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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-12-31

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.250/07 31.12.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Politicians in the occupied areas evaluate 2007 and express their expectations for 2008
  • [02] Erdogan assesses 2007 in address to the nation; Reference to Cyprus
  • [03] Yonluer says he will try to bring investors from ICO countries to the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [04] The new social security law is entering into force
  • [05] The majority of the prisoners in the central prisons in the occupied areas come from Turkey
  • [06] Opening of Turkeys ports to the Greek Cypriot sector does not mean recognition
  • [07] Kibrisli publishes more information on the Dome Hotel
  • [08] Yeni Duzen on the number of the persons who pay social insurances
  • [09] The Turks and Greeks cannot live together
  • [10] The Turkish National Security Council assesses the results of the cross-border operation in N. Iraq
  • [11] Turkish Trade centres to be established to major trading countries
  • [12] Turkeys friend Slovenia to take over EU presidency
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [13] Highlights from Turkish Press of 28, 29 and 30 December 2007

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Politicians in the occupied areas evaluate 2007 and express their expectations for 2008

    Illegal Bayrak television (30.12.07) broadcast the following:

    Leaders of political parties which have seats in the Republics Assembly have reached a common view that the New Year should be more an active year in domestic policy and in efforts aimed at finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Just a day before celebrating the New Year, political party leaders have evaluated 2007 to the BRT.

    The Leader of the Republican Turkish Party Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer said that 2007 has provided a considerable motivation to overcome the existing problems in 2008.

    Mr Soyer noted that the Turkish Cypriot peoples wish for a solution to the Cyprus problem, as it was proved during the meeting between the two leaders on the island on the 5th of September, has created a new process on the island.

    He said, in line with this position, the possibility of starting a new negotiations process following the elections in South Cyprus has been put onto the agenda.

    Mr Soyer also expressed the belief that the New Year will be important in shaping the relations between the TRNC and the European Union, especially in a period which the TRNC will be holding harmonization talks with the Bloc.

    In his statement, the Leader of the Freedom and Reform Party Foreign Minister Turgay Avci accused the two opposition parties of trying to create a division among people by boycotting the Republics Assembly.

    Stating that being in a conflict with each other will damage the Turkish Cypriot people, Mr Avci said that the Turkish Cypriot peoples unity is vital for opening itself out to the world. Mr Avci expressed his wishes for people to have a happy and healthy new year.

    The Leader of the main opposition National Unity Party Tahsin Ertugruloglu, for his part, described 2007 as the worst year in the TRNC history. Mr Ertugruloglu said that the best way to stop this awful situation in the country is to hold early general elections as soon as possible.

    Serdar Denktas, the Leader of the Democrat Party also shared Mr Ertugruloglus views and said that 2007 was not a good year for the people of the TRNC. Mr Denktas expressed his wishes for a better year despite indications of negative developments in 2008.

    The Leader of the Socialist Democracy Party Mehmet Cakici pointed out that 2007 was a difficult year but expressed the hope that the new year will be a better year together with positive aspects brought from 2007.

    Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (30.12.07) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that it is necessary to solve the Cyprus problem in 2008.

    Speaking to the BRT where he expressed his expectations for 2008, the President said both sides on the island and the international community should work hard to solve the Cyprus problem.

    President Mehmet Ali Talat stated that it will not be enough to suggest or wish the New Year to become a year of solution.

    If a solution process will take place in 2008, Turkish Cypriot peoples hand should be strong in order to get its political equality on the island. Turkish Cypriot People should also have a potentially flexible economy, he added.

    Mr Talat also pointed to the importance of putting political views aside to make 2008 a year during which the TRNCs economy is strengthened.

    Touching upon his upcoming visit to the Turkish capital Ankara, the President said that it will be a return visit amid Turkish President Abdullah Guls visit to the TRNC.

    He added that Mr Gul and he will expand the aim of this official visit by turning it into a meeting during which they will coordinate foreign policies.

    In addition, illegal Bayrak television (30.12.07) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer has stressed that there is not a certain decision to hold early elections in 2008.

    Speaking on BRTs Aktuel program, the Prime Minister evaluated the latest developments in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    Touching upon the issue of holding early elections, Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer said that the government has not set any limits for holding elections in the New Year; however, a decision will be made on the issue after completing the works on the constitution.

    Mr Soyer added that he is against talking about the decision on early elections and to put it forward as a precondition in this very moment.

    On the same issue, illegal Bayrak television (30.12.07) broadcast the following:

    The Speaker of the Republics Assembly Fatma Ekenoglu also evaluated 2007 and expressed her expectations for 2008.

    In her statement to the BRT, Mrs Ekenoglu said that 2007 has passed in distress due to the boycott of two opposition parties at General Assembly meetings.

    Expressing the belief that the negotiations process aimed at reaching a political settlement in Cyprus will start following the presidential elections in the South, Mrs Ekenoglu said she foresees 2008 as the year of negotiations.

    [02] Erdogan assesses 2007 in address to the nation; Reference to Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.12.07) reports the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey has fulfilled reforms in the recent years in democratization that can be qualified as revolution.

    In his address to the nation from the TV channels, Erdogan said Turkey gained acquisitions in 2007, a very important election was held on July 22nd. Turkish democracy succeeded a very difficult examination.

    Erdogan recalled that Parliament elected Abdullah Gul as the 11th President of the Turkish Republic, indicating that the nation in a referendum approved constitutional amendment package on October 21st.

    According to the adopted amendment, President of the Republic will be elected by popular vote for a period of 4 years and the elected president can run for a second term. Also, general elections will be held every four years instead of five.

    Underscoring that he wanted to make a general assessment of 2007, Erdogan said the government was in an effort to eliminate the terrorist organization that attacks on the unity and integrity of Turkey.

    He said, we are trying to cut social, logistic, financial and psychological support of the terrorist organization as a whole," and recalled that government authorized Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) for cross-border operations as of November 28th.

    Erdogan said cross-border operations only intended camps of the terrorist organization in north of Iraq, we have never assumed a hostile stance against the friendly Iraqi people. Turkey has always been one of the countries supporting territorial integrity, national unity, tranquility and stability of Iraq the most. It should be very well known that we have no other intention but to secure the life and property, unity and integrity of our nation.

    Erdogan said: The Turkish government carried out very intensive diplomacy traffic to eliminate terror and to explain Turkey's rightfulness. Turkey, which has been left alone so far unfortunately, for the first time managed to find a strong support from the world in its fight against terrorism. Regional countries, the Middle East countries, the United States and the European Union (EU) started to side Turkey in its rightful combat. We will continue to be firm to use all political, military, diplomatic, social and economic means in this process.Erdogan said investment to the Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia since 2003 amounted to 8.4 billion YTL, indicating that investments of particularly the private sector and foreign capital will boost after the difficulties caused by terrorism diminish.

    During his speech, Erdogan commented on economic indicators as well.He said all indicators showed that 2007 was a year of achievements for Turkey and that Turkey was ranked the 17th among 180 countries regarding its national income level and it became the 6th biggest economy in Europe.We try hard to equally reflect the improvement achieved in macroeconomic balances to all regions of our country. We desire all our citizens in every village, town and city to benefit from economic growth and to feel the improvement, he said.

    Regarding Turkey's foreign policy, Erdogan said Turkey's power, influence and prestige in the international arena reached the peak point.

    Today, Turkey is a respectable member of the international community, which gives advice, sets the agenda, contributes to global peace and stability and leads the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, he said.

    Although we are faced with obstacles and injustice from time to time, we carry on with our negotiations with EU in a determined way, he added.Erdogan also said Cyprus was still a prior issue for Turkey. He said that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was recognized and accepted in many international platforms thanks to Turkey's diplomatic efforts.Erdogan said 2007 was an intense year for Turkey in terms of diplomacy traffic as well.

    He said Turkey became the rotating president of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), hosted the international conference on Iraq and 7th Ankara Forum meeting in 2007.

    Moreover, he said that Turkey expressed its strong support for the peace efforts in the Middle East by welcoming Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in capital Ankara.

    The determination regarding EU adhesion process will continue in 2008, Erdogan said.

    On the other hand, Erdogan said the targets for 2008 were a growth rate of at least 5.5 percent, a per capital income of 7,000 USD, preservation of peace and stability and the full establishment of security.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (30.12.07) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan stated that the TRNC has come to the situation of being recognized. The paper reports the following: Turkeys Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, noting that Cyprus continues to be at a priority position in their external policy, said: With the diplomatic efforts we have carried out, the TRNC has today come to a situation of being recognized, of being accepted at many international platforms. In parallel to this, with our joint efforts, the TRNC economy has grown significantly and in the past four years it grew by 50 %.

    [03] Yonluer says he will try to bring investors from ICO countries to the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (31.12.07) reports that Ahmet Yonluer has been elected chairman of the Politics for the People (HIS) party. In a statement issued by HIS, Mr Yonluer argued that his party was established to serve the people and expressed the belief that the party will grow every day.

    Mr Yonluer said that HIS will attach importance to the contacts abroad and that its priority will be the EU, but it will not ignore the countries of the Islamic Conference Organization (ICO). He noted that they will try to bring investors from ICO countries to the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] The new social security law is entering into force

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.12.07) reports that the new so-called Social Security law will enter into effect as of 1 January 2008. The law was adopted by the self-styled assembly last July and published in the official gazette on the condition of entering into force on 1 January.

    According to the Social Security law, a contribution for nine thousand days and the completion of the 60th year of age is required for taking a pension. Those who contribute for five thousand and four hundred days will have the right to get a reduced pension after their 63rd year of age.

    There are also special arrangements for the persons with special needs, who will be able to acquire a health card in case they contribute for a certain period. The self-styled minister of labour and social insurances, Sonay Adem called on the young people and the persons with special needs who are currently working to opt for the new law. The law encompasses everybody who will begin to work as of 1 January. The other workers are free to close between the old and the new system.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] The majority of the prisoners in the central prisons in the occupied areas come from Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.12.07) reports that the central prison in the occupied areas of Cyprus is full and the personnel are insufficient. Problems are caused because of the fact that the number of the convicted and arrested persons is much above the capacity of the prison. In spite of the fact that the prison had been built with the capacity of 200 persons, according to the population of the occupied part of the island, the number of the prisoners is currently around 420.

    The paper notes that 197 persons work in the prisons and that the number of the guards is 172. These people, adds Kibris, work under difficult conditions and their life is in danger. The paper reports that the majority of the prisoners are citizens of Turkey (125). The number of the TRNC citizens is 112, while 12 citizens of other countries are kept in the prison in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Opening of Turkeys ports to the Greek Cypriot sector does not mean recognition

    Under the front page title Opening of Turkeys ports to the Greek Cypriot sector does not mean recognition, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.12.07) reports that the Chairman of the Turkey EU Office, Professor Dr. Haluk Gunugur, answering questions to Ankara Anatolia on his assessments regarding the relations of Turkey with the EU during 2008, stated that Turkeys ports could be opened to the Greek Cypriot vessels, since in the terms of international law, this does not mean recognition of the Greek Cypriot sector and presented Taiwan as an example.

    Dr. Gunugur inter alia stated: Turkeys EU relations in 2007 can not be evaluated without having knowledge of what has happened in the end of 2006. ... If the lack of political will is lifted, meaning a change in Sarkozys views, if the Cyprus problem is solved, if Turkey opens its ports to the Greek Cypriot vessels and if the EU has nothing to say, this issue (Tr. Note: Turkeys accession to the EU) can not be completed before 2015. Unfortunately therefore, I expect nothing in 2008.

    [07] Kibrisli publishes more information on the Dome Hotel

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (30.12.07) reports that it is slowly being revealed who are behind Ozan Ceyhun, German former member of the European Parliament of Turkish origin, who plans to buy the Dome Hotel and the Dome Casino worth 20 million dollars at low price.

    According to information acquired by Kibrisli, it is not true that behind Mr Ceyhun are German businessmen and German Social Democrats, as he had stated to the Turkish Cypriot press.

    It has been known that Ceyhun is acting with the capital of Haydar Aygoren, businessman who is active in Germany, notes the paper invoking sources from Berlin. Mr Aygoren is mainly active in the Media Sector. He is the major shareholder of Su TV and administrates the Aygoren Alaouite Associations. The paper adds: It is said that Ceyhun who has bargained with the government for sectors such as tourism and citrus fruits, trusts the capital of Haydar Aygoren. Furthermore, it is alleged that Ceyhun and Aygoren are making plans for a television station which will broadcast in the TRNC.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Yeni Duzen on the number of the persons who pay social insurances

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (30.12.07) reports that as a result of the measures taken by the self-styled ministry of labour and social insurances, the number of the persons who are actively insured increased to 72.385. According to data acquired for November 2006, the number of the active insured persons were 65.689. In November 2007 this number increased to 72.385.

    From 19 February 2007, when the new law for granting work permits to foreigners entered into force, until 31 October 2007, the ministry renewed 17.318 work permits, 5 work permits for students and 86 permits for establishing a business. Within the period 1 October 2006 31 September 2007 5592 working places were inspected and 769 illegal workers were tracked down. Lawsuits against 40 employers have been prepared.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] The Turks and Greeks cannot live together

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (30.12.07) reports that in statements to journalist Namzi Pinar of the private Genc TV television, Mr Ozdemir Ozgur, has argued that the Greek Cypriots are responsible for the Cyprus problem and added that the time and the realities have justified the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas. Alleging that the Greek Cypriots were trying to turn the Turkish Cypriots into a minority by amending 13 articles of the Constitution in 1963, he added:

    The Greeks and the Turks cannot live together, because they have cultural differences. The Greeks act only according to their ideology. The Turks act based more on the regime, the rules and the power. Even if the Greeks and the Turks establish together a state, this state will be demolished before long time passes, because the Greek ideology and the cultural differences do not allow this. I do not like the situation in the south. After the elections in the south I will decide. I will either settle in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus or in Turkey.

    The paper notes that Mr Ozgur, whom it describes collaborator of the Greeks, is a son of the brother of late Dr. Ihsan Ali, lives in the free areas of the island since 1963, that he served in the diplomatic service of the Republic of Cyprus in duties against the Turkish Cypriot people and that he supported the United Cyprus. At last he saw the realities, claims Volkan.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] The Turkish National Security Council assesses the results of the cross-border operation in N. Iraq

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.12.07) reports the following from Ankara:

    The successful operations --which Turkish security forces stage in the north of Iraq against terrorist organization-- will be pursued (if necessary) with determination, stated National Security Council (MGK) after its meeting in Ankara on Friday.

    MGK members discussed the results of cross-border operation which was staged against terrorist organization in the north of Iraq by Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) within the scope of the motion adopted at Turkish Parliament as well as the authority given by the government.

    It was stated that the operation targets only terrorist organization; and civil settlement areas were not harmed, while terrorist organization had heavy casualties and its communication and supply system was significantly destroyed. Measures about diplomatic, economic, social and other dimensions of fight against terrorism were discussed too in the meeting.

    MGK members also took up recent developments in Iraq, while reaffirming the importance attached to territorial integrity and political unity of Iraq.

    [11] Turkish Trade centres to be established to major trading countries

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.12.07) reports the following from Adana:

    Turkish State Minister Kursad Tuzmen said on Saturday that they aimed to support and strengthens exporters in international markets in order to provide a sustainable exports performance.

    Tuzmen said they aimed to establish "Turkish Trade Centers" in countries with big markets within this framework.

    M.Naim Yalcinel, owner of an Adana-based company and member of Justice and Development (AK) Party's provincial organization, sent a letter to Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, State Minister Kursad Tuzmen and commercial counsellors of Turkish embassies, suggesting the establishment of Turkish Trade Centres in foreign countries.

    Tuzmen, in his written reply to Yalcinel's letter, said that Turkey should carry out effective promotion and marketing activities in order to have a lasting position in all markets to which it exported goods.

    As a first step, we aim to establish Turkish trade centres in countries like China, Russia, United States and India which have big markets, Tuzmen said.

    [12] Turkeys friend Slovenia to take over EU presidency

    Under the above title Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (31.12.07) reports the following:

    Slovenia, which is known to be a supporter of Turkey's full European Union membership, will tomorrow take over the EU's rotating presidency from Portugal.

    Yet, taking into consideration the fact that Slovenia will have to work in close cooperation with Paris, which will assume the term presidency from Ljubljana in the second half of 2008, the Slovenian capital may well have a hard time in making progress with Turkey's EU bid due to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's policy of steadfast opposition to the full membership of Turkey.

    Sarkozy opposes Turkey's membership in the EU, saying the predominantly Muslim country whose territory mostly lies in Asia does not belong to Europe. Instead, he said Turkey should lead a group of Mediterranean countries that have close ties with the EU. Sarkozy's proposal for grouping countries of the Mediterranean rim in a so-called Mediterranean union is to be set in motion at a Paris summit in July. Presented as a bridge between Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the Mediterranean union has also been seen as an alternative to Turkish membership in the EU, an idea which is fiercely rejected by Ankara.

    Last Saturday, Slovenia's New Leftist president, Danilo Turk, took the oath of office and vowed to work with the center-right premier to ensure smooth foreign relations as the country takes over the rotating EU presidency. Only two days before taking the oath, Turk, in an interview with the Euro news television channel, lent clear support to Turkey's EU bid, saying Turkey's accession would be a key factor in increasing the union's global credibility.

    We have to think strategically about common foreign and security policy. And in that context we need to have clarity with regard to accession of Turkey to the European Union. What does the European Union want globally? How does it relate to major areas of crisis and potential wealth such as the Middle East, where Turkey is an immediate neighbor, Turk said. When asked whether his remarks meant he was in favor of Turkey's EU bid, Turk confirmed: Yes! Personally yes. Europe has to figure out what it wants to be globally. And I think a Europe with Turkey will be much more important globally.

    Earlier this month, in what appeared to be open defiance of Paris, the EU opened two more chapters for Turkey's accession to the 27-member club, sending out strong signals in support of Turkey's full membership ambition. Then, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said he hoped two or three more chapters could be open during the Slovenian EU presidency in the first half of 2008, despite noting that he was concerned over the "political atmospherics" in EU-Turkey relations, in apparent reference to Sarkozy's stance, which has angered Ankara.

    Turkey began accession talks with the EU in October 2005, but progress has been very slow; Ankara had previously begun work on only four chapters out of a total of 35 and has provisionally completed just one of them to date. The EU also decided last year to block eight chapters connected with the bloc's customs union, due to Ankara's refusal to allow Greek Cypriot ships and planes to enter its ports and airports.

    In 2007 the Turkish government has had to devote much time to a constitutional crisis and domestic debates surrounding escalated terrorist attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) based in northern Iraq.

    While handling the domestic debates and pressure over the timing of a military action against the PKK, having talks with world leaders abroad and at home on the foreign policy front in the name of public diplomacy in preparation for a justifiable military action inside Iraq has also been a heavy weight on the government's shoulders.

    Releasing an annual progress report on Turkey in November, Rehn said that Turkey must make "significant further efforts" on freedom of expression and religion to move forward in its bid for EU entry now that it has overcome a constitutional crisis. The commissioner displayed understanding and sympathy toward the Turkish government's handling of the crisis over the election of Abdullah Gul as president in the face of a months-long confrontation with the hyper-secularist establishment, with the military threatening to intervene when Gul was first nominated for the post late in April. Nonetheless, the commission warned Ankara that it must now renew the momentum of reforms, which had slowed since 2005.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [13] Highlights from Turkish Press of 28, 29 and 30 December 2007

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish Press of 28, 29 and 30 December assessing the repercussions of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto:

    In an article entitled "Butto's death and importance of secularism," in Milliyet (28.12.07) columnist Fikret Bila says that Bhutto's assassination might have diminished the chances of implementing a US-backed formula intended to ensure that a government to be led by Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif would be formed in Pakistan after the upcoming general election while Pervez Musharraf would serve as a 'civil' president. Pointing out that the purpose of this formula was to prevent radical fundamentalists from coming to power and thus controlling Pakistan's nuclear weapons, Bila comments: "It is difficult to say that the United States should not be blamed for the increasing likelihood of that possibility which it regards as the biggest threat. The 'Green Belt Project,' its support for the Taliban in response to the Russian occupation, and its attempts to redesign politics by using religion has created a radical group which cannot be controlled and it has become a serious threat to the United States in both Pakistan and Afghanistan."

    In an article entitled "Hopes were also sacrificed with Bhutto," in Milliyet (28.12.07) columnist Sami Kohen says that Bhutto was the victim of her courage, adding that peace, stability, and democratic future of Pakistan were also undermined as a result of her assassination. Noting that Bhutto was probably assassinated by one of the radical groups, Kohen predicts that the forthcoming general elections will be called off and President Musharraf may declare state of emergency again in order to prevent possible civil strife and chaos. He says: "If democracy in Pakistan is derailed and the country is thrown into chaos as a result of Bhutto's assassination, it would also deliver a serious blow to the United States which has assigned a key role to that country in its regional strategy."

    In an article entitled "Pakistan's irony," in Sabah (28.12.07) columnist Muharrem Sarikaya says that Benazir Butto whom he describes as a secular, modern, and well-educated stateswoman, was assassinated like some other politicians in Pakistan which, he notes, was once the most modern country in the region. Sarikaya says that political situation in the country changed radically after the United States decided to support the Taliban in Afghanistan against Russians which, he says, allowed radical Islamist groups in Pakistan to control the military and dominate liberal and secular groups. He comments: "An alliance between the military, liberals, and secularists could not be formed despite all efforts and radical fundamentalists managed to kill Benazir Bhutto too."

    In an article entitled "Benazir: the girl from the East," in Referans (28.12.07) columnist Cengiz Candar says that Benazir Bhutto had returned to Pakistan after reaching a compromise with Musharraf in order to switch to democracy and to launch a joint campaign against Taliban and Al-Qa'ida as a result of efforts which were also supported by the United States. He comments: "We know that the upcoming general election scheduled for 8 January which she would probably won will probably be postponed. We also know that her opposition to military rule and pro-secular stance were the hallmarks of her political identity. But, nobody can predict what will happen in the future."

    In an article entitled "Goodbye democracy, goodbye stability, goodbye Bhutto," in Vatan (28.12.07) columnist Rusen Cakir views possible consequences of Bhutto's assassination, including ethnic strife, destabilization of Pakistan, and armed conflicts in the region. Stressing that Bhutto's assassination was detrimental to US interest and beneficial to radical Islamists, he notes: "This assassination may have been carried out by some radical Islamist groups which are directly or indirectly linked to the Taliban and/or Al-Qa'ida or some 'invisible groups." In fact, it does not matter because a Pandora's box has been opened irrespective of the identity of the assassins and their motives."

    In an article entitled "Scenario becomes reality, US soldiers to enter Pakistan", Yeni Safak (28.12.07) columnist Ibrahim Karagul argues that the killing of Benazir Bhutto has created the right conditions to implement a scenario entailing the deployment of US troops to Pakistan to prevent anti-US forces in Pakistan from taking advantage of President Musharraf's possible loss of control and the chaos that would ensue to seize control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

    In an article in Hurriyet (29.12.07), Cengiz Candar quotes from an article in the Washington Post written by Pakistani writer Ahmad Rashid in connection with Benazir Bhutto's assassination and legacy. Candar agrees with Rashid that the plot was organized by military circles whose intelligence has close and traditional ties with the Taliban. Viewing the ill-fated geographic area Pakistan finds itself in, Candar warns Turkey that it has very important lessons to draw from Bhutto's tragic end. "The first is to keep a strong grasp on secularism and democracy," he stresses, "in other words, to close the door irreversibly on the idea of a military administration." He goes on: "Military administrations create terrorism in this part of the world. People begin to believe that only a military administration can defeat terrorism, whereas... a country clamped by the spiral of a military administration or terrorism becomes part of the ill-fated geography, and in such countries, people like Benazir Bhutto lose the right to live, even if it is at the expense of darkening the future of tens of millions of people."

    Writing in Cumhuriyet (29.12.07), Bahadir Selim Dilek maintains that the assassination "will strengthen the Islamists and pave the ground for a US intervention in Pakistan." In his report/commentary, Dilek recalls that in a statement to Cumhuriyet three weeks ago, Pakistan's Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz had said, "the United States is using the strengthening of the radical Islamists as a pretext for intervention in Pakistan

    In his commentary also in Cumhuriyet (29.12.07), Mustafa Balbay agrees that the United States is involved in the developments and charges that the assassination is part of a US plan for the region.

    In his commentary in Ortadogu (29.12.07), Seyfi Sahin views the assassination in Pakistan, saying: "Ten years ago, a CIA report had said: There will be internal turmoil and ethnic conflicts in Pakistan and Turkey." The columnist predicts internal turmoil in Pakistan in the wake of Benazir Bhutto's assassination, adding, "Pakistan, the only Islamic country possessing nuclear power, will not be able to pull itself up easily. The West and the Christians who rule the world can now dance with joy. May God protect Turkey from such disasters and intrigues (amen). Turkey must be careful."

    In his editorial in Radikal (29.12.07), Ismet Berkan airs similar concerns about Turkey, but fearing radical Islamists and not the West. Analyzing the assassination and the political situation in Pakistan, Berkan recalls the assassinations of pro-democracy and secular journalists Ugur Mumcu, Abdi Ipekci, and Cetin Emec. He concludes by saying: "I hope that we will not end up like Pakistan."

    In an article entitled "An assassination and various scenarios," in Yeni Safak (29.12.07) columnist Fehmi Koru says that it could be wrong to blame Bhutto's assassination on the Islamist parties in Pakistan, adding that those who are eager to spot the mastermind of the assassination should view the picture from a broader angle. Pointing out that the assassination has caused Pakistan to enter a difficult period, Koru comments: "A plan intended to ensure a smooth transition to democracy which also involved Bhutto has been effectively shelved as a result of the assassination. People who are in favour of ruling the country with an iron fist will now speak louder. Formulas will be proposed for establishing a powerful government which would be more authoritarian than Pervez Musharraf. Bhutto's assassination was an incident which will also affect Turkey."

    In an article entitled "Benazir: the East's nuclear girl", in Vakit (29.12.07) columnist Sibel Eraslan asserts that the United States advised Bhutto to return to her country in order to prevent Pakistan's nuclear arsenal from falling into the hands of an Islamist government. Drawing attention to reports that the United States will send its troops to Pakistan or seize power, Eraslan comments: "More radical steps are expected in Pakistan which already looks like a US military base. Thus, Afghanistan's invasion and Islamic resistance in the country will be stabilized again."

    In an article entitled "They have assassinated Benazir too," in Vakit (29.12.07) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak argues that Bhutto's assassination may be blamed on Al-Qa'ida in order to conceal the real mastermind of the attack. He says: "It is mostly impossible to discover secret relations in such cases. We should not only focus on the person who has pulled the trigger."

    In an article entitled "Chaos in Pakistan stems from Afghanistan" in Zaman (29.12.07) columnist Abdulhamit Bilici says that a large part of the problems currently facing Pakistan resulted from a drastic change in its policy toward Afghanistan after 9/11. Pointing out that Pakistan supported the Taliban which the United States regards as an enemy because they shelter Al-Qa'ida and later changed its policy in response to a US ultimatum, Bilici comments: "But, the United States cannot shirk its responsibility by putting the blame on Pakistan because the United States was involved in the process during both Soviet invasion and the Taliban case."

    In an article entitled "The military and the government in Pakistan" in Zaman (29.12.07) columnist Sahin Alpay points out that the military will continue to rule Pakistan because it is closely intertwined with the government and plays a significant role in the national economy which, he notes, is regarded as the biggest obstacle to the democratization of Pakistan.

    In an article entitled "Target of the Bhutto assassination," in Today's Zaman (29.12.07) columnist Beril Dedeoglu writes about Bhutto's assassination and the political situation in Pakistan. She says: "Within this political context, everyone is under suspicion in the killing of Bhutto. However, even if the bullets struck Bhutto, the real target was apparently Musharraf. Bhutto has always said that the Pakistani "deep state" has been trying to get rid of her. That is why today, everyone looks at the government as the perpetrator of this act. Maybe Islamists had planned this assassination in order to put Musharraf in this troublesome position; perhaps radicals killed her because she was too pro-Western in their eyes. If Pakistan doesn't come to terms with the reasons for this crime and determine its perpetrators, it will not be able to legitimately talk about democracy in the years to come.

    Under the headline "America wants chaos in the region," Milli Gazete (29.12.07) carries a front-page report which highlights riots in Pakistan and says that the United States has given a fresh momentum to its policy designed to cause chaos in order to pave the way for a military intervention in Pakistan.

    In an article entitled "An obvious plot", in Milli Gazete (29.12.07) columnist Huseyin Altinalan points out that the United States urged the United Nations to intervene in Pakistan on the grounds that radical groups could control its nuclear weapons which he describes as the first step to prepare the ground for Pakistan's occupation through the United Nations. He says: "The international community should not remain indifferent to this move made by the United States and not permit Pakistan's direct or indirect invasion by the United States because it would cause humanity to face new tragedies."

    In his column in Vatan (30.12.07) under the title: "Who killed Bhutto?," Yigit Bulut asserts that her demise will only help the present "pro-American" regime in Pakistan, thus making it possible for the United States to "settle" in Pakistan, as it settled in Iraq. In trying to establish a link between the developments in Pakistan and American rapprochement with Turkey, the columnist says the United States, faced with competition from the Russian-Indian-Iranian-Chinese axis that has supplanted the Islamic terrorism as a new threat for Americans, has finally realized that it cannot control the Middle East without Turkey's help and that is why it readily abandoned its project for a Kurdish state. This, the columnist believes, has left the Kurds defenseless against the Turkish Army, as a result terrorism will soon come to an end. Bulut wonders if under the new "dialectical" global change Turkey should side with the United States or the Russian-Indian-Iranian-Chinese bloc, arguing that Turkey should not blindly tie itself to the EU, as the new period has given the Turks the opportunity to play global "chess" and manipulate those who now feel forced to curry Turkey's favor.

    Commenting on Pakistan's strategic location between Central Asia and Middle East, Ferai Tinc argues in her column in Hurriyet (30.12.07) under the title: "Equilibrium between Islam and soldiers" that Pakistan is one of the unlucky actors in the "Great game." After stressing Pakistan's close ties with Turkey, Tinc believes what approach Turkey will take is going to influence the developments in Pakistan. She believes Turkey and Pakistan still play an important role for the "West," this time the United States wants to use them against radical Islam it once supported against the Soviet Union. But, she adds, the murder of Benezir Bhutto, who returned to Pakistan at the insistence of the United States, has now deepened the deadlock between the radical Islam and the military in Pakistan, and the solution of that problem will occupy the agenda of 2008.

    In an article entitled "Pakistan is not like us" in Yeni Safak (30.12.07) columnist Fehmi Koru criticizes the way in which the assassination of Benazir Bhutto has been attributed to the "usual suspects," "radical Islamists" and Al-Qa'ida. He claims that although it is possible that such an act could be carried out by fundamentalist groups, Islamist militants would have to enjoy the strong support of certain quarters to be able to commit an assassination of this sort. He also objects to the comparisons drawn between Pakistan and Turkey in the wake of the Bhutto murder and argues that what is going on in Pakistan has nothing to do with religion, religious affairs, and secularism.

    In a commentary in Yeni Safak (30.12.07) entitled "Chaos to be solved by Pakistanis themselves", Bekir Cinar, an expert on security and terrorism with the London-based Social Studies Center, calls attention to what he describes as a Western plan to bring Bhutto to power in order to prevent Al-Qa'ida from seizing control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons and asserts that the killing of Bhutto is a message by the "rejection front" in Pakistan to the international community as well as to the Pakistani people that no Western projects that do not meet with the approval of Pakistan's own political players can be carried out.

    In an article entitled "Novo ordo seclorum or from Al-Sulaymaniyah to Pakistan" in Vakit (30.12.07) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that "chaos is good for the United States" as seen in the way it allowed the Bush administration to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq and looks set to enable it to send troops to Pakistan. He argues that "the United States has no friends but only interests" and seeks confirmation of this idea in the various signs, symbols, and words on the one hundred dollar bill.

    In an article entitled "The Bhutto assassination and the fate of Islamic countries", in Vakit (30.12.07) columnist Suleyman Arif Emre argues that the "big crisis" triggered by the killing of Benazir Bhutto has provided "racist imperialists, Zionists, and Evangelicals" with a new opportunity to carry out certain expansionist designs against Islamic countries.

    In an article entitled "Before someone comes to 'Democratize' them", in Zaman (30.12.07) Professor Beril Dedeoglu of Galatasaray University argues that the Bhutto assassination could be a bid to create the impression that Pakistani President Musharraf has been unsuccessful in his mission to obstruct radical Islamist groups and terrorism. She also claims that unless it turns into a more transparent, equitable, and prosperous country, the chaos in Pakistan could assume the form of a "black hole" pulling in other regional players.

    Under the headline, "Who hit Bhutto?" Milli Gazete (30.12.07) publishes a front-page report which asserts that the killing of Bhutto is primarily in the interests of the United States. The report also claims that according to "political analysts," it is a "strong possibility" that Bhutto was assassinated so as to enable the United States to achieve greater control over Pakistan.

    In an article entitled "Put the blame on Al-Qa'ida", Milli Gazete (30.12.07) columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan objects to commentaries linking the Bhutto assassination to Al-Qa'ida and asserts that the entire world is aware of how the United States is using Al-Qa'ida as a "scapegoat" in carrying out its plans regarding the Islamic world. Ozkan also claims that the same forces responsible for the crash of former Pakistani leader Zia-ul-Haq's plane may have engineered the killing of Bhutto.

    EG/


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