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

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.173/07 07.09.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by Talat and the Turkish Cypriot parties on the outcome of the meeting between President Papadopoulos and Mr Talat
  • [02] Statements by Hasan Ercakica regarding the 5th September meeting
  • [03] Self-styled Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer: The place for a solution is the UN
  • [04] The decision on the Turkish Cypriot judges at the ECHR to be announced in a month
  • [05] Ali Erel and Mustafa Damdelen, filed a law suit at the European Court of Human Rights against the Republic of Cyprus
  • [06] The British High Commissioner called on the Turkish Cypriots to examine their options before the transmission of electricity to Rizokarpasso
  • [07] Miliband: Turkey must make available all its air and sea ports to the use of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [08] Turkey to attend at the 11th CIFIT fair as the core country
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [09] Foreign policy under the new AK Party government including the Cyprus issue
  • [10] Columnist writes open letter to Turkish Armed Forces urging it to avoid interfering in politics
  • [11] The first draft resolution on EU-Turkey relations is ready

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by Talat and the Turkish Cypriot parties on the outcome of the meeting between President Papadopoulos and Mr Talat

    Under the title Talat: We are tied to the aim of the solution, Turkish Cypriot Kibris newspaper (07.09.07) reports in its first page that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat stated that during his meeting with President Papadopoulos on Wednesday he referred to the need for speeding up the solution process which will be for the benefit of Cyprus, the region and the world. As he stated, they explained in detail the increasing need for a speedy solution because of the distress caused by the isolation, the fact that the trust between the two communities is decreasing and because the partition is going to become permanent. As he stated, it is in this framework that he made the suggestion for speeding up the solution process.

    Mr Talat also stated that they behave in the framework of the 8th of July agreement. In comments to illegal TAK news agency about the statements made by President Tassos Papadopoulos, Mr Talat stated that the Turkish Cypriot side did not oppose the 8th of July agreement and he behave in the framework of this agreement. We say that this process must be speeded up, he said and added: We cannot act today as we acted 14 months ago. We must speed up and make up for the loss of the 14 months. We cannot lose another 14 months, he stated.

    Under the title Behind the curtains, Turkish Cypriot Yeni Duzen newspaper (07.09.07) reports about the meeting and writes that an interesting conversation took place between Papadopoulos and Talat. Mr Papadopoulos said to Talat: Pray that no other than me is elected because they will be even tougher than me. Talat replied with humour: In fact, I want you to be elected. The paper notes that besides the jokes, serious conversations took place in the meeting and tough messages were conveyed. Talat warned Papadopoulos to stop the tenders for the oil search. The result can be bad, he stated.

    Reporting on the same issue, Turkish Cypriot Halkin Sesi newspaper (07.09.07) writes that Talat stated that the Greek Cypriot side wants to play with time and this is the reason why the talks did not come to any result.

    Turkish Cypriot Star Kibris newspaper (07.09.07) writes that Talat, who surmised that Papadopoulos was following a playing with time policy, by suggesting the launching of negotiations within two months, took an advantage in the political chess.

    Also, Kibris reports that the National Unity Party (UBP), commenting on the meeting noted in a written statement that the meeting, as it was expected, gave no results. Furthermore, the paper writes that the United Cyprus Party stated, commenting on the meeting, that it was shown that Talat wants to kill the 8th of July agreement.

    Turkish Cypriot Ortam newspaper (07.09.07) publishes in its first page statements by the chairman of the Communal Democracy Party Mehmet Cakici, who commenting on the meeting between Talat and Papadopoulos stated, inter alia, that the meeting had no result as it was expected and added that the way things are heading, they will lead to a deadlock.

    On the same issue, illegal Bayrak television (06.07.09) broadcast the following:

    Political parties with seats in the TRNC parliament have adopted a cautious approach on the outcome of yesterdays meeting between the two leaders in Cyprus.

    The Secretary General of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Omer Kalyoncu said that yesterdays meeting proved the Turkish Cypriot Sides suspicions that Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopoulos had accepted to meet President Talat for the sake of his election campaign.

    Also commenting on yesterdays meeting, the Secretary General of the main opposition National Unity Party Nazim Cavusoglu said his party was always in favour of the two leaders to meet but added that it is wrong to raise false hopes and expectations within the public.

    Speaking to the BRT, the Secretary General of the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces Omer Kalyoncu reminded that Turkey, TRNC and President Mehmet Ali Talat have been accused of playing for time on the Cyprus issue, but added that yesterdays meeting has revealed that it is in fact the Greek Cypriot Side, not the Turkish Cypriot Side which is playing for time.

    He said that the Greek Cypriot Side wanted to hold talks on the Cyprus Issue without a deadline or timetable and to tire the Turkish Cypriot Side into agreeing on a political settlement which is less favourable than a solution envisaged by the Annan Plan.

    Mr Kalyoncu said that President Talat will request from the UN Secretary General that talks on the Cyprus Issue should not be held without a deadline when he meets him next month.

    He also added that the Greek Cypriot People should not elect leaders who are former members of the terrorist organisation EOKA and who want the whole island to be governed by the Greek Cypriot Administration.

    Also speaking, the Secretary General of the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) Nazim Cavusoglu said it is wrong to waste the peace process with blank scenarios and added that such scenario based process could not serve the interest of the community.

    Noting that his party favours meetings between the two leaders on the island, Mr Cavusoglu said it is wrong to create false expectations within the public.

    Calling on the Presidential office to disclose the names of the 5 committees proposed by the Turkish Cypriot Side during yesterdays meeting, Mr Cavusoglu said the current situation proved once more that the Greek Cypriot Administration has not abandoned its negative approach on the Cyprus Issue.

    The UBP Secretary General instead underlined the need for discussing a two-state solution instead of a federation.

    For his part, the Secretary General of the Communal Democracy Party Asim Idris welcomed yesterdays meeting between the two leaders.

    Stating that the meeting had at least been expected to pave the way for a new peace process, Mr. Idris said that was not realized.

    Finally, illegal Bayrak television (06.07.09) broadcast the following:

    The Speaker of the Republics Assembly Fatma Ekenoglu has said that it is important that yesterdays meeting has brought the two leaders together after a long break.

    Answering reporters questions during a visit today, Mrs Ekenoglu pointed out that the Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopoulos had always avoided meeting with President Mehmet Ali Talat but that some factors forced him to meet the President.

    Expressing the belief that new developments will keep the negotiations process going, she expressed the hope for a positive outcome at the end of a process of talks on a timetable.

    [02] Statements by Hasan Ercakica regarding the 5th September meeting

    Illegal Bayrak television (06.09.07) broadcast the following:

    The Presidential spokesperson Hasan Ercakica has said the Turkish Cypriot Side remains committed to the spirit of the 8-july agreement.

    He denied claims by the Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos that the Turkish Side intended to kill off the process.

    In an exclusive statement to the BRT, Mr Ercakica said that the Greek Cypriot leader had proposed a method where by the preparatory phase for comprehensive negotiations would be extended over a period of many years.

    He said that this proposal was against the principle of urgency agreed upon in the 8-July agreement.

    Stating that the Turkish Cypriot Side desired the affective implementation of the 8-July agreement, Mr Ercakica said that this was the stance adopted by President Mehmet Ali Talat in yesterdays meeting.

    Explaining that the Turkish Cypriot Side was working towards speeding up the 8-July process, the presidential spokesperson said that the failure to reach a positive outcome from yesterdays meeting indicated that the Greek Cypriot leader did not want this.

    Pointing out that it was the Greek Cypriot leader Papadopouloss desire to delay the Cyprus negotiations process to an indefinite date, Mr Ercakica said that this situation was against the spirit of the 8-July agreement.

    Stating that the Turkish Cypriot Sides proposals did not attempt to change the parameters of the 8-july agreement, Mr Ercakica said that the Turkish Cypriot Side found it difficult to understand what Papadopoulos understood from the process.

    On the one hand we claim that the status quo is unacceptable; while on the other hand they want us to approve the continuation of the status quo by pretending to negotiate said Ercakica adding that this in itself was contradictory to the 8 July agreement.

    [03] Self-styled Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer: The place for a solution is the UN

    Illegal Bayrak television (06.09.07) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer has said that yesterdays meeting between President Talat and Mr Papadopulos has confirmed the fact that the Cyprus problem can only be solved by the two leaders of the island and that the place for a solution is the United Nations (UN).

    Accusing the Greek Cypriot Side of playing for time, the Premier said that the Turkish Cypriot Side will decisively continue its path towards a solution.

    Pointing out that President Talat and the Leader of the Greek Cypriot Administration Papadopoulos came together after 14 months, Prime Minister Soyer said `in the past, the Turkish Cypriot Side was the address for non-solution but this has changed`.

    Reminding that the two leaders agreed to establish committees on the 8th of July last year, he said no progress has been achieved since then as the Greek Cypriot Side has been playing for time.

    `This was also seen by the international community he said.

    Pointing out that people in the South have started describing the policies being pursued by Mr Papadopoulos as a policy with no end, Mr Soyer said that Greek Cypriot AKEL party announced its own Presidential candidate for the first time dividing those who voted against the Annan Plan.

    Yesterday, during a visit to the Turkmenkoy (occupied Kondea) village, the Prime Minister warned that there will be no peace on the island and that the economies of both sides will be affected negatively if the Cyprus problem remains unsolved.

    [04] The decision on the Turkish Cypriot judges at the ECHR to be announced in a month

    Illegal Bayrak television (06.09.07) broadcast the following:

    The Greek Cypriot Administrations opposition to the TRNC High Court President Metin Hakki and High Court Judge Gonul Eronen who were put forward by Turkey for positions at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has been taken up at a meeting in Strasbourg.

    The High Court President Metin Hakki said that the decision taken on the issue is expected to be announced in a month and expressed the belief that it will be positive.

    The Greek Cypriot Administrations opposition to the TRNC High Court President Metin Hakki and High Court Judge Gonul Eronen was taken up at a meeting in Strasbourg today.

    The High Court President Metin Hakki told BRT at the end of the meeting that he had provided information about the Greek Cypriot Administrations opposition to them.

    Earlier, the Greek Cypriot Administration lodged objections to two TRNC judges put forward by Turkey for positions at the European Court of Human Rights claiming that they could not be fair and objective because of the oaths they had taken to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    The High Court President Metin Hakki has been serving as a judge at the European Court of Human Rights on property cases and High Court Judge Gonul Eronen on cases concerning the missing persons issue.

    [05] Ali Erel and Mustafa Damdelen, filed a law suit at the European Court of Human Rights against the Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (07.09.07) reports in its first page that Ali Erel and Mustafa Damdelen, filed a law suit in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against the Republic of Cyprus, on the 3rd of September, in the name of 76 Turkish Cypriots. According to a statement of the Cyprus EU Association (KAB) the 76 Cypriots applied to the ECHR in order to get their human rights.

    The paper writes that Achilleas Demetriades and Nikolas Kyriakou will be the lawyers of Erel and Damdelen.

    (CS)

    [06] The British High Commissioner called on the Turkish Cypriots to examine their options before the transmission of electricity to Rizokarpasso

    The Turkish Cypriot press reports today (07.09.07) about statements made by the British High Commissioner, Mr Peter Millet, to the illegal TAK news agency, on the issue of the transmission of electricity from the occupied Rizokarpasso village to the occupied Apostolos Andreas Cape.

    Kibris reports in its first page that the British High Commissioner, commenting on the issue of the transmission of electricity from the occupied Rizokarpasso village to the Apostolos Andreas Cape, called on the Turkish Cypriot side to wait and look for the alternatives, the advantages and the disadvantages before they go ahead with what they plan. Mr Millet stated that they must benefit from the examples of other countries as well. The British High Commissioner also stated that they can use the sun and the wind in order to produce electricity.

    Under the title Stop, Afrika also reports in its first page about the statements of the British High Commissioner, Mr Peter Millet, and writes that Mr Millet noted that the civil society organisations must influence the government on the issue and that the politicians must listen to the citizens.

    On its part, Volkan newspaper criticises strongly in its first page the fact that the illegal TAK agency took an interview from the British High Commissioner on the issue of the transmission of electricity to Karpass peninsula.

    (CS)

    [07] Miliband: Turkey must make available all its air and sea ports to the use of the Republic of Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (06.09.07) reports the following:

    "Turkey came out stronger after a period of 3-4 months of heated debates. Contemporary Turkey helps refute the idea that democratic values and secular government system is not compatible with a Muslim population," said British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband on Wednesday.

    Miliband delivered a speech on "Common Values and Common Future" at the Bahcesehir University on Wednesday evening.

    David Miliband stressed that the European Union project looking outwards needs the full and equal membership of Turkey.

    Miliband noted that the EU must make more efforts to end the international isolations of the Turkish Cypriots. "At the same time, Turkey must make available all its air and sea ports to the use of the Republic of Cyprus (Greek Cypriot administration)", said Miliband.

    [08] Turkey to attend at the 11th CIFIT fair as the core country

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (06.09.07) reports the following:

    "Around 60 projects whose total value exceeds 15 billion USD will be publicized to investors and circles of finance at the 11th Chinese International Investment and Trade Fair (CIFIT)," Turkish State Minister Kursad Tuzmen said on Thursday.

    Tuzmen, accompanied by Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TIM) Chairman Oguz Satici and a 150-people delegation, will travel to China on Thursday evening to attend CIFIT fair of China between September 8th to 11th in Chinese port city of Xiamen.

    Speaking at a news conference prior to the visit, Tuzmen said Turkey would participate in this year's CIFIT fair as the "core country".

    "We will have the opportunity to publicize public projects like Turkey Investment Support and Promotion Agency, establishment of two new thermic power plants in Afsin-Elbistan, privatization of 25 hydraulic power plants, electricity industry privatization projects, establishment of geothermal, coal and hydroelectric power plants, and privatization of Samsun and Bandirma ports," Tuzmen remarked.

    Tuzmen also said Turkish-Chinese Investment Trade Cooperation seminar would be held within the scope of the fair.

    Tuzmen said Turkey's exports to China rose 50 percent every month since last September, and noted that, "by the end of this year, Turkey will for the first time make 1.2 billion USD exports to this country."

    Tuzmen said China decided to establish Chinese Industry Region in Turkey, stating that this country has started to direct the companies, having entrepreneurship potential, to Turkey. He said China declared Turkish cities like Izmir, Istanbul, Ankara and Mersin as the most appropriate cities in which Chinese companies will invest.

    "Currently around 100 Turkish companies have investments in China and many others are seeking ways to make investment in China," he noted.

    Tuzmen also said he would meet Chinese Trade Minister and Tourism Minister during his visit.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [09] Foreign policy under the new AK Party government including the Cyprus issue

    Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (06.09.07) publishes the following commentary by Ihsan Dagi:

    As understood from the governments program and the appointment of Ali Babacan as foreign minister, it is safe to say that the basic orientation and objectives of Turkish foreign policy will not change in this new period.

    While its Western vocation is being reinforced with deeper EU integration, Turkey will continue to pursue a high-profile regional and global policy in which Eurasia, with the renewed competition over the energy resources and transportation, will become ever more visible in Turkish foreign policy. The recent interest in Africa, which used to be a forgotten land for Turkish foreign policy, motivated by economic and political searches, will also be intensified. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government will respond to a highly positive stance arising among the people of the Middle East by continuing its search for regional solutions to regional problems and supporting the Palestinians.

    The policy of zero problems with neighbors, which brought Turkey to the forefront of regional politics, as a constructive element, will certainly continue as its architect, Professor Ahmet Davutoglu, remains chief adviser to the foreign minister. It is important to note that a cooperation and peace-oriented regional policy increased Turkeys political and economic weight in its region. Turkey thus emerged in its region as an asset not liability for regional peace and stability. I expect this will continue uninterrupted in the coming years, underlining Turkeys continued policy of restraint towards Iran.

    In all this the only exception has been Armenia. It would be wise for the government to improve its relations with Armenia in order to be consistent with its zero-problems with neighbors policy. While Turkey alone cannot be blamed for the current state of the relationship between the two countries and communities, it can afford to take the first step in engaging in a constructive dialogue with Armenia. Among other signs, this will demonstrate Turkeys principled dialogue policy in its region. Lets have the honor of taking the first step by opening the border with Armenia and wait for the Armenians to reciprocate. The key to doing so is not to be overcome by a short-sighted nationalism.

    Another area in which the AK Party should show political wisdom, vision and maturity and go beyond nationalistic sentiments is with the Cyprus issue. If the government really considers EU membership as a long-term strategic objective, it should continue its policy of constructive engagement on this particular issue. The status quo was not the solution back in 2002, as courageously demonstrated by the AK Party government. Since then, by supporting the UN plan and encouraging domestic political actors who are pro-solution on the island, the AK Party has changed the status quo. Now a pro-solution president and political party rule over the island. Internationally the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) has gained increasing visibility and legitimacy. Yet this new status quo is not a solution either. It is time to employ some new initiatives to do away with the deadlock on the issue.

    The basic demand of the EU now is to allow Greek Cypriot vessels to have access to Turkish ports. The Turkish side in return asks from the EU to end the isolation of the Turkish half on the island. A decisive policy motivated by good will and cooperation to further the EU-Turkey relations may find a middle ground.

    The government should emancipate itself from the opposition parties accusations of selling out Cyprus. I think the last election vindicated the AK Partys pro-reform policy on Cyprus. It is now time to be not apologetic but decisive. Without overcoming the anxiety that a new initiative on Cyprus will stir a nationalist opposition, no progress can be made. Following a bargain with the EU that eases the situation in northern Cyprus, the government should send the bill expanding the custom union with the EU to include the Greek Cyprus to Parliament for approval. The AK Party is capable of dealing with nationalist opposition. So it should not hide behind the excuse of possible nationalist backlash over the issue.

    Managing Turkeys relations with the US remains to be the toughest task. There are two negative elements blocking a short-term improvement of the relationship; first, an anti-AK Party clique in the US, which sacrifices Turkish-American relations for the sake of their ideological dispositions, and the second, a strong anti-American Turkish nationalist group composed of some academics, bureaucrats and politicians who accuse the US of plotting against Turkeys integrity and regime.

    Turkish-American relations cannot and should not be hijacked by these ideologically minded adventurists. I believe that Turkish American relations will not fall victim to these radical elements in both countries. While the last election in Turkey has weakened the Kemalist-nationalist anti-American groups in the US, it seems highly likely that the power of those neocons will disappear by the end of next year. Once these groups are sidelined, the issues concerning both sides will be more negotiable.

    [10] Columnist writes open letter to Turkish Armed Forces urging it to avoid interfering in politics

    Under the above title Turkish daily Turkish Daily News newspaper (06.09.07) publishes the following open letter by Mustafa Akyol:

    Dear generals,

    We Turks have been through quite a political turmoil in the past five months, which escalated especially with your famous "secularism warning" that appeared on your official Web site on the night of Apr. 27. Since then, Turkey had a very tense and nervous election campaign, held a very popular election, and elected a new president. The widespread hope is that we have come out of the crisis, have passed the political bottleneck, and are heading toward a more normal period. I very much share that optimism, but I also think that we have to reflect on what just happened in our country, and draw some lessons.

    Moreover, I think we can't do that unless we engage in a mutually respectful dialogue. That's why, as a concerned citizen, I wanted to share with you my humble views about the role of your institution in our country.

    Don't be a player in politics:

    First of all I should say that, like virtually all Turks, I am proud to have a strong military that supports our nation against potential threats. We live in a dangerous neighborhood, and it is a must to have a stalwart, well disciplined and brave Armed Force like the one you command. There is no question about that. However there are some questions about your role in Turkey's internal politics. There is a widespread opinion in this country, and in the world, that you are a player in our nation's political matters, and that you take sides between different political views and parties. The prevalent rumor is that you especially don't like the incumbent Justice and Development Party (AKP), and our new president, Mr. Abdullah Gul.

    With all due respect, I think that perception - whether it corresponds to reality or not - is very harmful to our nation. Because when you are perceived to take sides between different political views and parties, you also unavoidably seem to favor some citizens against others - and not just their political lines, but their beliefs and lifestyles. For example, when you don't allow the citizens who wear the headscarf to enter your buildings and zones, or when you avoid welcoming our new first lady who wears the headscarf, you seem to be discriminating against a particular segment of our society. Forgive me to use the "D" word, but this simply looks divisive.

    Please note that you are the Armed Forces of all citizens of Turkey, and all of them need to trust you. And, despite all the troubles, they actually do. They all pay taxes, and that's the basic financial support for our army, navy and air force. They all send their sons to serve in the military, and, if necessary, to die for the defense of the homeland. When their children are killed in combat, they all say, "Let the homeland be safe." Wouldn't it be bad to make these people think that they are deemed as second-class citizens by the very state for which they sacrifice their sons?

    Principles and interpretations:

    I know that you actually don't want to interfere with politics, but you only want to preserve the founding principles of our republic, such as secularism or nationalism. That's what you repeatedly emphasize. But please let me point to a crucial nuance here. The founding principles of our republic have different interpretations, and what you do is, unfortunately, is support only one version among these, which most of the time roughly corresponds to the ideology of the Republican People's Party, the CHP.

    Take secularism, for example. This is something that we imported from the West, and there are different versions of it. The secularism of the United States, for example, places much more emphasis on religious freedom than ours does. That's why a headscarf ban would be unthinkable in America. So, it is wrong to think that wider religious freedoms - something demanded by the AKP electorate - will diminish our secularism. It might even embolden it by making it more acceptable to observant believers.

    Different interpretations of nationalism are possible, too. Ataturk's nationalism is based on his famous motto, "How happy is the one who says 'I am a Turk,'" right? Good. But does this mean that the citizens are not supposed to speak Kurdish although that might be their mother tongue? We have thought so since the '20s, and thus have banned Kurdish language and culture for so many decades. (And it is no secret that your predecessors have been strong supporters of that "no Kurdish allowed" policy.) However, suppression did not bring the assimilation that we hoped for. It rather created a backlash among the Kurdish citizens, and that's where the PKK terrorism arose from.

    Drawing lessons from our mistakes:

    So, don't you think that we should draw some lessons from our mistakes on the Kurdish question? I do draw one, and it is this: Turkish society is much more diverse than our official rhetoric has traditionally acknowledged, and it is getting even more colorful as Turkey modernizes. The only way to avoid internal conflicts is to appreciate our diversity. Some citizens wear headscarves, others prefer mini-skirts. Some are Kurds who are proud of their identity; some are Turkish nationalists who cherish their ethnic roots in Central Asia. If we don't accept a live-and-let-live approach, we will never find peace of mind. And we will never be able to nurture that approach, if you and other state institutions seem to favor some citizens at the expense of others.

    Excuse me if I am sounding a bit prig with all this, but I think I am not too unreasonable, and I was recently heartened by a brilliant speech given by one of yours, Gen. Faruk Comert, the commander of the Air Force. "When we try to understand each other instead of suspecting, and when we mobilize our dynamism that comes from the diversity of our ideas," Gen. Comert said, "we will overcome our problems." He added that our goal should be "the strengthening of our democratic maturity." That was the best message I have heard these days.

    I very much hope that this democratic vision will be the guide for our military in the years to come. Ataturk's hope was to build a modern nation, and if there is one single cornerstone of modernity, that is democracy. Democracy means that ideas and lifestyles that we don't like should have their valid space in public life. And if their representatives are democratically elected, all civil servants should accept their authority.

    That's why I hope to see gestures from you nowadays which will show that you genuinely accept and respect our new president and the first lady. I know that there are many undemocratic-minded politicians and pundits who call on you to do otherwise and constantly try to drag you into politics to support their side. Please ignore them. It is time for them to grow up and learn to defend their views without leaning on the barrels of your guns. And, alas, it is time for our country to become a real democracy.

    [11] The first draft resolution on EU-Turkey relations is ready

    Under the title Turkey season to kick off in Brussels, new resolution in European Parliament, Turkish Daily News newspaper (07.09.07) publishes the following commentary by Cansu Camlibel:

    The first draft resolution on European Union-Turkey relations underlining the chief areas that need to be addressed by Turkey in the short run has been finalized by the new European Parliament rapporteur for Turkey, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, who took over from Camiel Eurlings earlier this year.

    The draft resolution will be presented to the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs next week by Dutch rapporteur Oomen-Ruijten who said it should be taken into consideration by the European Commission, which will publish its regular report on Turkey in November.

    In the draft, the European Parliament welcomed that the July 22 elections led to a better representation in the Turkish Parliament, and encouraged the newly elected deputies to engage themselves in the transformation of Turkey into a stable democracy. The new Turkish government is being urged to accelerate the process of reforms and to search for a broad consensus within the Turkish Parliament on important institutional matters.

    Criticism of Turkish military and warning against unilateral action in Iraq

    The resolution refers neither to the April 27 declaration of the Turkish military nor to the political crisis that followed. The repeated interference of the Turkish Armed Forces in the political process, however, is criticized. While stressing the need to ensure full civilian control over the military, it is underlined that civilian authorities should supervise the formulation of a national security strategy and its implementation. It also called for the establishment of a full parliamentary oversight of military and defense policy, and all related expenditures.

    The European Parliament condemned the violence perpetrated by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and other terrorist groups on Turkish soil. Turkey, however, is urged to refrain from any unilateral steps violating Iraq's territory. The draft resolution also pointed out the need for a comprehensive strategy for the social-economic development of southeastern Turkey.

    Contrary to Eurlings's draft report in 2006, Oomen-Ruijten avoided any reference to Armenian genocide allegations in her draft. Eurlings' proposal of introducing recognition of Armenian genocide allegations as a condition for membership was rejected by the European Parliament last year. In Oomen-Ruijten's draft resolution this year, Turkey is asked to refrain from imposing economic blockades, border closure or military activities against neighboring countries. Turkish and Armenian governments are called to start a process of reconciliation.

    In the draft resolution, serious concern is expressed over the ruling by the Turkish Supreme Court of Appeals on the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The new Justice and development Party (AKP) government is urged to bring its approach toward religious minorities in line with principles of freedom of religion. Adoption of the Law of Foundations which sets a clear legal framework enabling them to exercise religion freely by allowing them to own property and train clergy, is identified as a matter of urgency for the new government.

    Amendment of Article 301of the Penal Code is defined as another matter of priority to be addressed by the new government. In the draft, the European Parliament urged the government to use its parliamentary majority to make sure that provisions allowing for arbitrary restrictions on the expression of non-violent opinions are removed, and that freedom of expression and press are guaranteed.

    In the draft resolution other problematic areas include the functioning of the judiciary, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, protection of women rights, implementation of a zero-tolerance-to-torture policy, and protection of minority rights.

    Although Oomen-Ruijten's draft resolution is not especially controversial, Turkey is concerned of the possible outcomes of the debate on the resolution, which will take place at the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Diplomatic sources said Greek Cypriot and Greek members of Parliament will probably try hard to insert tougher language by introducing many amendments to the current text. The Turkish side is worried that such a public debate just before the publication of the regular report considered as the most important document of the year may cause negative pressure on the Commission.

    EG/


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