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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-12-05

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.235/07 05.12.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The Turkish Cypriot side evaluates the UN report on the renewal of UNFICYP“s mandate
  • [02] Avci is going to Brussels upon an invitation of the Liberal and Democratic Alliance for Europe
  • [03] Ozdil Nami is going to Brussels on the 9th of December
  • [04] Fethullah to lay hands on the TRNC
  • [05] The self-styled minister of public works and transportation Salih Usar is going to Hamburg for contacts
  • [06] Turkish Cypriot students flew to Brussels via occupied Tympou airport during a visit financed by the European Parliament
  • [07] The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry participated in the International Fair for Construction Materials and Building Technology in Dubai.
  • [08] Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Shopkeepers and craftsmen stages protest action demanding opening Ledra street
  • [09] Deputy of the Democratic Party resigned from DP and joined the Freedom and Reform Party of Turgay Avci
  • [10] Hasan Ercakica on the role of the Orthodox Church in Cyprus
  • [11] Turkeys 2008 budget was submitted to the Assembly
  • [12] The 2nd Turkey-Eurasia Foreign Trade Bridge summit started yesterday in Istanbul
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [13] Columnist in Todays Zaman assesses Turkeys trade with Eurasian countries
  • [14] From the Turkish Press of 4 December 2007

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The Turkish Cypriot side evaluates the UN report on the renewal of UNFICYP“s mandate

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.12.07) reports the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Hasan Ercakica, spokesman for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Presidency, said on Tuesday that the report of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has objective and realistic assessments.

    Speaking at a weekly press conference, Ercakica noted that the report says "2008 will be vital to find a solution to Cyprus problem", adding that TRNC agrees with this.

    Ercakica said that within that framework, TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat met Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos on September 5th and presented a document --which aims to settle Cyprus problem before 2008-- however, the Greek Cypriot administration has not responded to this proposal. Ercakica said: "UN Secretary-General Ki-moon stated that only willing to find solution to Cyprus question is not enough and it is necessary to deploy concrete efforts. This is important too."

    "We suggest talks must start immediately to solve Cyprus problem," Ercakica added. Noting that Ki-moon stressed the importance of lifting isolations on TRNC, Ercakica said, "TRNC stated that lifting isolations does not mean a political recognition." Ercakica noted that Ki-moon stated that lifting isolations will make unification of the island easier.

    The Turkish Cypriot press reports today (05.12.07) on the UN report:

    Under the title Call for the lifting of the isolation by Ban Ki-moon, Kibris reports in its first page about the report of the UN Secretary-General in which he called on the Security Council to extend the mandate of the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus for another six months.

    Halkin Sesi reports on the issue in its first page under the title Lifting of the isolation call by the UN.

    Star Kibris reports on the same issue under the title The North is pleased, the South got angry.

    Kibris reports that the self-styled ministry of foreign affairs commenting on the UN report stated that the fact that the report stresses that the year 2008 will be a vital turning point for the process of the solution of the Cyprus problem, is overlapped by the 5th of September proposals of the Turkish Cypriot side. The self-styled foreign ministry also stated that it was announced many times that the Turkish Cypriot side supports the launching of negotiations for a comprehensive solution as soon as possible. Stating that the issue of the lifting of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, which is mentioned in the report, will be useful for the compromise and the solution in Cyprus, the self-styled ministry announced that it will make further evaluations on the report after examining it in detail.

    Kibris reports that Hasan Ercakica, the spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, stated that the report of the UN Secretary-General is objective and realistic. Mr Ercakica made these statements during his weekly briefing to the journalists in occupied Lefkosia yesterday.

    Mr Ercakica, who stated that he received the report only the night before yesterday, said that a first look at the UN report shows that it is objective and realistic, especially from the political scope. He also stated that the UN Secretary-General stresses several times the importance of the struggle for the lifting of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots but at the technical sections of the report there is criticism towards some behaviours of the Turkish Cypriot side.

    (CS)

    [02] Avci is going to Brussels upon an invitation of the Liberal and Democratic Alliance for Europe

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (05.12.07) reports that Turgay Avci, the self-style minister of foreign affairs, is going to Brussels today upon an invitation of the Liberal and Democratic Alliance for Europe. According to information given by the foreign ministry, Mr Avci, who will make speeches at conferences at the European Parliament, during his visit to Brussels he will meet with members of the European Parliament and he will have contacts with various officials. Mr Avci is expected to have a meeting with the chairman of the Liberal and Democratic Alliance for Europe Graham Watson.

    Mr Avci, who will organize a press conference together with some European MPs at the European Parliament, will give information on the just cause of the Turkish Cypriots and the latest developments on Cyprus. Mr Avci will also give interview to the press in Brussels. He will return to occupied Cyprus on the 7th of December.

    (CS)

    [03] Ozdil Nami is going to Brussels on the 9th of December

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.12.07) writes that the special envoy of Mehmet Ali Talat, Ozdil Nami, who is going to Brussels on the 9th of December, said in statements he made to illegal TAK news agency yesterday, that the problems faced as regards the Regulation for the Direct Trade, do not derive only from the Greek Cypriot side and added that the continuation of the problem serves the benefits of other big countries which use Cyprus as trump card in front of Turkey.

    (CS)

    [04] Fethullah to lay hands on the TRNC

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (05.12.07) reports in its first page that Fethullah Gulen, who in 1994, in the period that Erbakan was deputy Prime Minister in Turkey, wanted to open in the TRNC a campus of the Fatih University, but his demand was not accepted by Hakki Atun who was prime minister at the time. He is now in a position to materialize his demand using the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Talat and the Republican Peoples Party (CTP) Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) coalition government.

    The paper goes on and writes the following: According to information obtained, the CTP-OPR government which implements AKPs demand gave instruction to the Evkav Administration to allocate to Fatih University, which belongs to Fethullah Gulen, a 250- donum of Evkav land in Karpass. It was learned that a land belonging to Evkav has been allocated also in Girne (occupied Keryneia) to the above mentioned University for a student dormitory to be built. For these reasons officials of the Fatih University are in the TRNC for some time now and it was known that they proposed to some Turkish Cypriot businessmen, with whom they met, to join the trustee committee of the foundation they established.

    Meanwhile, it has been claimed that the Cyprus Turkish People Foundation, which was established by Rasit Pertev, was activated to this end, that a transfer of about seven million dollars was made to the account of the above mentioned foundation and that the political movement established by Pertev is supported by big capital circles of Fethullahs followers.

    (Tr. Note: Fethullah Gulen is the father of social Islam, the founder and leader of the Gulen Movement. This religious movement has spread extensively around the world and has a vast network owning approximately 300 religious schools in Turkey and another 200 in various countries outside of Turkey. These schools find no difficulty in gaining finance as Turkish businessmen and other individuals provide funding.

    What is noteworthy is that the students at these schools are graduating to occupy high positions in different fields that they specialize in, in the republics of Central Asia, the Balkans, China, where Gulen wants the elites of these countries to have Turkey as their example.

    The Gulen Movement has established its own cultural centres in a large number of countries around the world, holding annual conferences in Britain, the European Union (EU) and the United States in cooperation with the biggest international universities for the purpose of studying the movement, its influence and its cultural and social roots.

    The movement has its own newspapers, magazines, television channels, businesses, while Gulen himself has connections with newspapers, magazines, television channels and businessmen)

    (CS)

    [05] The self-styled minister of public works and transportation Salih Usar is going to Hamburg for contacts

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (05.12.07) writes that the self-styled minister of public works and transportation Salih Usar is going today to Hamburg, heading a delegation, upon an invitation of the MPs of the Federal state of Hamburg. Mr Usar will examine at the Hamburg port an electricity power plant and a turbine factory. Mr Usar who is accompanied in his trip by CTP MP Mustafa Yektaoglu, the expert Niyazi Oykener from the ports department and the responsible for the electricity power plant station KIBTEK Mehmet Salih Gurgan, will have various meetings with German MPs. He will also meet with German businessmen and will discuss common economic initiatives to be undertaken between the two countries.

    (CS)

    [06] Turkish Cypriot students flew to Brussels via occupied Tympou airport during a visit financed by the European Parliament

    Illegal Bayrak television (04.12.07) broadcast the following:

    A group of Turkish Cypriot students from the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) is flown to Brussels today as guest of the Austrian MEP Karin Resetaris who is also a member of the European Parliaments High Level Contact Group for Relations with Turkish Cypriot Community.

    During the visit - which was organized by the ERASMUS Student Network the students will have contacts at the European Parliament.

    The Erasmus Student Networks Cyprus Representative Moner Mutaja told BRT that the students will explain the difficulties they are facing in joining the Erasmus Program and Bologna Process.

    For her part, the Erasmus Student Networks Magusa representative Naciye Bey pointed out that the visit will be the second of its kind.But, she said the group will fly to Brussels via Ercan (occupied Tymbou) Airport for the first time, which she said is very important. The visit is being financed by the European Parliament.

    Meanwhile, the acting-Rector of EMU Tahir Celik has welcomed the visit as a positive development.

    [07] The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry participated in the International Fair for Construction Materials and Building Technology in Dubai.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (05.12.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry participated between the 25-29 of November in the International Fair for Construction Materials and Building Technology which took place in Dubai. The Chamber, which participated in the Fair under the North Cyprus Chamber of Industry umbrella, established connections at the fair. The occupation regime participated with five firms in the fair, in which also participated 2,700 firms from 60 countries.

    (CS)

    [08] Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Shopkeepers and craftsmen stages protest action demanding opening Ledra street

    Illegal Bayrak television (04.12.07) broadcast the following:

    The Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Shopkeepers and Craftsmen staged a march today demanding the government to unilaterally open the Lokmaci (Ledra street) crossing point.

    A group headed by the Chamber President Hurrem Tulga marched from Sarayonu Square to the Lokmaci crossing point calling on President Mehmet Ali Talat and the government to open the crossing point.

    Representatives from the Chamber later paid a visit to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Sonay Adem thanking the government for its work on introducing new working hour arrangements at supermarkets.

    Speaking at the march, the President of the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of shopkeepers Hurem Tulga said that they will continue their demands for the government to unilaterally open a crossing point at Lokmaci.

    Pointing out that the conditions set forth by the Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos for the opening of a crossing point in the area proved the Greek Cypriot sides unwillingness on the issue, Tulga said that taking in perspective the current situation, they urged President Mehmet Ali Talat and the government to unilaterally open a crossing point.

    Touching upon the inspections and controls at the crossing points and the consequent difficulties experienced by the public, Mr. Tulga said that the measures and practices in force at the border gates were necessary for the survival of the north Cyprus economy.

    Following the meeting, representatives of the Chamber paid a visit to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare. Tulga thanked the Minister for work being carried out to rearrange working hours at supermarkets. For his part, Minister Adem said that it was the Ministrys and governments duty to protect small business and establishments. Explaining that the Ministry will be presenting a motion on the issue to Parliament in the coming days, Mr. Adem promised that the Ministry will be seeking the views and proposals of both the Chamber and all its related bodies before doing so.

    Under the title Is Lokmaci (Ledra Street crossing point) opening unilaterally? Afrika (05.12.07) reports in its first page that the Chamber of Shopkeepers and Craftsmen (KTEZO), ignoring the obstacle of the Turkish army on the issue of the opening of the Lokmaci crossing point, held Papadopoulos responsible for the non-opening of the crossing point and during a protest they organized yesterday at Lokmaci, asked from the self-styled government the unilateral opening of the crossing point.

    Members of KTEZO, who marched from the Ataturk square to the Lokmaci crossing point, passing from the Arasta shopping area, organized a press conference in the framework of the march and called for the unilateral opening of Lokmaci, which divides Lefkosia into two parts, aiming to have a double celebration at the new years day, as they stated.

    (CS)

    [09] Deputy of the Democratic Party resigned from DP and joined the Freedom and Reform Party of Turgay Avci

    Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (05.12.07) reports in its first page that the Degirmenlik (occupied Kythrea) deputy of the Democratic Party (DP) Fezile Savasir, resigned from DP and joined the Freedom and Reform Party of Turgay Avci.

    (CS)

    [10] Hasan Ercakica on the role of the Orthodox Church in Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.12.07) reports the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Hasan Ercakica, the spokesman of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Presidential Office, said Tuesday the initiatives of the Greek Cypriot Orthodox Church to find a solution to Cyprus problem is "very dangerous."

    "The Greek Cypriot church is the main body that was responsible for this problem," Ercakica told reporters.

    Ercakica said the Greek Cypriot church has not made positive contributions to peace and a settlement in the island.

    "Therefore, we do not expect it to have a positive role in coming days," he told reporters.

    Ercakica said Cyprus problem is a political problem, not a religious one.

    "There is need for transparency and a constructive approach for negotiations and settlement of disputes," he also said.

    [11] Turkey“s 2008 budget was submitted to the Assembly

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.12.07) reports the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan said Tuesday Turkey has met the Maastricht Criteria after the ratio of the debt stock that was calculated according to EU standards, over the country's GNP fell under 60 percent.

    "This is another indicator showing that the vulnerability in the debt burden has disappeared," he said.

    Unakitan introduced to the parliament the draft law on 2008 Central Administration Budget. During his speech, Unakitan said the concerns regarding the convertibility of public debts disappeared thanks to the macro-economic stability and fiscal discipline.

    "In the upcoming period, nominal interests will decrease more. We will try to drag these interests down to one-digit figures," Unakitan said. "We have no other alternative than sticking firmly to fiscal discipline," he added. He said they expected the GNP to reach 716.6 billion YTL (1 USD equals 1.18 YTL), growth rate to reach 5.5 percent, year-end CPI to be 4 percent, export figures to increase to 117 billion USD, import figures to reach 182 billion USD and the income per capita to reach 7,000 USD in 2008.

    Unakitan also said net budget incomes were determined as 204.6 billion YTL, the budgetary deficit as 18 billion YTL and the primary surplus as 38 billion YTL in 2008 Central Administration Budget.

    On the budget discussions in parliament Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (05.12.07) publishes statements of the opposition parties as follows:

    The opposition parties criticized the 2008 budget for not being realistic, suggesting that it would exacerbate existing problems. They further argued that the government is trying to present the budgetary deficit as lower than expected. Another criticism voiced by the opposition was that investments have been decreased and the agricultural sector has been downsized.

    The AK Party will come rolling down when the opposition, civil society and trade unions unite against its policy to impose the 2008 budget on the people, said Hasip Kaplan, deputy from S1rnak for the Democratic Society Party (DTP).

    Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli claimed that the sustainability of growth was hanging by a hair upon assessing the 2008 budget. Stating that the extreme appreciation of the lira has caused perceived growth in the economy, Bahceli added that the government would have to face the truth in the coming years.

    The MHP leader noted that unemployment remains the biggest problem and that the number of unemployed university graduates is on the rise. Bahceli also claimed that only 18,000 unemployed people found jobs between 2002 and 2006.

    Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal argued that the AK Party governments have brought a trend of economic growth that will make people poorer. He said exports that increase dependence on imports serve as an instrument to impoverish people. Maintaining that the country needs to change its exchange policy in order to break free of this process, he asserted that Turkey should develop a new policy of development, investment and industrialization.

    The leader of the main opposition party, speaking on behalf of his partys parliamentary group, claimed that the country has become a haven of borrowed money and the economic growth rate has decreased each year. There is loaned money exceeding $100 billion in Turkey. The country is borrowing money and at the same time, it is setting whatever it has apart for the repayment of these loans. We pay the highest interest rates for the loans flowing into Turkey, he said.

    [12] The 2nd Turkey-Eurasia Foreign Trade Bridge summit started yesterday in Istanbul

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (05.12.07) reports that the 2nd Turkey-Eurasia Foreign Trade Bridge summit, organized by the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), commenced yesterday.

    The summit brings 500 businessmen from the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan together with 1,500 Turkish businessmen. The gathering is playing an important role in facilitating the direct interaction of businessmen from a wide region under a single roof, especially for those who lack the human and financial resources to do this on their own. During the program small and medium-sized entrepreneurial enterprises are finding a chance to compete with their conglomerate rivals in terms of networking and marketing. As the dynamics of the world economy change significantly, TUSKON has taken another concrete step toward the idea of local solutions to global problems, or "globalization," with the summit.

    Turkey's Foreign Trade Minister Kursad Tuzmen gave an opening address at the summit in which he said the axes of the global economy were shifting from West to East through Turkey and added that they must increase trade relations in order to better capitalize on this phenomenon.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [13] Columnist in Today“s Zaman assesses Turkey“s trade with Eurasian countries

    Under the title Profitable trade with Eurasian countries Today“s Zaman (05.12.07) publishes the following:

    The Eurasia region is a lucrative place for trade partnerships, owing to its geographic location and the historical and cultural ties between the region's countries and Turkey.

    However, it is not possible to say that we have efficiently benefited from the advantages offered by the Eurasian region so far.

    The Turkish economy has made substantial progress and is now able to compete with developed countries in several sectors. Among these, manufacturing and production of machines and equipment stand out. The Turkish economy has the capacity to meet investment demands of the rapidly developing Eurasian countries. Turkish businessmen have so far invested $8 billion in the region and have pledged to invest an additional $40 billion. Turkish entrepreneurs have established a number of facilities, ranging from refineries to factories and from highways to residential buildings.

    However, it is difficult to say that reciprocal trade between Turkey and the region's countries is very successful and there are visible problems in Turkey's trade with some of the countries in the region. Although the volume of exports from Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to Turkey has dramatically increased, Turkey's exports to these countries have visibly remained in low figures.

    The 1998 Far East and Russian crises have had the greatest impact on trade with Eurasia. Because of these crises, exports to the region have declined from $3.5 billion to $1.5 billion and imports have slowed down. Pre-crises import/export levels were finally surpassed in 2004. Thanks to developments over the last three years, exports have doubled compared to a decade ago and imports have increased six fold.

    The imbalance in trade with the region is especially visible in the Table A: Figures from the last 12 years indicate that trade with 12 regional countries, including Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine, was in equilibrium in 1996 and 1997. However, since then foreign trade deficits have become commonplace with the said countries because of exponentially growing imports.

    Exports to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), an alliance of former Soviet republics comprised of the countries listed above, constituted 13.4 percent of Turkey's total exports 10 years ago whereas the share of total imports was 7.4 percent. The figures stood at 9.2 and 18.3 percent respectively for the period between January and October 2007. In short, the region's share of our exports is declining whereas its share of our imports is rapidly increasing.

    As of October 2007, the amount of Turkish exports to 12 Eurasian countries reached $7 billion and the amount of imports $25 billion. Whereas the ratio between export and import in Turkey's overall foreign trade figures is 62.9 percent, this ratio dramatically decreases to 28.1 in trade with Eurasian countries. In other words, we buy three while selling only one.

    The primary reason for this deficit is natural gas imports from Russia. The recent dramatic increase in oil prices and in the amount of imported natural gas has deteriorated the trade balance.

    The amount of imports from Russia is five times greater than Turkish exports to this country. This is the greatest deficit ever with Russia. If exports do not increase significantly compared to imports from Russia, the deficit will continue to rise.

    Energy imports constitute 70 percent of imports from Russia. A substantial part of the deficit stems from this but even if this is ignored, trade with Russia will still display a deficit for Turkey.

    In addition to Russia, Turkey's trade with Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan also suffers from substantial amounts of deficits. The markets where Turkey maintained trade surpluses include Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova. Because trade volume with these countries is very small, it becomes impossible to maintain a trade balance. Moreover, there is a great possibility that Turkey will have to deal with a trade deficit with Azerbaijan, considering that natural gas purchased from this country is on the rise.

    The best example showing that the trade potential with the countries in the region is not carefully taken into account is trade with Mongolia. The trade volume between this country and Turkey is almost zero. At present, it does not exceed $10 million.

    It is imperative to re-evaluate the trade policies vis-ą-vis the region.

    [14] From the Turkish Press of 4 December 2007

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish Press of 4 December 2007, on issues of the current political agenda:

    a) Survey on Islamic Headdress:

    Milliyet carries the second instalment of a survey by KONDA Research and Consultancy. According to the survey, the headdress issue continues to be a topic of discussion in the country, with 14.9 percent of the society believing that it is an indication of a "political inclination," and 4.6 believing that it shows one's "political identity."

    Commenting on the ban imposed on headdresses in universities in an article in Milliyet, Can Dundar explains the reasons why he is opposed to this ban. Noting that the ban will only make the headdress, which has already become a political symbol, more attractive, the writer expresses the belief that universities should embrace people and not exclude them. Dundar argues that with this ban the universities fail in their mission and actually reject the sector of the society that it most needs to reach, adding that this is a sort of discrimination since males of the same mentality are allowed into universities.

    In a column in Hurriyet, Ertugrul Ozkok assesses the symbolism represented by the headdress and says that it may have stopped being just a political symbol and may have also become one of hatred. Referring to a picture of a girl with the headdress selling a Marxist magazine called Kizil Bayrak [Red Flag] in Istanbul, the writer argues that the headdress has become "the symbol of communism" and that of "politicized religion," thus unifying two radical beliefs. Interpreting the hatred he sees in the picture as a hatred of "the ruling classes, the bourgeoisie", and "secularism," Ozkok writes that this alliance between the headdress and the sickle and the hammer was last seen in Iran in 1979. In conclusion, the writer says that this symbol should not be legitimized through the upcoming constitutional amendments.

    In an article in the Turkish Daily News, Mehmet Ali Birand assesses the survey saying that "the results weren't as frightening as expected." Noting that the five percent increase in conservatism is not a big deal, Birand argues that "this increase is not due to religious bigotry" and can be interpreted as "the fashionable modernization of covered women." He then goes on to criticize the standstill in the reform process and to lament the absence of Gul from the Foreign Ministry.

    Under the banner headline, "Let Aydin Dogan Explain," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which asserts that the KONDA survey published in the Dogan-owned Milliyet newspaper yesterday, indicating an increase in the number of women who wear Islamic headscarves in Turkey, was actually carried out three months ago. The report questions Milliyet's motives in releasing the results of this survey today.

    In an article entitled "Do Polls Lie?", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru asserts that an A&G survey published in the Dogan-owned Radikal daily three months ago and carried out more recently than the Konda survey whose results were published in Milliyet yesterday, indicated a decrease in the number of women who wear Muslim headscarves. He claims that "what is even more interesting" is that the KONDA and A&G companies are "sister" groups before he proceeds to ask Aydin Dogan "which of the surveys we are supposed to believe ... the one that says Turkey is turning into another Malaysia ... or the one that tells us not to be afraid ..."

    Under the banner headline, "Survey Manipulators," Vakit runs a front-page report which asserts that the disparity between the findings of recent surveys about the number of women who wear headscarves in Turkey has been interpreted as meaning that polling companies are manipulating results "in accordance with changing concepts."

    b) Kurdish Issue:

    Comparing the conflicting reports appearing in the Turkish and foreign media regarding the recent cross-border operation in an article in Hurriyet, Cuneyt Ulsever writes that contrary to the local media, the foreign media does not view the operation as any different from those conducted earlier by the Turkish army. Based on statements by experienced commanders, the writer notes the difficulty of conducting a ground operation in winter conditions and blames the government for the delay in transferring to the army the authorization for the operation. He concludes by questioning why it took the government 47 days to transfer to the army the authorization it received from parliament on 17 October.

    In a column in Sabah on the meeting of US Ambassador Wilson with Kurdish politicians last week, Erdal Safak interpets it as a search for representatives outside the Democratic Society Party, the (DTP), to conduct a dialogue on the Kurdish issue. The writer further views this meeting as an attempt to carry the issue onto the international arena. Safak argues that, however, those who were present at the meeting, namely Rights and Freedoms Party leader Sertas Bucak and Participatory Democracy Party leader Serafettin Elci, are not better candidates than the DTP for a dialogue since both favour a change it Turkey's unitary state structure and advocate a federal model. Whereas the DTP wants "the recognition of language, identity, and cultural rights" and the strengthening of local administrations, the writer adds. Safak concludes by mentioning another possibility, which is the establishment of a new moderate Kurdish party.

    Also commenting on US Ambassador Wilson's meeting with Kurdish politicians in an article in Ortadogu, Seyfi Sahin views it as interference in the domestic affairs of a foreign country. Furthermore, he argues that it is tantamount to ethnic and racist provocation and to an attempt to divide a nation. Summarizing the Kurdish policy of the United States in the Middle East, Sahin writes: "The borders in the Middle East will be redrawn within the framework of the Great Middle East Project, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and Turkey will be divided, new and small countries will be established in their stead, a Kurdish state will emerge from among them, the largest territory for this state will be taken from Turkey." Pointing out that the policy pursued by the United States does not befit a friend and that countering Turkey in the Middle East is not in the interests of America, the writer concludes by saying that US administrators should understand that Turkey can never be divided.

    In an article entitled "Rebuilding a Common History With Kurds", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul claims that Turkey is "taking or preparing to take the most serious steps to date" toward solving the "Kurdish issue" and "or at least changing its character" so as to make it discussable and prevent it from being used as an international "card" as part of attempts to touch off a civil war in this country or partition it. He asserts that if the mistakes made since 1991 are not repeated, those who have treated this issue as a means of retaining their hold on power are neutralized, and the Kurds can reassess some of the ongoing regional and global developments, the 1000-year common Turkish-Kurdish history and tradition could become the source of a new and powerful dynamism.

    In an article entitled "Who Could Solve the Kurdish Issue?", Zaman columnist Ihsan Dagi argues that it would not be possible to end the "state-society tension" in this country and establish peace without first solving the "Kurdish issue," adding that the way to start dealing with this problem would be for the state to stop trying to "impose an identity and life style" on citizens of Kurdish origin. Dagi claims that the AKP is wrong if it believes it could solve the problem by adopting socio-economic measures only since the problem has "a deep historical and identity dimension" that no effort to address Kurdish woes could afford to ignore. He also asserts that the Government is particularly well-positioned to take "self-confident" steps toward tackling the "identity politics" aspect of the Kurdish question.

    In an article entitled "Military Finally Authorized", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal asks why the ruling AKP has "dragged its feet so long" over authorizing the Turkish military to conduct cross-border operations against the PKK despite the fact it was able to pass constitutional amendments within a week to arrange for presidents to be elected by popular vote. He also poses the question whether the "political directive" given to the General Staff is one that enables the armed forces to undertake large-scale operations and describes the efforts being made by Mas'ud Barzani and Jalal Talabani to establish an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq as a fundamental threat to Turkey.

    c) Alevi Issue:

    In an article entitled "Is Alevism being officially recognized?", Zaman columnist Sahin Alpay describes the ruling AKP's latest initiative toward the Alevis as a project to officially recognize the Alevi identity and claims that if this undertaking is implemented in cooperation with Alevi organizations, it will constitute a significant step toward broadening the scope of religious freedoms in Turkey. He also claims that there is also a sense in which the project will entail the expansion of state control over religion in this country so as to include Alevism.

    EG/


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