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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-09-18
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.180/07 18.09.07
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Guls visit assessed as a sign of Turkeys state policy for CyprusReferring to Turkish President Abdullah Guls illegal visit which will begin today in the occupied areas of Cyprus, Dogan Harman, editor-in-chief of Turkish Cypriot Kibrisli newspaper (18.09.07) points out that this is the first visit of the new Turkish President abroad and it is a major political and psychological event which will give a message to the world. Noting that Mr Koksal Toptan has paid his first visit abroad as Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) to the occupied areas, Mr Harman writes that this shows that this is a state policy.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot Kibris newspaper (18.09.07) reports that the opposition National Unity Party (UBP) and Democratic Party (DP) decided yesterday to attend tomorrow the session of the assembly which will be addressed by the new Turkish President Abdullah Gul. The two parties announced, however, that they will continue to boycott the other normal sessions of the assembly.
Mr Tahsin Ertugruloglu, chairman of the UBP, who has been visiting London during the last 12 days, said after a meeting of the administrative committee of his party yesterday that their decision has nothing to do with their previous statement that they cannot be at the same place with the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP).
He noted that the decision for attending the session where Mr Gul will speak was taken unanimously by his party. Referring to his visit to London, Mr Ertugruloglu said that for personal reasons he has been outside London until 10 September and that between 10 and 15 September he held various contacts and participated in two conferences organized by the National Unity and Solidarity Association.
He noted that he observed that three MPs from the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) who held a press conference in London stated that they have no policy for the recognition of the TRNC and added that this worries his party. He said that the TRNC is being accepted as a sovereign state is one of the red lines of the UBP.
Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot Afrika newspaper (18.09.07) reports that Serdar Denktas, chairman of the DP said that they will participate in the session when Mr Gul will address the assembly, but afterwards they will continue their boycott. He said that they will not participate in the meeting of Mr Gul with the political parties represented in the assembly. The reason for this decision is the presence of the ORP, he noted.
 The self-styled Deputy-Prime Minister Turgay Avci returned from SyriaIllegal Bayrak television (17.09.07) broadcast the following:
Deputy-Prime Minister Foreign Minister Turgay Avci has returned to the Republic at the end of his contacts in the Syrian capital Damascus.
During his stay in the city, Mr. Avci held discussions with high level Syrian officials on ways of strengthening cooperation between the two countries.
 More than half of the suspects for crimes in the occupied areas last year came from Turkey and other countriesTurkish Cypriot Kibris newspaper (18.09.07) reports that the chairman of the self-styled high court, Metin Hakki has said that the number of the cases examined at the illegal courts of the breakaway regime is continuously increasing. Addressing yesterday the opening ceremony of the new judicial year in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Hakki noted that only 158 out of the 557 persons who were taken to court as suspects in 451 cases are citizens of the TRNC.
Noting that more than half of the suspects come from Turkey and other countries, Mr Hakki added: I wonder whether it would be beneficial for the overcoming of the problem if the points of entry and departure from the country were controlled more strictly and health as well as pecuniary criteria were applied at the points of entry.
Furthermore, the attorney general Osman Talat Enginsoy said that criminality in the occupied area is very high in comparison with its population and that there is serious increase especially in crimes regarding drug trafficking. He noted that only the arrest of the persons used as cats paws by the gangs with international relations is possible. Mr Enginsoy said that crimes are increasing every year.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Bar Council, advocate Mustafa Inan said that the legal system of the country has begun to collapse and the justice mechanism to be shaken. Mr Inan asked for reforms to this system and demanded the closure of the betting offices because they damage the socio-economic structure of the society.
Furthermore, addressing the same opening ceremony Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, the Turkish Cypriot leader, said that reforming the constitution, which cannot meet the needs of today, is inevitable. Mr Talat noted that this is a duty of the political parties.
Mr Talat admitted that there are serious public order problems in the occupied areas of Cyprus and argued that this problem cannot be solved only with the judicial system. Mr Talat referred to the Cyprus problem and alleged that the Republic of Cyprus joined the EU and it is represented in the UN with its constitution, 70 % of which is suspended for 44 years now because of the exclusion of the Turkish Cypriots.
He claimed that for these reasons the Cyprus problem cannot be solved legally and added that it should be solved politically, noting that politics determine the international law. By stressing the equal founding partnership of the Turkish Cypriots in 1960, we are trying to secure these in the solution. We are exerting efforts to acquire politically our gains and legal rights, he said.
 The names of the participants in the delegation of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot Football Federation for the 20 September meeting are announcedTurkish Cypriot Kibris newspaper (18.09.07) reports that the names of those who will participate in the meeting between the self-styled Turkish Cypriot Football Federation (TCFF) with the chairman of FIFA, Joseph Blattter, UEFA and the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) on 20 September in Zurich were announced yesterday.
Niyazi Okutan, president of TCFF, advocate Tahir Seroydas, vice president, Cengiz Uzun, responsible for foreign relations, Cim Seroydas, translator, Erhan Basay, general secretary, advocate Talat Kursat member of TCFF Arbitration Committee and Zeki Ziya, chairman of Cetinkaya Football club will participate in the delegation. According to the paper, only Mr Okutan, Mr Seroydas and Mr Uzun will participate in the meeting. Mr Okutan said that he expects a positive result from the meeting.
 Bulutoglulari met with the new ambassador of the Czech Republic to NicosiaTurkish Cypriot Bakis newspaper (18.09.07) reports that the self-styled mayor of the occupied part of Nicosia, Cemal Bulutoglulari met yesterday with the new ambassador of the Czech Republic to Nicosia, Mr Jan Bondy. In statements after the meeting Mr Bulutoglulari said that they attach great importance to the foreign relations and added: We will continue to use our recognized identity. The contacts will continue and increase. He told the Czech ambassador that the Turkish Cypriots are facing merciless embargoes even in the field of sports.
 The 2007-2008 school year began yesterday in the occupied areas of CyprusTurkish Cypriot Star Kibris newspaper (18.09.07) reports that 34 thousand pupils went yesterday to school for the first time for the 2007-2008 school year in the occupied areas of Cyprus. According to the paper, 19.000 pupils went to the more than 100 kindergartens and primary schools and 15.000 pupils to the 31 secondary schools.
 The Democratic Society Party expressed fear for closureTurkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (18.09.07) reports the following from Ankara:
Democratic Society Party (DTP) Vice Chairwoman Selma Irmak on Monday expressed fear that her party might face closure and warned that this would not solve any of the countrys persisting problems, appealing for public support to end the judicial, administrative and social pressure being applied to their party.
Speaking at a press conference held at the partys headquarters in Ankara Irmak underlined that Turkey has entered a new phase following the July 22 elections and the publics needs will be met by a new constitution, which will provide freedom of speech and beliefs, equal rights for women and will liberate the civil constitution from the military control.
The new constitution is also a historical opportunity to solve the Kurdish problem within a democratic process and with modern regulations, hence the constitution draft partly declared by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), and the entire text that will be unveiled next week, will be carefully inspected by the authorized bodies of the DTP, Irmak emphasized. She also asserted that the DTP will compile alternatives to some articles of the draft constitution since her party doesnt feel obliged to depend on the AK Partys draft alone.
Irmak claimed that there have been attempts to demoralize the DTP through discriminating statements which alienate DTP deputies. She also praised President Abdullah Gul for sending out messages of brotherhood.
Noting that the DTPs existence in Parliament is a historic opportunity, Irmak added: The DTP will be stronger in its mission to stop the shedding of blood and provide peace in a democratic setting where questions can be freely discussed. An apparent reference to Parliament. In response to a question about the bomb found loaded on a van in Ankara on September 11, Irmak noted that the DTP is a party which condemns violence as a method of resolution. We have serious concerns about the bomb. Some are trying to confuse others, play with the future of this country. These people absolutely dont love their country, she stressed.
 Turkey still imposes restrictions on religious freedom, report saysUnder the above title Turkish daily Turkish Daily News newspaper (17.09.07) reports the following from Ankara:
The U.S. State Department announced that the Turkish government generally respects the freedom of religion but still imposes some restrictions on Muslim and other religious groups and on Muslim religious expression in government and state-run institutions, including universities.
There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government during the reporting period, and government policy continued to contribute to the generally free practice of religion, the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor said in a report titled International Religious Freedom Report 2007 released on September 14 in Washington D.C.
There were reports of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious belief or practice. Violent attacks and threats against non-Muslims during the reporting period created an atmosphere of pressure and diminished freedom for some non- Muslim communities. Although proselytizing is legal in the country, some Muslims, Christians, and Bahais faced a few restrictions and occasional harassment for alleged proselytizing or unauthorized meetings, the report said.
The report put into the spotlight problems of religious minorities arguing that they were effectively blocked from careers in state institutions because of their faith. Christians, Bahais, and some Muslims faced societal suspicion and mistrust, and more radical Islamist elements continued to express anti-Semitic sentiments. Additionally, persons wishing to convert from Islam to another religion sometimes experienced social harassment and violence from relatives and neighbors, it said.
The report underlined that apart from its 99 percent Muslim population Turkey hosts approximately 65,000 Armenian Orthodox Christians, 23,000 Jews, and up to 4,000 Greek Orthodox Christians. There also are approximately 10,000 Bahais; an estimated 15,000 Syrian Orthodox (Syriac) Christians; 5,000 Yezidis; 3,300 Jehovah's Witnesses; 3,000 Protestants; and small, undetermined numbers of Bulgarian, Chaldean, Nestorian, Georgian, Roman Catholic, and Maronite Christians, according to the State's Department's report.
It also said that there are 1,100 Christian missionaries in the country, according to estimates.
Criticizing the status of the foundations:
The report criticized Turkey for not responding to the needs of non-Muslim religious groups with an appropriate law. It said an amendment introduced to Parliament to lift the ban on non-Muslim groups to get their properties back was vetoed by the president and Parliament did not take it up in its agenda again.
Even before the veto, the final text of the law had disappointed many as it failed to address the issue of restitution and ignored certain properties such as cemeteries and school assets not registered under any foundation. Foundations were unable to acquire legal ownership of properties registered under names of third parties, including properties registered under the names of saints or archangels, during periods when foundations could not own property in their own name.
The report emphasized that implementing regulations of the law on foundations have led to interference in the election of foundation boards, the treatment of charitable community foundations as business corporations for tax purposes, the freezing of revenue from real estate transactions, and a ban on transferring surplus income from one foundation to another.
The report mentions the situation of Alevis an Islamic minority sect. Representatives of Alevi organizations maintained that they often faced obstacles when attempting to establish cem houses (places of gathering). They said there were approximately 100 cem houses in the country; a number they claimed was insufficient to meet their needs, the report said.
It added that Alevi children have the same compulsory religious education as all Muslims, and many Alevis alleged discrimination in the government's failure to include any of their doctrines or beliefs in religious instruction classes in public schools.
Churches face challenges
Churches operating in the country generally face administrative challenges to employ foreign church personnel, apart from the Catholic Church and congregations linked to the diplomatic community, the report said.
According to the report, police arrested four street evangelists in Istanbul for missionary activity, disturbing the peace, and insulting Islam, late April in 2007. Similarly, the members of Jehovah' Witnesses reported continuing official harassment.
The authorities continued to monitor the activities of Eastern Orthodox churches but generally did not interfere with their religious activities; however, significant restrictions were placed on the administration of the churches. The government does not recognize the ecumenical status of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, acknowledging him only as the head of the country's Greek Orthodox community, the report said.
The ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul continued to seek to reopen the Halki seminary on the island of Heybeli in the Sea of Marmara, the report said.
The report also touched on the killings of a German protestant in Malatya and said: There were reports of religiously motivated killings during the reporting period.
On April 18, 2007, three members of a Protestant church in Malatya, including a German citizen, were tortured and killed in the office of a company that publishes books on Christianity. The suspects of the killings had notes on their persons claiming, we did it for our religion. May this be a lesson to the enemies of religion?'
Death threats against Christian American citizens continue to be a concern. For example, Christian American citizens living in the country received religion-based death threats via letters and voicemails, stating that if they did not return to America they would be killed, the report said.
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
 Is there a new coup on the horizon?Under the title Is there a new coup on the horizon? Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (18.09.07) publishes the following commentary by Editor-in-Chief Ertugrul Ozkok in his daily column Gundem (Agenda):
Turkey as of today has to debate the possibility of a threat of a very serious coup attempt. I am warning everybody. I want to alarm everybody, and especially those Justice and Development Party (AKP) members who are preparing the draft Constitution. There is a very serious threat of coup before the democracy. Take this (warning) seriously.
Ozkok, in his column refers to an interview given by professor Sherif Mardinli (a well known scholar) to Ayse Arman HURRIYETs woman correspondent in which he warns about the fear of fundamentalism threatening Turkey generally, and the women particularly. Ozkok expresses the fear that soon a single person using the religion might lead Turkey into a fundamentalist despotism that is religious dictatorship. He says that this could happen with all sincerity let us make the diagnosis; we are afraid of being accused of being anti-religious or become targets with headlines to the fanatics if we say a few words or make objections. Let us admit we are all afraid of this when especially the religion in question is Islam.
Let me tell you this;
The religious despotism makes the majority of us more fearful than the military (despotism). All of us know that in the military despotism we have jails but in the other we have killings and crimesThe one comes and goes with its own wish, but if the other comes it will stay forever. Sherif Mardinli is warning all of us, and be sure this warning is directed more to the AKP which is drafting the new Constitution rather than us, because the real threat to them will come from this flank.
This is the real threat of coup awaiting the Democracy, he concludes.