    In an article entitled "Married to Turkey yet sleeping with the PKK", VAKIT (08.07.07) columnist Lutfu Oflaz comments on recent press reports that quoted four PKK terrorists in the custody of Turkish security forces as saying that they had seen US armored vehicles carrying munitions to the PKK camps in northern Iraq. Oflaz asserts that there is a "tragic" rather than "strategic" partnership between Turkey and the United States where "our spouse is continuously cheating on us. ... We have repeatedly caught our spouse on the job with the PKK ... yet we cannot end this marriage. We seem to be saying, 'As long as we remain married, our spouse could cheat on us with the PKK or whomever it likes.

    [08] OYAK rides the gravy train in northern Iraq

    Under the above title TODAY´S ZAMAN newspaper (09.07.07) publishes the following:

    While Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaar Büyükan1t repeatedly argues that a cross-border operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is necessary to severe its support from northern Iraq, the Armed Forces Pension Fund (OYAK) is gleaning ever-increasing profits from its businesses in and with Iraq.

    Of the 1,200 Turkish firms participating in the reconstruction of Iraq, OYAK has had the biggest piece of the pie. The firm has been selling cement produced in its facilities in Mardin, Adana, Bolu and Ünye to Iraq and exporting iron bars there from its steel and iron plants in 0skenderun and Ereli (Erdemir).

    The fact that OYAK has received great revenues from the reconstruction of Iraq, following on from the US-led invasion in 2003, can be seen from the freight passing through the Habur border crossing. OYAK employs subcontractors in its trade connections and sells cement, construction materials, paper and other important materials to northern Iraq.

    OYTA^, a subsidiary of OYAK, is supplying cement and reinforcement iron for the construction of supplementary facilities for the parliament building, the ministerial housing units and the police department building for the quasi-autonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq. The OYAK subsidiary paper production unit is reportedly selling paper to Xebat daily, a pro-Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) newspaper.

    The number of companies currently doing business in northern Iraq now sits at 600. An impressive 95 percent of this $2.8-billion market is controlled by Turkish companies. Across Iraq as a whole about 1,200 Turkish companies in total are conducting businesses. Of the Turkish firms operating in northern Iraq, 150 have undertaken big contracting jobs in Arbil and Sulaimaniya.

    Reportedly 380 out of the 500 foreign companies operating in Arbil are Turkish, and about 65 percent of tenders, amounting to $350 million, were awarded to Turkish companies in Dohuk in 2007. Two airports, amounting to $350 million and $300 million in Arbil and Sulaimaniya, respectively, are being constructed by Turkish companies. Moreover the tender for the construction of a $260 million university in Sulaimaniya was awarded to Turkish companies. Turkish firms are also active in Zaho, Akre and Behdinan. The infrastructure work undertaken by Turkish firms in northern Iraq was worth $240 million in 2003, rising to $767.1 million in 2004 and $1.5 billion in 2005. In their reconstruction work Turkish firms often establish partnerships with Kurdish counterparts in northern Iraq. The OYAK Group, however, avoids direct trade with Iraq, but conducts its business through subcontractors such as Bakra and Bakent Uluslararas1 Nakliyat and D1 Ticaret Ltd ^irketi, RE-BA D1 Ticaret Ltd. ^irketi, Nur Ticaret, Fefolu, Yüksel, Bark1nlar, Saki 0thalat and 0hracat Gümrükleme Nakliyat S1n1r Ticareti, etc. The transportation of materials exported by OYAK to northern Iraq is operated by Has Nakliyat. Construction materials sent by OYAK are stored in the UN storage depot, located near 0brahim Halil Highway, in Zaho.

    OYAK recently won the tender for the jet runway next to Hewler International Airport. In addition to this $300 million project, OYTA^ is supplying cement and reinforcement iron to Turkish companies operating in Arbil and Sulaimaniya. Moreover, it is reported that the tenders for the construction of Dohuk Airport and for the road construction between Hewler and Kirkuk have been awarded to OYTA^. In OYAK s annual report for the year 2003, when the US-led invasion of Iraq started, total sales were YTL 6.4 million, and the total trade volume was YTL 33.4 million, while the total equity was YTL 2.2 million. It seems that OYAK has had the lion s share from the reconstruction of Iraq as its exports rose from $1.3 million to $2.1 million in 2004. In 2005, OYAK s total income was YTL 10.6 million and total exports amounted to $1.7 million.

    Reportedly, the annual trade volume of Baksa and Bakent Uluslararas1 Nakliyat and D1 Ticaret Ltd. ^irketi, RE-BA D1 Ticaret Ltd. ^irketi, Nur Ticaret, Fefeolu, Yüksel, Bark1nlar, Saki 0thalat and 0hracat, through which OYAK sells cement and iron reinforcement to northern Iraq, amounts to $15 million.

    As Turkey s exports to Iraq exceed $3 billion, the Habur border crossing that connects the two countries has turned into construction gateway. Almost all exports pass through this gate. As an alternative to Habur, Turkey planned to construct the Ovaköy border gate, 15 kilometers from Habur, in 2003. However, after Parliament voted against the March 1 motion -- which would have allowed US troops to enter Iraq from Turkish soil in the 2003 invasion -- this project was shelved.

    Turkey later sought new alternatives to Habur. As the Kurdish groups, led by Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Massoud Barzani, started to demand fees of $300-400 from Turkish truck drivers and with more than 100 drivers having been killed in Iraq since the start of the US-led invasion, Turkey decided to build a border gate in Nusaybin, as an alternative to Habur. Under this project the area would be cleared of landmines and a secure route to Iraq would be sought, but the fate of this gate is still unknown.

    The daily number of trucks passing through the gate was 2,500-3,000 before the Iraqi invasion, but now that figure sits at 500-750. Despite this drop in the number of trucks crossing the border, trade between Turkey and Iraq is booming. Turkey s exports to Iraq have steeply risen in parallel to the increasing reconstruction work in northern Iraq.

    The history of Turkey s exports to Iraq are as follows: $371.2 million in 2000; increasing to $839 million in 2001; dipping to $649 million in 2002 before the invasion; shooting back up again to $829 million in 2003, the year of the invasion; then $1.82 billion in 2004; $2.75 billion in 2005; and an impressive $3 billion in 2006.

    EG/


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