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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-12-13

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 <>



  • [01] Ercakica on the illegal immigration issue via the ferry services between Syria and occupied Cyprus
  • [02] Avci stated that the occupation regime will open new representations abroad
  • [03] Turkish State Minister Kursad Tuzmen visited yesterday the self-styled minister of foreign affairs Turgay Avci
  • [04] Statements on the issue of the citizenship during the TRNC budget at the self-styled assembly
  • [05] Twenty nine persons who entered the TRNC as passengers of the ferry services from Latakia to occupied Famagusta were arrested
  • [06] The self-styled minister of economy stated that the occupation regime will be able to sell electricity to the Greek Cypriots in one year
  • [07] The hotels are empty during the Bayram (religious feast)
  • [08] Survey on why Turkeys women cover their head
  • [09] Judiciary second most corrupt sector in Turkey
  • [10] Gul is visiting Kazakhstan for shaping a joint vision
  • [11] USA supports a trilateral strategic partnership between US, Azerbaijan and Turkey
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [12] From the Turkish Press of 12 December 2007


    [01] Ercakica on the illegal immigration issue via the ferry services between Syria and occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (13.12.07) reports the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Hasan Ercakica the Spokesperson for the President, said that the aim of the Greek Cypriot side who claim that the ferry services between TRNC and Syria were used for illegal immigration, was to preclude all efforts towards lifting the isolations over Turkish Cypriots.

    Ercakica said that the Greek Cypriot side was exploiting its EU membership. He called on the EU: We do expect the EU and the member countries that complicated the Cyprus issue by accepting unilaterally the Greek Cypriots in their structures, to prevent Turkish Cypriots being exploited by the use of EU organs and resources

    In a written statement published on Wednesday Hasan Ercakica criticized the Greek Cypriot side for its latest initiative to cancel the ferry services between TRNC and Syria.

    In his statement indicating to the Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Markoullis´ latest appeal where she claimed that the ferries were used for illegal migration, Ercakica said: The particulars that are looked for at the people entering TRNC through the air and sea ports are laid out by the laws, preventing entry to TRNC of the people who carry these particulars is out of question.

    He underlined that the Greek Cypriot side was reluctant in disclosing sufficient information from where the illegal migrants arrive and said While the whole world bore the burden of illegal immigrants, their efforts to give the impression that the shores of Greek Cypriot side, sea and airports were not a part of the immigration is certainly incomprehensible and it is another indication of the effort to place responsibility on the Turkish Cypriots.

    Ercakica also stressed that the Greek Cypriots are avoiding cooperating with the Turkish Cypriot authorities in preventing all kinds of crimes.

    Referring to the July 8 Agreement (2006) singed between the two leaders that included setting up technical committees to deal with every day to day issues, Hasan Ercakica said: All our concerted efforts to set up and effectuate the committees have been incomprehensibly blocked by the Greek Cypriots and have prevented any possibility for cooperation to prevent such events.

    Ercakica also stated that the Turkish Cypriot side was ready for cooperation on illegal migration and added: To expect help from the EU before contacting us just shows that their intention is to ensure the continuation of the isolations on Turkish Cypriots rather than curtailing the illegal migration.

    If the Greek Cypriots want to prove their determination on implementing the July 8 agreement and curb the illegal migration then they have to cooperate with Turkish Cypriots.

    [02] Avci stated that the occupation regime will open new representations abroad

    Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu (13.12.07) writes that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Mr Turgay Avci, stated that the openings of the occupation regime will continue. Mr Avci made these statements at the self-styled assembly during the discussion for the TRNC budget.

    Mr Avci stated that the openings of the TRNC abroad will continue and new representations will be opened. We will continue our openings for the strengthening of the Turkish Cypriots economy and for their future. With these openings we will make our voice in Europe stronger, he stated. Mr Avci noted that his ministry needs to employ more personnel and noted that while South Cyprus, as it called the Republic of Cyprus, employs 42 persons in Brussels, the TRNC only employs two persons.

    Mr Avci stated that the relations of the occupation regime with the Islamic countries became closer during last year and reminded the visit of the delegation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in occupied Cyprus and the launching of ferry services with Syria. Noting that the ferry services are a bridge with the Middle East, Mr Avci stated that the ferry services will continue, despite the fact that there is an issue regarding the flags used by the ferries. As he stated, this problem will be solved with the use of the Turkish flag and the ferry services will continue.


    [03] Turkish State Minister Kursad Tuzmen visited yesterday the self-styled minister of foreign affairs Turgay Avci

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (13.12.07) writes that the Turkish State Minister Kursad Tuzmen visited yesterday the self-styled minister of foreign affairs Turgay Avci. Mr Tuzmen stated, inter alia, during the visit that despite the isolation, the economy of the TRNC is developing. On his part Mr Avci stated that despite the isolation and all the efforts of the Greek Cypriot side, the TRNC is continuing to make openings with the help of the motherland Turkey.


    [04] Statements on the issue of the citizenship during the TRNC budget at the self-styled assembly

    Under the title Minority after fifteen years, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (13.12.07) reports in its first page that Mr Mustafa Akinci, the MP of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP), made statements yesterday at the self-styled assembly, during the discussion of the TRNC budget, about the number of the Turkish Cypriots in occupied Cyprus. Cypriotism is declining in every field. As regards the Turkification, it increases every day, he stated and added that a long term residence permit must be given, instead of the citizenship.

    If the citizenships continue to be distributed this way, after 10-15 years the Turkish Cypriots will become minority, Mr Akinci said. He went on and stated that what is important in a country is not the population increase but the quality of life of the population. Mr Akinci, who supported the lifting of the isolation policy, stated that the struggle for this issue must become more effective and that the UN must be convinced on this issue. Mr Akinci said that he is not against the granting of citizenships for the people that live in the country for 30 years, but, as he said, from now on not citizenship but long term residence permit must be granted.

    Referring to the ferry services between occupied Famagusta and Latakia, Mr Akinci stated that they were turned into a human trafficking tool and that measures must be taken.

    Afrika also writes that the self-styled prime minister, Mr Ferdi Soyer, who participated in the discussion, stated: The situation of the persons who live here for 30 years, cannot be discussed.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (13.12.07) reports that the self-styled minister of interior, Mr Ozkan Murat, who participated in the discussion at the assembly in order to give answers on the citizenship issue, stated that the council of ministers did not distribute citizenships which were out of proposal, unnecessary and illegal.

    Mr Murat, who also gave information on the issue of work permits, stated that in the year 2006, 49 thousand work permits were given and in the year 2007, (figures including November but not December), 42 thousand work permits were given. He went on and stated that the applications for the residence permits are open and clear and added: We made a complete reform on the immigration issue.

    Mr Murat also stated that in 120 villages they implemented a clearing operation and that only the dangerous houses were demolished. As he stated, no Greek houses were demolished.


    [05] Twenty nine persons who entered the TRNC as passengers of the ferry services from Latakia to occupied Famagusta were arrested

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (13.12.07) reports that 29 persons of Iraqi and Palestinian citizenship, who entered the TRNC on the 6th of December as passengers of the ferry services from Latakia to occupied Famagusta, were arrested trying to pass to the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus. The persons applied to the UN Humanitarian Aid Mission, since they were recognized as refugees.


    [06] The self-styled minister of economy stated that the occupation regime will be able to sell electricity to the Greek Cypriots in one year.

    Under the title One more transformer, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (13.12.07) reports in its first page that a large investment was made in order for the electricity cuts to come to an end in northern Cyprus. The paper writes that the Lefkosia Electricity Transformer Centre (sub-station) was opened and the foundation was laid for the Lefkosia 2nd Electricity Transformer Centre during a ceremony that took place in occupied Lefkosia. The self-styled prime minister Ferdi Soyer, the Turkish State Minister Kursad Tuzmen and the minister of finance Ahmet Uzun participated in the inauguration ceremony. Speaking at the ceremony Mr Uzun stated, inter alia, that the occupation regime will be able to sell electricity to the Greek Cypriots in one year.


    [07] The hotels are empty during the Bayram (religious feast)

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.12.07) reports in its first page that the tourists who make reservations for the Kurban Bayram (the feast of the sacrifice) this time did not prefer occupied Cyprus. The hotel owners in occupied Cyprus stated that the reasons the hotels occupancy is very low, are the high prices, the plane accident which took place recently in Turkey and the lack of advertisement.

    The paper writes that the period of Bayram and the New Year holidays, which were a financial relief for the hotel owners, because of the persons who were coming to occupied Cyprus for the vacations, this time did not make the hotel owners happy. The chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Hotel Owners Union, Mr Turhan Beydagli, stated that the overall hotel occupancy in the TRNC is 13% and added that the reservations in casino hotels are higher than in other hotels. Twelve installations are closed and 24 others are completely empty. As he said, the tourists from Turkey preferred Europe and Turkey for their holidays and added: The TRNC has lost its image in Turkey.


    [08] Survey on why Turkey´s women cover their head

    Turkish daily Istanbul Milliyet newspaper (04.12.07) publishes a report about the outcome of an opinion poll conducted for Milliyet by KONDA polling company about religion, secularism and headscarf in peoples daily lives.

    According to the outcome of the survey which was conducted by interviewing 5,289 people in 41 provinces, marriage is among the main factors which prompt women to cover their heads. Sixty percent of the women interviewed in the poll said that they were covering their heads before their marriage while 13.2% said that they have been covering their heads since their marriage and 25% since they have come of age. Sixty-one percent of the respondents who wear traditional headdress and 58.2 percent of those who wear headscarf said that that they were covering their heads before getting married.

    Asked why they were covering their heads, 73% of the respondents attributed it to their religious beliefs while 13.7 percent replied that they were covering their heads due to traditions and local custom.

    The poll revealed that there is an interrelationship between the reasons for covering head and methods used for that purpose. Seventy-two percent of the respondents who wear traditional headdress said that they were covering their heads due to their religious beliefs while 14.5% ascribed it to traditions and local custom. Corresponding figures for women wearing headscarf were 89% and 4.8%, respectively.

    According to a breakdown of the results of the poll by the level of education, religious beliefs and traditions were the main factor prompting women who are high school graduates to cover their heads while university graduates cover their heads mainly because of their faith and the wish of their husbands.

    Replies to a question as to why some of the respondents prefer headscarf to traditional headdress showed that a considerable part of the people polled share the opinion that headscarf reflects a political tendency and a smaller number of people headscarf regard headscarf as a sign of high moral principles and a tool used by women for protecting themselves.

    Asked why they prefer headscarf to traditional headdress, 68% of all respondents to the poll said that they were complying with the orders of Islam as compared with 14.9% who said that they prefer it because it reveals their political tendency. They were followed by adapting themselves to their social surroundings with 7.4%, demonstrating their identity with 4.6%, showing that they have high moral standards with 3.1%, and protecting themselves with 2.1%.

    The results of the poll indicated that there has been a significant change in people's convictions about whether or not women working for public agencies should cover their heads. Around 20% of the respondents shared the view that all female employees should not cover their heads which was considerably lower than 37.4%, the corresponding figure in the opinion poll conducted in 2003, whereas 68.9% shared the opinion that they should be free to cover their heads if they wish to do so.

    The survey was also designed to determine social tendencies about the current ban preventing female university students from wearing headscarf. Seventy-eight percent of the respondents to the survey said that the ban should be lifted as compared with 22% who replied that it should remain in force. These figures indicated that there was no noticeable change in the public's opinions about the matter. The survey also showed that there has not been a considerable change in people's views about the relationship between headscarf and secularism. Headscarf is regarded as a symbol of anti-secularism by 16.7% of the public while 68.4% do not share this view.

    [09] Judiciary second most corrupt sector in Turkey

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (13.12.07) reports that the relatively low level of recognized corruption in the judiciary in the first 60 years of the Turkish Republic has increased significantly in the past 20 years, according to a Global Corruption Report 2007 by Transparency International (TI).

    According to TI's Global Corruption Report 2005, respondents gave the judiciary a score of four on a scale from one to five, where five is highly corrupt. The report commented that an increase in the number of scandals in the media involving judges and prosecutors supported this perception. The Turkish public now perceives the judicial system as the second most corrupt institution in the country after the Tax Department. However, the report noted that the increase did not mean that the entire system is corrupt. "Indeed, the strongest criticism about its spread has been voiced by senior officials who are campaigning to root out corruption and place the judiciary in its rightful place as a cornerstone of integrity in society," it said. It also suggested changes to the Supreme Board of Prosecutors and Judges (HSYK) to which all judges and public prosecutors are attached and which has responsibility for ensuring the integrity of the judicial system. It criticized the fact that the HSYK's meetings take place in the Ministry of Justice, which serves as its secretariat, noting this as a serious divergence from the principle of judicial independence. The EU also made this point in a progress report on Turkey in 2005, it recalled.

    In addition to political intervention, the report criticized the extent of immunity granted to members of the judiciary. "To protect their independence judges and prosecutors are entitled to immunity from investigation and trial for crimes, even bribery. This leads to serious abuse and the high council [HSYK] rarely lifts this immunity. Judicial immunity also sets a bad example to politicians and bureaucrats who often cite it as a pretext for their own claims to it," it noted.

    It also criticized the misuse of expert witnesses in Turkish courts, quoting former Justice Minister Cemil Cicek, who it said was "just one of many who have criticized the use of 'experts' (bilirkisi) in the legal system," as having said, "You can't fight against corruption if you have this 'expert report' system."

    Because judges don't have the expertise to decide technical issues or the time to go to the scene of a crime and there is no pool of professionals to do it for them, judges accept the reports of private experts. Though many of their reports are patently false, judges rarely discount their testimony, the report observed.

    "False expert reports are common in both ordinary and prominent cases due to bribery by the guilty party," it said, giving an obvious example of such an expert report that claimed that the provision of prostitutes, watches, diamond necklaces and cars to interested parties was not bribery. Another expert report led to the acquittal of the builders of a primary school dormitory that collapsed, killing 84 children, saying it was not due to "insufficient steel and cement in the construction, but because of the poor quality of local materials."

    The report noted that a number of judges and public prosecutors have been imprisoned for accepting bribes and trying to influence courts over the past two years. Others forced to step down have included the head of the HSYK, members of the Council of State and the Supreme Court of Appeals deputy secretary general.

    The TI report praised Operation Scalpel (Nester) carried out by Nuri Ok, a former chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, and other anti-corruption activists to clean up the system by pushing for further investigations of judicial corruption. An increasing number of judges and prosecutors are under investigation, it said. However, it also noted that the prosecutor in Operation Scalpel was removed.

    The report also complained that there is little political or institutional support for efforts to clean up the judiciary. The report also mentioned a new system being established in which court decisions and related documents are posted on the Internet. Representatives of the judiciary are being sent to international conferences in a bid to familiarize themselves with international anticorruption standards, such as the Bangalore Principles and the Budapest Principles.

    The report recommended a number of changes in the judiciary. It called for reducing the politicization of the judiciary and allowing it the independence guaranteed to it by the Constitution. This can best be achieved by altering the composition of the high council and making it easier to lift the immunity of judges. The minister of justice and his undersecretary must be persuaded to abdicate their membership to the high council [HSYK], which should be expanded through the inclusion of the chief prosecutor, other public prosecutors and possibly a lawyer, it said.

    It also called on minimizing government interference in appointments, transfers and other judicial decisions by giving the Ministry of Justice a reduced say in drawing up candidate lists. The HSYK must be given a more autonomous position by having its own budget, secretariat and offices in a location separate from the Justice Ministry.

    It also recommended that the private expert system be abolished and a regulated pool of public officials be assigned to assist judges with the technical information needed to determine case outcomes. There is also a need to improve the education of judges, prosecutors and lawyers, it added. The report also said the oath of judges and prosecutors should define the limits of their relationships with politicians and business interests.

    The workload of Turkeys judges -- up to 60 cases a day -- should be reduced, the report said. Although it admitted that salaries for judges and prosecutors compared favourably with those of other civil servants, it said that the salaries were low for the members of the judiciary living in big cities.

    [10] Gul is visiting Kazakhstan for shaping a joint vision

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (13.12.07) reports that President Abdullah Gul departed Ankara yesterday to pay an official four-day visit to Kazakhstan, coming only days after his last week trip to another Central Asian country, Turkmenistan.

    I believe the visit will be useful in shaping our common vision for the future, guided by past experiences, Gul told reporters ahead of his flight from Ankara s Esenboga Airport.

    State Minister Mustafa Said Yaz1c1oglu, Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul and Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler are among a large delegation accompanying Gul during the visit.

    During their meetings Gul and his Kazakh counterpart, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, will find the opportunity to discuss a wide range of regional and international issues. On Friday Gul will attend ceremonies in Astana to mark the 16th anniversary of the countrys independence. While in Astana, Gul, along with Nazarbayev, will attend a meeting of the Turkish-Kazakh Business Forum. On Saturday, before wrapping up his visit, Gul will move on to Almaty, where he will visit facilities founded there by Turkish entrepreneurs.

    Gul, who had displayed a close interest in Central Asian countries during his time at the helm of the Foreign Ministry, aims at strengthening ties with the Turkic-speaking states of the region via these visits. Late in September Nazarbayev became the first foreign head of state to be received by Gul since his election in late August as the 11th president of Turkey.

    Turkey was the first country to recognize Kazakhstans independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the interest of Turks has been robust and active over the past 16 years. Kazakhstan is an important economic partner of Turkey, and the cooperation between the Turkish and Kazakh authorities has played a major role in the development of Kazakhstan, which has come a long way in terms of development.

    [11] USA supports a trilateral strategic partnership between US, Azerbaijan and Turkey

    Turkish daily The New Anatolian newspaper (12.12.07) reports that Daniel Fried, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs said Turkish- U.S. collaboration against the PKK reached a new stage and yielded tangible results.

    Taking the floor at a work shop in Washington D.C. where relations between Turkey, U.S. and Azerbaijan were debated, Fried qualified the tripartite relations as a "strategic partnership".

    Fried said Turkey, being an overwhelmingly Muslim country is a role model as a secular democracy, and can be a source of inspiration for the "reformists" in Caucasus, Central Asia and broad Middle East region.

    Fried said strategic partnership of Turkey, Azerbaijan and the United States would be in the best interests of the countries in question, indicating that the region would also take advantage from this partnership.

    Fried said Azerbaijan aimed at consolidating his position in Europe with Baku-Soupsa, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi -Erzurum pipelines, and underscored that this could materialize thanks to close cooperation of Turkey, Azerbaijan and the United States.

    "Turkey is a friend and ally of the United States. We have overcome many crises together," he added.

    Fried said while the U.S., Azerbaijan and Turkey may establish trilateral strategic partnership Washington does not intend to oppose Russias interests in that region.

    "Russia will remain the leading factor in the region. For the United States it is not wise and is impossible to oppose Russia, Fried stressed.

    In our vision of an open region there is a place for all states to develop mutual relations with Central Asia and South Caucasus, while the region is searching for its own way in the world for independence and sovereignty, he said. We are three the United States, Azerbaijan and Turkey we may establish a strategic partnership which will be advantageous to all us and to the entire region, he concluded.

    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [12] From the Turkish Press of 12 December 2007

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish Press of 12.12.07 on issues of the current Turkish political agenda:

    a) Kurdish Problem: Commenting in Istanbul Milliyet on the statements Gen Buyukanit and Gen Saygun made in connection with the terrorist activities, Fikret Bila notes that the two commanders informed the people on the support given to the terrorist PKK by foreign countries. Stressing in a column that the US and the EU do not support Turkey in its struggle against the PKK, regardless of their claims that they side with Ankara, Bila claims: Forcing Turkey to hold political talks with the PKK is one of their common aspects. He also claims that the US and the EU countries view only al-Qa'ida as a terrorist threat and asserts: Their concept of global terror and struggle against terrorism is limited to organizations and activities that harm them. Bila concludes by saying that the US and the EU countries condone the terrorist activities carried out by the PKK to achieve its political objectives.

    Writing in Istanbul Sabah, Ergun Babahan agrees that Turkey has made significant progress in its struggle against the terrorist activities of the PKK with the support of international circles and draws attention to the changes in the way young people in southeastern Turkey feel. In a column, he urges the officials to appropriately assess the changes and prepare themselves to take all the necessary measures that will remove the PKK through peaceful means. Noting that Turkey might not find another opportunity to do so in the future, he asserts: Political will is what is necessary. However, the AKP [Justice and Developments Party] will have to do away with the hawks within its framework to be able to exercise its will.

    Under the headline, "[Buyukanit:] Our Mistakes are Shooting Back," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which outlines General Yasar Buyukanit's speech at the symposium on terrorism held by the General Staff's strategic research unit, SAREM, in Ankara yesterday. The report highlights the Chief of Staff's "historic" remark that the Turkish military's failure to emphasize "international values like human rights, democracy, and peace" in conducting the fight on terrorism has caused a more extensive armed response from the PKK.

    A report in Vakit newspaper under the title "DTP Anxious Only To Have Ocalan Pardoned" asserts that the Democratic Society Party's "sharp opposition" to the Erdogan government's plan to pass a "return home" bill for the PKK has demonstrated "once again" that this party is "acting under the orders of the senior leaders of the terrorist PKK."

    In an article entitled "AKP's Plan on PKK?", Zaman columnist Abdulhamit Bilici cites President Gul's remarks in response to questions about the "Kurdish issue" en route to Pakistan last week as a possible indication that the Erdogan government already has a road map on how to deal with this issue and that a comprehensive plan to address this problem, including steps like building new roads in the southeast, supplying water to villages, teaching Turkish to children of Kurdish origin, and organizing activities aimed at preventing young people from joining the ranks of the PKK, has been in force ever since Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to Diyarbakir.

    In an article entitled "Government plans to bring terrorists down from the mountains", Milli Gazete columnist Zeki Ceyhan argues that the Erdogan government should look into taking "heart-winning" measures aimed at preventing young people in the southeast from "taking to the mountains" to join the PKK rather than trying uselessly to trigger desertions from the PKK by passing "return home bills."

    In an article entitled "Why I am saying it is just the time", Bugun columnist Ahmet Tasgetiren explains in what sense it is the "right time" to launch a "human initiative" to address the "pain" in southeastern Turkey "called the Kurdish issue." He underlines the importance, in this context, of the fact that the incumbent government performed better than a Kurdish-oriented party in the latest election and that the fight on terrorism has brought the PKK to the point where "it no longer has a chance."

    b) Turkey - EU relations: Sami Kohen argues that the recent EU progress report indicates a change of approach in the Union. In a commentary in Istanbul Milliyet, he believes that the report indicated that President Sarkozy has been able to secure the support of 26 EU countries for his effort to obstruct reference to talks on accession, the EU showed that it is not prepared to fulfil the commitments it made for Turkey's accession, and France, Germany, and Austria strengthened the impression that their objective is to force Turkey to distance itself from the organization. Kohen focuses on the need to remind the EU on the unfulfilled pledges it made to Turkey and concludes: The backward step the EU has taken at the present time will probably be another example of its approach.

    In a column also in Milliyet, Hasan Cemal criticizes Sarkozy for making a significant effort to "weaken the EU commitments on Turkey's accession" with a view to forcing it to change its mind on joining the organization. Stressing that the French approach is distressing, he laments the support Germany's Merkel gives to Sarkozy against Turkey. Cemal then draws attention to the importance of reforms in Turkey and wonders how long the government will delay taking steps in that direction with the possibility of its accession to the EU in mind. Criticizing the AKP for failing to realize the necessary reforms regardless of its large majority in parliament, he adopts an optimistic approach, saying that Turkey has not reached the end of the road yet. Cemal concludes: But, the government has to quickly give momentum to the reforms. Otherwise, its convincing approach on accession to the EU will weaken. Consequently, we will pay the cost of such a development particularly in the economic field.

    In a column in Sabah Erdal Safak argues that Portugal and many of the other EU members could have stood up against Sarkozy and believes that the assurances they gave to Turkey on the continuation of the accession talks will not change the realities. Focusing on the dissatisfaction created in Turkey by the report, Safak warns that the negotiation table must not be abandoned and urges Turkey to use its influence and take retaliatory measures. One of these, he notes, might be the exclusion of Gaz de France from the Nabucco Project, which is vitally important for the EU. He asserts: That will hurt France. But, we must be careful not to harm ourselves in the meantime.

    In a column in Vatan Can Ataki, argues that Turkey has fulfilled almost all the EU conditions for its accession and criticizes the organization for making unending demands on the rights of minorities and the situation of the military forces. He notes: Only a few problems are left to be solved in connection with democracy. The question of minorities is being exploited. New definitions are put forward as steps are taken to solve the problem. The armed forces are no more influential in the country. Only the National Security Council meetings are maintained. However, the government has weight in the council now. Nor do the commanders make statements as they used to do in the past. What else does the EU want? But, if its intention is different, then that is another matter.

    In an article entitled "Immoral denial of obligation", Today's Zaman columnist Yavuz Baydar refers to reports that France prevented the European Union earlier this week from "using the word 'accession' in a statement on Turkey's talks with the bloc" as "yet another clear sign" that the French government remains determined to "deliberately promote 'fatigue' on the level of government and parliament in Ankara, with the aim of derailing the 45-year-long process."

    c) Fethullah Gulen: Tufan Turenc comments on Fethullah Gulen's situation in a column in Istanbul Hurriyet, asking why he still prefers to live in the United States. He recalls the overtures made by the pro-Gulen elements in the AKP for his return and asserts: Fethullah Gulen's influence on the ruling party is gradually increasing. The Islamic shawl the AKP plans to place over Turkey has almost covered the entire country.

    d) YOK Chairman: Ahmet Hakan, in a column in Hurriyet newspaper, profiles Prof Yusuf Ziya Ozcan, who has been appointed as the head of the High Education Council (YOK). He argues that he is a person one can easily talk with and notes that his wife does not cover her head with a headdress. Hakan rejects the argument that Ozcan is a pro-Gulen intellectual and recalls the jokes he frequently makes, noting that no one should expect to be harmed by someone who acts with such a high sense of humour.

    In an article entitled "New YOK: End of the headscarf ban", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul argues that the Higher Education Council, (YOK), has so far served as a means for the bureaucratic establishment to conduct a fight for political power and fuel the "paranoid" perception of certain social sections as a threat to the regime. He claims that the "rehabilitation" of this body during the term of Professor Yusuf Ziya Ozcan as its new chairman is expected to be an important step toward promoting "the normalization and emancipation process in Turkey."

    Under the headline, "Freedom for Everybody," Vakit carries a front-page report which highlights new YOK Chairman Yusuf Ziya Ozcan's remarks disclosing his "two visions: removing all bans in universities and attaching more importance to science and learning."

    Under the headline, "Let us hope for the best," Milli Gazete publishes a front-page report which highlights new YOK Chairman Professor Ozcan's remarks "pledging to lift all bans in universities and promote progress in science."

    e) Economy: In a column in Istanbul Milliyet, Hursit Gunes argues that investments are falling and consumption is decreasing. Adding a table to his column on investments and consumption in 2006 and 2007, he notes: Investments increased by nearly 16 percent in nine months in 2006. However, they increased by only 6.3 percent in 2007. Predicting a 5 percent growth this year, he warns that growth in 2008 might even be less because of global problems. Gunes asserts: We will then realize that the high growth rate during the past few years was due to the large liquidity in the world, not economic policies.

    In an article entitled "Make way, reactionism is coming", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak discusses the significance Istanbul Stock Exchange Chairman Huseyin Erkan's disclosure of a plan to establish an Islamic stock market in order attract Muslim capital to the tune of $30 billion to Turkey. Dilipak argues that "the green capital is getting organized" while "secularists are busy debating the headscarf issue." He also cites preparations by the Chamber of Commerce in Kozan to issue "halal" food certificates as being among the signs that "Islamic sharia is around the corner, friends. Islamization is at the door."

    In an article entitled "Istanbul scenarios never seem to be off the agenda", Milli Gazete columnist Afet Ilgaz argues that the plan to make Istanbul an international financial center or "cultural capital" is part of a CIA project to turn Turkey into a federation in an attempt to prepare the ground for its partition.

    f) New Constitution: In an article entitled "Civilian constitution: Avoiding making definitions", Yeni Safak columnist Kursat Bumin discusses the "alternatives" proposed in the draft "civilian constitution" for Article 66 of the current constitution, which states that "everybody linked to the Turkish state by ties of citizenship is a Turk." After calling attention to the perceived shortcomings of the three options proposed for this article, Bumin argues that the drafters of the new constitution should focus on the concept of citizenship without using the concepts "Turk" and "Turkish" and worrying about how to define these words.


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