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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-12-11

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.239/07 11.12.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Warning to the EU by Babacan
  • [02] TGNA Speaker: Greek Cypriots do not want a solution
  • [03] Soyer stated that the right of the Turkish Cypriots to rule themselves and the continuation of the guarantor ship of Turkey are very important for the solution of the Cyprus problem
  • [04] Here is the report which was kept secret
  • [05] Statements by Akinci and Soyer during the discussion of the budget in the self-styled assembly
  • [06] The self-styled Lefkosia municipality will build 1200 municipal dwellings in the area of Lefkosia
  • [07] Turkish Foreign Minister: Our target is full membership
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [08] Columnist in Turkish Daily News: Turkey´s EU membership could boil down to the resolution of two issues: Cyprus and the Kurdish problem
  • [09] From the Turkish Press of 10 December 2007

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Warning to the EU by Babacan

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (11.12.07) reports in its first page that the Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan stated that the Turkish Cypriot people who made efforts for the solution of the Cyprus problems is punished and noted that they expect right away the lifting of the isolation. Mr Babacan, who was speaking at the Turkish Grand National Assembly, also stated that Turkey did its part as regards the harmonization process with the EU. However, he said Turkey has also expectations from the EU, mainly the lifting of the isolation and the restrictions on the Turkish Cypriots.

    Mr Babacan went on and stated that the EU, despite the decisions taken on this issue, is following a nervous policy and that it is not possible, the TRNC, which is the side that showed the will for solution, to be punished. As he stated, Many countries started feeling guilty because of this development.

    Reporting on the same issue Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.12.07) writes that the Turkish Foreign Minister also stated that there are fourteen TRNC foreign representations abroad and added that there are seven foreign representations which opened offices in the country. He also stated that with the USA, the UK and France being the first, many other countries started to accept the TRNC passports.

    (CS)

    [02] TGNA Speaker: Greek Cypriots do not want a solution

    Illegal Bayrak television (10.12.07) broadcast the following:

    The Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Mr Koksal Toptan, has said it is the Greek Cypriot side which does not want to bring about a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Pointing out that the TRNC has achieved important progress towards improving its economy, he said `only international recognition of its statehood is missing`.

    Speaking to reporters during a visit to Kuwait, the Speaker of the Turkish Parliament Toptan reminded that it was the Greek Cypriot side which rejected to bring about a solution to the Cyprus problem during the 2004 referendum in Cyprus.

    `First of all those who are calling for a solution in Cyprus should accept the existence of two states and peoples on the island. The Greek Cypriot Administration has been calling on Turkish Cypriots to accept to live under its rule`, he said, adding that such a move is unacceptable both for Turkey and the TRNC.

    Pointing out the TRNC has achieved important progress towards improving its economy, he said `only international recognition of its statehood is missing`.

    He also expressed the belief that the Cyprus problem will be solved one way or the other in the coming years.

    [03] Soyer stated that the right of the Turkish Cypriots to rule themselves and the continuation of the guarantor ship of Turkey are very important for the solution of the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.12.07) writes that the self-styled prime minister, Mr Ferdi Soyer, stated that the negotiation process should be speeded up in the year 2008 and the two sides in Cyprus must sit the sooner at the negotiation table. He also stated that the solution of the Cyprus problem is important both for Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots and added that the historic prospective on the issue should not be ever forgotten. Mr Soyer made these statements speaking on a private Turkish Television channel. Mr Soyer stated, inter alia, that there are two important issues as regards the solution of the Cyprus problem and these are: 1) the right of the Turkish Cypriots to rule themselves and 2): the continuation of the guarantor ship of Turkey on the island.

    Reporting on the same issue, Halkin Sesi reports that speaking at the same interview Mr Soyer, addressing the European Union, asked the following question: You are leaving outside of the European Union the Turkish Cypriot people who want unification on the basis of equality and has a position defending the European Union. You recognize Montenegro and Kosovo. Where are the principles? he stated.

    (CS)

    [04] Here is the report which was kept secret

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (11.12.07) writes in its first page that the realities noted in the latest report on Cyprus by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which were not echoed in the Turkish Cypriot community, were announced yesterday by Ali Erel who translated the report into Turkish and sent it to the press.

    As the paper writes in his report, the UN SecretaryGeneral holds responsible the Turkish side for various issues such as the non-opening of the Lokmaci (Ledra Street) crossing point, the current situation of the fenced city of Varosha, the non- clearance of the mines, the usurpation of properties of the Greek Cypriots and the demolition of the Greek Cypriot houses in the Karpasia region.

    (CS)

    [05] Statements by Akinci and Soyer during the discussion of the budget in the self-styled assembly

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (11.12.07) reports in its first page that Mr Mustafa Akinci, the MP of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP), stated that the number of the persons who crossed from the north to the south until the 31st of October 2007 was 1,368,000 (one million, three hundred sixty eight thousand) persons. The number of the persons who crossed last year was 1,600,000 (one million, six hundred thousand), in the year 2005 their number was 2,028,000 (two millions, twenty eight thousand) and in the year 2004 it was 2,000,253 (two millions, two hundred fifty three thousand). Mr Akinci stated that every day around 4,000 persons cross to the free areas but around 500 of them cross because they work in the south.

    As regards the Greek Cypriots, 628,000 thousand persons crossed to the occupied areas in the ten first months of the year 2007. However, the number of the foreigners who crossed to the occupied areas from the free areas of the Republic was 668,000.

    Mr Akinci, who was speaking at the self-styled assembly during the discussion for the budget of the TRNC, stated that the occupation regime must facilitate the persons who cross to the south and must give an end to the visa application. As he said, the system applied at the Greek Cypriot borders must be taken as an example.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam (11.12.07) reports that addressing the assembly Mr Akinci stated that the growth in the economy of the TRNC, which started after the referendum period, came to an end, the economy bell is ringing and that the year 2008 will be carrying more financial difficulties.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan (11.12.07) reports that the self-styled prime minister Ferdi Soyer, also speaking during the discussion of the budget of the TRNC, made statements regarding the foreigners who applied to buy land in occupied Cyprus. Volkan reports the following: Ferdi Sabit Soyer stated that while a 7% growth was expected in 2007, there was a 2% recession. Prime minister Soyer, who also gave information on numbers on the issue of the applications by foreigners for immovable property in the year 2003, announced that 1,606 foreigners applied in 2006, 1,627 in the first 11 months of 2007, while 1,137 of those in 2006 and 155 of those in the first 11 months of 2007, bought property..

    (CS)

    [06] The self-styled Lefkosia municipality will build 1200 municipal dwellings in the area of Lefkosia

    Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (11.12.07) reports in its first page that the self-styled Lefkosia municipality in line with the promises given by the mayor of occupied Lefkosia, Mr Cemal Bulutoglulari will build 1200 municipal dwellings in the area of Lefkosia. The houses will be built in four regions of occupied Lefkosia: Near Ipekom, at Kizilbas, at Metehan (Agios Dometios) and Kaimakli (Omorfita). Following the finalization of the list, the persons entitled to get the houses will pay 2,700 pounds sterling in advance; they will pay 150 pounds sterling per month and also make rent contracts with the municipality. The houses will be handed over in two years and can be paid off in 20 years.

    Commenting on the issue Mr Bulutoglulari stated, inter alia, that the population of (occupied) Lefkosia has increased and added that today 100,00 persons live in the town. They are made up of 50,000 citizens, 20,000 students, 20,000 workers and 10,000 illegal persons.

    (CS)

    [07] Turkish Foreign Minister: Our target is full membership

    Turkish dailies Hurriyet, Radikal, Bugun and Sabah newspapers (11.12.07) report about the EU Foreign Ministers statement issued yesterday where the word accession regarding Turkeys talks with the EU was not mentioned upon insistence by France.

    Turkish daily Bugun newspaper (11.12.07) reports the issue in its inside pages under the following title: Tripping from Sarko to Turkey. The paper also reports the statement made by the Turkish Foreign Minister and Chief Negotiator Ali Babacan who said that membership process will not deviate from its course. The paper writes: Ankara showed strong reaction to the quibble played by France against Turkey. While the EU ministers were in meeting, Minister Ali Babacan has sent a message to Brussels. In his message he said: Arguments emanating from the domestic political problems of some countries cannot deviate the accession process from its course. The target of this process, together with other countries, is full membership, and it is out of the question for us to accept any other formula than full membership. The paper further reports that Mr. Babacan also said that he does not share EU criticism that the reform process in Turkey slowed down. He recalled that the EU should fulfill its promises that it had given.

    (MHY)


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [08] Columnist in Turkish Daily News: Turkey´s EU membership could boil down to the resolution of two issues: Cyprus and the Kurdish problem

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (10.11.07) publishes the following commentary by Robert Ellis:

    Three years ago Frits Bolkestein, the EU's single market commissioner, in The Limits of Europe warned that a geographically overstretched Europe would become little more than a glorified customs union. The other week, following a speech made in Bruges by David Miliband, the new British foreign minister, Frits Bolkestein repeated his warning in a letter to the Financial Times.

    In his speech Miliband, who bears a resemblance to the hapless Mr. Bean, outlined his vision of a European Union that would ultimately include the countries of the Mahgreb, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. In his own words: The goal must be a multilateral free-trade zone around our periphery not as an alternative to membership but potentially as a step toward it.

    The fourth and often conveniently forgotten criterion for EU membership is the Union's capacity to absorb new members, while maintaining the momentum of European integration, and with the addition of the East European countries, in particular Romania and Bulgaria, this momentum is starting to falter.

    In a speech at Leiden University in September 2004 Bolkestein predicted that with Turkey's accession the EU would implode and as he added in an interview a month later: The world will end not with a bang but a whimper.

    Furthermore, there is a strange convergence of views on this issue, as last month Mehmet Simsek, Turkey's new economy minister, told a meeting of the European Policy Centre think tank in Brussels: We cannot accept dilution of the commitment to Turkey. Dilution sends an extremely poor message.

    Bolkestein has repeated a similar view but with a different address, and ended his letter to the Financial Times with the comment: Mr. Miliband has now told us that it is in the permanent interest of the U.K. to fatally dilute the European Union.

    Alarmed by the prospect of Turkey's membership in the EU, voters in France and Holland rejected the EU Constitution in 2005, and this message has not been lost on Europe's leaders. The deal has now been repackaged in the form of a treaty, which they fervently hope will not be subject to a referendum.

    President Nikolas Sarkozy has attempted to dodge the issue by referring the question of the Union's future enlargement to a Committee of Wise Men, but this will not be decided until the December summit. However, the whole question of Turkey's membership could well boil down to the resolution of two issues: Cyprus and the Kurdish problem.

    Former Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz once claimed that the road to the EU passes through Diyarbakir, but one could with equal justice claim that it passes through Nicosia.

    Cyprus:

    The collapse of the 1960 Constitution on Cyprus was followed by ethnic strife and finally the Turkish intervention in 1974 in response to Nicos Sampson's short-lived coup, which was backed by the military junta in Athens. Although Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit called on Britain to support a joint intervention in accordance with the Treaty of Guarantee, Britain refused to do so, and the consequences are well known.

    After the first ceasefire, which gave Turkish troops control of 3 percent of the island, Turkish forces again advanced, gaining control of about 36 percent of Cyprus. Consequently, 160,000 Greek Cypriots were driven from their homes and later 50,000 Turkish Cypriots moved to the north after a population exchange agreement.

    The overwhelming rejection of the Annan plan for reunification in April 2004 by the Greek Cypriots has once again led to an impasse, and the only hope for a solution lies in the outcome of the election of the Greek Cypriot president next February. But an ominous note was struck when President Abdullah Gul on his visit to northern Cyprus in September spoke of a settlement based on the two realities on the island: Two democracies, two states, two languages, two religions.

    However, as Professor Andreas Theophanous of Nicosia University has pointed out, Gul is trying to have his cake and eat it, as Prime Minister Erdogan and other Turkish politicians have repeatedly argued that the EU is a Christian club, which blocks Turkey's admission on the basis of religion. But when it comes to Cyprus, Gul raises the issue of religion as a divisive factor, which is an argument used by the opponents of Turkey's EU membership.

    The Kurdish problem:

    In August 2005 Prime Minister Erdogan made a landmark speech in Diyarbakir, in which he became the first Turkish prime minister to mention the Kurdish problem and admit to past mistakes. This, together with a program of economic development, was in July rewarded by support from almost 52 percent of the voters in the southeast, and in Diyarbakir the AKP increased its support to 41 percent.

    Ten years ago the Turkish General Staff urged the government to follow up its victory against the PKK with economic and social measures before it is too late. And last month in a series of interviews in Milliyet (also published in the TDN) former Turkish commanders came with remarkable and pertinent admissions of past errors.

    The sticking point between Turkey and the EU is the definition of minorities, as Turkey holds to the Treaty of Lausanne from 1923, which defines minorities on the basis of religion, whereas the European definition is in accordance with the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of 1997, which Turkey has not signed. This convention bases its definition on ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity.

    In the interview with General Ismail Hakki Karadayi, the general explained that Turkey should truly communicate its foundation philosophy and principles, as the Kurdish revolt began as an identity issue, which later led to the demand for a separate Kurdish state. The call by the Democratic Society Party (DTP) for autonomy for Kurds in the southeast has of late added fuel to this fire.

    St. Paul, one of the founding fathers of Christianity, was born in Tarsus, a far-flung corner of the Roman Empire, now in present day Turkey, but when brought before a magistrate, he could claim: Civis romanus sum, I am a Roman citizen, and therefore entitled to all the rights of a Roman citizen.

    The Treaty of Lausanne likewise states that all the inhabitants of Turkey, without distinction of religion, shall be equal before the law, which led to Ataturk's famous dictum: Ne mutlu Turkum diyene, happy is he who calls himself a Turk.

    Accordingly, nationality is enough and not ethnic origin, culture, language or religion.

    Therefore, when Prime Minister Erdogan was criticized for calling Turkish citizens of Kurdish origins brother, he replied: What will I call them? Yes, Kurds are my brothers. Those who have embraced the fundamental values of this country are my brothers.

    * Robert Ellis is a regular commentator on Turkish affairs in the Danish press.

    [09] From the Turkish Press of 10 December 2007

    Following are short summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish Press of 10/12/07 on issues of the current Turkish political agenda:

    a) Kurdish issue: Commenting on his interview with Cemil Cicek, head of the Antiterrorism Council, Fatih Cekirge, in a column for Istanbul Hurriyet, quotes him as saying that the PKK and the Democratic Society Party, (DTP), administration want the DTP banned so as to pillory it as a victim of oppression before it loses more votes to the AKP in the local elections. Cicek calls on the followers of the Republican People's Party and other opposition parties to join the "Brotherhood Project" and vote for the AKP in the local elections to eliminate the DTP for good. Cicek also says Turkey is not fully pleased with the intelligence sharing with the United States, and accuses the EU of ignoring Interpol red bulletins and inviting PKK members to conferences. Cekirge explains that under the "Brotherhood Project" AKP aims at increasing the investments in the southeast in the next one and a half years so as to wrest municipalities from the DTP. Also commenting on Abdullah Gul's presidency, Cekirge says his presidency will be one "without vetoes," as Gul coordinates the drafting of the bills with the government in advance to obviate the need for a veto.

    According to a report in Istanbul Ortadogu, clashes occurred between the security forces and PKK members in Tunceli during operations that have been continuing in the area for the past week. The report says that acting on a tip about the presence of a group of PKK members in the Ahpanos Valley in Ovacik, Turkish commandoes launched a ground and air operation, bringing the "PKK terrorists" under siege. The article also reported that, according to a General Staff statement, "a total of 19 separatist terrorist organization members were neutralized in the past week, with 17 of them having been killed."

    A report by Omur Unver in Istanbul Vatan cites the statement made by a PKK informant identified as B. D., code-named Sorej, after arriving in Istanbul about 10 days ago. According to the informant, the PKK is frequently obliged to leave its camps because of the military operations in the region, and "there is great panic within the organization." Many organization members want to surrender, but are afraid of being killed, the informant says, adding that there is a leadership struggle among the members of the PKK administrative cadres. The informant also confirms the allegations that DTP Van Deputy Fatma Kurtalan underwent training in the organization's camps.

    Columnist Rusen Cakir in his commentary in Vatan assessed Prime Minister Erdogan's latest announcement regarding measures to minimize the number of people who join the PKK, on one hand, and to encourage "those on the mountains" to come back home, on the other. Cakir expressed the belief that any law to be enacted in this regard, be it a "repentance law" or any other derivative of past laws, is unlikely "to compel the PKK's active militants to repent." He bases his conviction on the following reasons: Recent recruits have been on a voluntary basis; even when there were breakaways from the organization in 1999-2004, recruitment did not come to a halt; there is no sign that the families are lobbying for their sons' return; it will be difficult for the state to convey the new incentives to the PKK cadres on the mountains.

    Cakir raises the following questions: Even if the militants "return home" where exactly will they return, how will their families and friends react to them, and how will their safety be ensured? Finally, Cakir suggests that the Turkish state should first start with the many "Kurdish nationalists" living in north Iraq and Europe, who have parted ways with terrorism and who already live in the cities.

    A commentary by Orhan Karatas of Ortadogu mocks the prime minister for calling on the "murderers on the mountains" to go back to their parents, and criticizes the government for failing to conduct a "proper operation" against "the terrorists." Karatas demands to know the answers to the following questions: In exchange for what did Barzani agree to withdraw his forces from the border? In exchange for what are you calling on those who are on the mountains to come down to the cities? Will those who come down from the mountains do things differently than those who are currently in the cities, and even in the parliament? Pointing out that the "repentance law" has been tried before, Karatas concludes that the stand adopted by Erdogan will merely serve "to exacerbate terrorism and further hearten the separatists."

    In an article under the title: "An across-the-board amnesty", Yeni Safak columnist Hakan Albayrak argues that limiting a possible amnesty for the PKK to members of the terrorist group who have never taken part in acts of violence would lower the chances of such a bill disbanding the PKK. He claims that if an amnesty bill for the PKK is to be passed, "which it definitely should," it should be "incomparably more comprehensive, more courageous, and more radical" than similar former legislation and should include even militants who have committed acts of massacre.

    In an article under the title: "Wish the problem could be solved by saying, 'Go Back to Your Mother's'", Yeni Safak columnist Koray Duzgoren asserts that if the former "come home bill" for the PKK proved a "fiasco," it was because the bill was passed at the instigation of the Turkish military and intended to persuade PKK militants to assume the "demeaning" role of informers and collaborators in return for having their sentences mitigated. He also argues that such bills cannot achieve their intended aims as long as they reflect the expectations of the military and treat PKK members as "criminal pariahs."

    Yeni Safak publishes an interview under the title: "Executioners want to kill doctors, too" with Ahmet Altan, "one of the founders and columnists of the Taraf daily," which started to hit newsstands recently. Altan responds to such questions as why he decided to take part in an initiative to publish a new daily, how he views the course of the Kurdish issue, etc.

    Under the title: "There is only one remedy against this affliction: Making it disappear in the melting pot of an Islamic Nation", Vakit, columnist Selahaddin Cakirgil asserts that Prime Minister Erdogan should be supported in his recently disclosed bid to "take more comprehensive steps toward putting an end to the [PKK's] armed struggle" regardless of whatever motives could be behind this endeavour. He also argues that promoting "Islamic brotherhood" is the only way to address Turkey's ethnic issues successfully.

    In an article entitled "End of PKK terrorism?", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak claims that the PKK is being disbanded in the same way, for the same reasons, and by the same powers that earlier disbanded the Armenian terrorist group ASALA. He asserts that PKK militants abroad will be extradited, that other militants will be "brought down from the mountains," and that the Democratic Society Party, DTP, will be defeated by the ruling AKP in the local elections in the southeast in 2008, adding that in parallel with these developments the Turkish Armed Forces will undergo a reorganization and modernization process that will entail a downsizing of the army and the establishment of a professional military.

    Under the headline, "Intellectuals support 'come home bill,' Say the way to mountains should be blocked, Too," Zaman publishes a front-page report which outlines reactions to Prime Minister Erdogan's unveiling of a possible plan to "pass a new repentance bill" for the PKK from Professor Mehmet Altan, journalists Mustafa Akyol and Ali Bulac, and International Strategic Research Centre Chairman Sedat Laciner.

    Under the headline, "Government sends mixed signals on Amnesty Law," Today's Zaman runs a front-page report which quotes Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek as having told this daily that the Government has "no intention of passing a new amnesty law" for the PKK.

    In an article entitled "Great expectations and missed opportunities", Today's Zaman columnist Fehmi Koru expresses his belief that although Prime Minister Erdogan "never uttered the 'A' word, amnesty ... what is in store is a large-scale amnesty for those who fit the conditions."

    In an article entitled "Toward a solution", Bugun columnist Mehmet Metiner calls on the Government to make it possible for Kurdish to be taught as an elective course in schools, allow Kurdish radio and television stations to air Kurdish broadcasts without any time limitations, arrange for state-owned Turkish television stations to air their programs with Kurdish subtitles, enable Kurdish language institutes to be established without delay, and launch a comprehensive economic initiative toward the southeast.

    b) Funds to Turkey: Aksam newspaper reports that Huseyin Erkan, new chairman of the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB), has said that he will establish an "Islamic Quotation" with the joint efforts of 17 Islamic bourses so as to attract $30 billion in Islamic funds to Turkey. The report adds that Mustafa Bagriacik, director of Goldman Sachs in Turkey, has expressed support for the idea, saying Turkey, rather than other countries like Dubai, should benefit from it.

    c) State versus individual rights: In an article in Sabah newspaper Nazli Ilicak refers to the recent Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV), survey on "Conceptual and Mentality Moulds in the Judiciary." Ilicak states that the survey shows that whenever there is a dilemma between "justice" and "state interests" or between "democracy" and "state security," the judges and prosecutors believe that the interests of the state must be protected. She maintains that a change of mentality that accords priority to the individual and his/her rights is needed in the judiciary. Ilicak adds that the Hrant Dink's assassination and the murder of the missionaries in Malatya demonstrate the dangerous points where "the instinct to protect the state" can reach.

    EG/


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