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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-01-02

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.1/08 01-02.01.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Senior Turkish government official on Turkey´s foreign policy in 2008
  • [02] Afrika: Hello to 2008 from the hostages of Turkey in Cyprus
  • [03] Turkish Cypriot political parties refer to their expectations for 2008
  • [04] More statements on the issue of leasing Greek Cypriot-owned occupied Dome Hotel
  • [05] More illegal immigrants arrive in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [06] Turkish Official on the defense projects of 2008
  • [07] The Turkish General Staff on the countries violating Turkeys territorial waters and air space
  • [08] Turkeys population compared to the most populated countries of the world
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [09] From the Turkish Press of 31 December 2007 and 1 January 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Senior Turkish government official on Turkey´s foreign policy in 2008

    Under the title:Government to expand its foreign policy zone Today´s Zaman newspaper (01.01.08) reports the following:

    The European Union membership bid and the turmoil in Iraq -- not only because of the presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a direct threat to Turkey, but also due to its significant negative impact on regional stability -- are set to maintain their dominant places on the Turkish government's foreign policy agenda this year.

    Nonetheless, the government will apparently also intensify its efforts for expanding the zone of its foreign policy agenda.

    The general democratization and civilianization trend will continue, a senior governmental official, who asked not to be named, told Today's Zaman on Monday when asked about the fate of further EU reforms planned by the government of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) for this year.

    There is no need to create an expectation for a substantial upturn in relations with the EU, nor is there need for concern over a major decline, the senior official, however, added.

    The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, reported no significant progress in Turkey's bid to join throughout 2007. The government remained surprisingly reluctant to amend an infamous article of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), namely Article 301, and to take other reform steps that Brussels has been waiting for more than a year, such as amendments to expand property rights for Turkey's non-Muslim minorities.

    Only a few days ahead of the New Year, an amendment to Article 301 has been completed for submission to Parliament in a few weeks. The government has decided to require lawyers seeking to file lawsuits in connection with Article 301 to obtain permission before proceeding with the case. Previously permission was granted by the minister of justice, whereas under the new amendment a joint commission will be in charge of granting this permission.

    According to the same senior official, one shouldn't link Turkey's EU reform process issue only to an assumed lassitude on the Turkish side.

    A considerable slowdown in the process is closely related to suspension of eight chapters due to the Cyprus issue. And without having the Greek Cypriot presidential elections held in February, it is not realistic to expect any significant change in parameters concerning the Cyprus issue, the official said.

    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 PKK based in northern Iraq. In the last few months of 2007 Foreign Minister Ali Babacan paid several visits to countries in the region in order to explain Turkey's justifiable cause in launching a cross-border operation into northern Iraq.

    Iraq will naturally be a top item on the government's agenda in 2008, the official said, noting that the US presidential campaigns may well have certain implications concerning Turkey's place in domestic debates in the United States but saying that this will not change the current improvement in Turkey-US relations and the ongoing cooperation against the PKK presence in northern Iraq.

    Nevertheless, looking at the government's foreign policy agenda for the year 2008, one should take note of and pay heed to the fact that we will focus on new zones including Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Balkans, the official stressed, underlining the government's interest in improving bilateral ties with the Central Asian nations in the field of energy transportation as well as Ankara's close interest in the ongoing turmoil over the future status of Kosovo.

    It will not be challenging in particular for us, but it will be challenging in general for the entire international community since the issue may well force the balances in the Balkans, the official also said when asked whether Turkey could have particular difficulty in dealing with the issue since many analysts made various connections between the Kosovo issue and the status of the Turkish Cypriots and the status of northern Iraqi Kurds.

    Turkey's Africa initiative will gain acceleration within 2008, the official noted, bringing to mind the fact that the year 2005 was commemorated as the Year of Africa in Turkey and that a series of high-level visits with the countries of the continent were realized as a matter of priority during the year.

    [02] Afrika: Hello to 2008 from the hostages of Turkey in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (01.01.08) refers to the coming of the New Year under the title Hello to 2008 from the hostages of Turkey in Cyprus and points out that no solution [to the Cyprus problem] was found, Cyprus was not united, the Lokmaci [Ledra street crossing point] was not opened, the euro was not accepted, the army was not withdrawn, Varosha was not saved, the flow of population to the north was not stopped and this country did not became ours in 2007.

    The paper reports that addressing the last meeting of the assembly in 2007, the MP of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP), Mustafa Akinci said that 2007 was not a very positive year for the Turkish Cypriots. Speaking at the same meeting, the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer said that they want the opposition parties to participate in the deliberations of the assembly and reminded the National Unity Party (UBP) and the Democratic Party (DP) of their responsibilities towards the people.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Turkish Cypriot political parties refer to their expectations for 2008

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (01.01.08) reports that in an exclusive interview to the reporter of the paper, Mr Sefa Karahasan, the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer reminded that some circles have been saying that the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and its former leader, Mehmet Ali Talat are traitors of the country and that they will sell out the country if they come to power. Mr Soyer noted that Mr Talat and the CTP have come to power but neither the country was sold out nor treason took place.

    Mr Soyer said that 2007 has been a year with gains for the Turkish Cypriots and added: We will strengthen these gains further in 2008. Mr Soyer noted that in 2007 some very important foundations on which we will be based in 2008 from the point of view of the Cyprus problem were experienced. He argued that the letter of the European Commission regarding the sea journeys between occupied Famagusta port and Latakia and the acceptance of the Turkish Cypriot lawsuit by a British court regarding the issue of the direct flights are included in these developments. He said that the journeys to Latakia will continue, in spite of the efforts of the Greek Cypriots.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.01.08) publishes the evaluations of representatives of the opposition parties for 2007. According to the paper the chairmen of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP) and the National Unity Party (UBP) Mehmet Cakici and Tahsin Ertugruloglu respectively, as well as the general secretary of the Democratic Party (DP), Ertugrul Hasipoglu expressed their wish for early elections in 2008. They argued that the New Year will bring no change with the current leadership and government.

    Kibris reports also that in a message on the occasion of the New Year, Mrs Fatma Ekenoglu, speaker of the self-styled assembly, has said that the Turkish Cypriots have struggled with all their power for the lifting of the so-called isolations and added that they continue their struggle in 2008. She pointed out that their relations have been intensified with international organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union, the Islamic Conference Organization and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and with countries such as Germany and Britain.

    Furthermore, Kibris writes that in a message on the occasion of the New Year, Ata Tepe, chairman of the Nationalist Justice Party (MAP), has said that the opposition parties should participate in the fist session of the assembly in 2008 and struggle in the assembly for early elections in 2008.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (01.01.08) reports that Ahmet Yonluer, chairman of the Politics for the People (HIS) party, issued a statement expressing the wishes of the party to the Turkish Cypriots for New Year. In his message, Mr Yonluer argued that 2007 has not been a very encouraging year for the people of the TRNC. He noted that the policies for 2008 do not promise hope as well. He alleged that economic crisis is at the door. Mr Yonluer called on the people not to lose hope and argued that early elections are near.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] More statements on the issue of leasing Greek Cypriot-owned occupied Dome Hotel

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (01.01.08) reports that the Tourism Labourers Trade Union (TES) and the employees of Dome Hotel have unanimously decided that they are interested in becoming a partner in the hotel, if a partner is necessary. In a written statement issued recently, the chairman of TES, Bayram Karaman notes that they were surprised by the reaction of Mr Ozan Ceyhun, German of Turkish origin former member of the European Parliament.

    The reaction of the above-mentioned person explains sufficiently his goal, he added. Mr Karaman argued that the hotel is a property of the Turkish Cypriot people, who have the right to know the developments regarding the hotel.

    He said, inter alia, the following: I have found out about the situation at a meeting arranged by the Evkaf [religious foundation] Administration with the above-mentioned person. I have evaluated the issue with my colleagues, the administrators of the trade union, within the framework of the information I acquired. I have submitted to the public our view that there could be no justified reason for the hotel to change hands and that it should not be privatized. We have unanimously taken a decision at a meeting with all the employees of Dome Hotel. If a partner is needed we are also here. .

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (01.01.08) reports that Hasan Tacoy, MP of the National Unity Party (UBP) and head of the party organization in Nicosia, has said that the efforts by Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), to cover up incidents of abuse of authority and bribery are unacceptable. In his statement, Mr Tacoy referred to the issue of the Dome Hotel and called on the attorney general and the government accounting bureau to carry out their duty.

    He argued that it has been revealed with all its starkness what kind of a system the CTP wishes for and its subservient the [Freedom and Reform Party] OP, which turn a blind eye to the illegal constructions, give away the industrial areas and the hotels to their supporters, distribute privileges in return of bribery and within a few years they have created a squat of wealthy people.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] More illegal immigrants arrive in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak television (01.01.08) broadcast the following:

    Twenty seven (27) illegal immigrants of Iraqi and Syrian origin were arrested last night while trying to enter illegally into the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    The immigrants were arrested by the police in a raid carried out in the Bahceler [occupied Pervolia Trikomou] area located on the Gazimagusa-Karpaz [occupied Famagusta-Karpas] last night.

    The 7 Iraqis and 20 Syrian refugees were caught hiding in a van.

    Police say the persons had entered with the assistance of a 22 year-old Iranian national. Another person believed to be connected with the incident was also arrested by police.

    Police is continuing its investigations into the incident.

    [06] Turkish Official on the defense projects of 2008

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (31.12.07) reports the following from Ankara:

    Defence Industry Undersecretary Murad Bayar said Monday air defence systems and submarine projects would be the biggest projects in 2008.

    Next year, we will focus on national production that will strengthen Turkish defence industry, Bayar told the A.A.

    Air defence project includes low, medium and long range missile systems for the defence of naval, land and air forces compounds and units, and for regional defence.

    The project aims at utmost use and development of national capabilities.

    The defence Industry will also run a project to produce a new type submarine, which will be built by national assets and capabilities.

    [07] The Turkish General Staff on the countries violating Turkeys territorial waters and air space

    Under the title Greece tops list of neighbours in violations, Turkish daily Todays Zaman (02.01.08) reports the following:

    Data from the General Staff has revealed that Greece violated Turkish territorial waters some 72 times in 2007, far more than other neighbouring countries.

    The data shows that Turkish territorial waters were violated just one time each by Syria and Georgia in the same year. On February 27, a Georgian coast guard boat violated Turkish territorial waters in the Black Sea. On May 7, a Syrian fishing boat violated the territorial waters near Karatas Bay in the Mediterranean.

    As for the Greek violations in the Aegean, the data shows that an overwhelming majority of breaches have taken place near the Kardak Islands, an uninhabited area which brought Turkey and Greece to the brink of war in the last decade. Some 50 violations involving Greek coast guard boats and fishing boats have been recorded by the General Staff near the Kardak Islands.

    Almost all of the violations near the Kardak Islands took place in the winter months; there were 14 violations in January and 32 in December. Last month, the Turkish Foreign Ministry delivered a diplomatic note to Greece to protest the growing number of violations in the Aegean.

    Turkey and Greece are at loggerheads over territorial rights in the Aegean, sparking mutual accusations of violations of air space and the territorial waters from both countries and frequent dog fighting between their jet fighters. In 2007, Greek military aircraft violated Turkish air space over the Aegean 56 times. Throughout the same period, Turkish air space was violated once by Syria on April 5 and by US military planes on May 24 near the Iraqi border for a brief period of four minutes.

    [08] Turkeys population compared to the most populated countries of the world

    Under the title Turkey's population to hit 100 million by 2050, Turkish daily Todays Zaman (02.01.08) reports the following:

    The population of Turkey is expected to reach 101.2 million by 2050, an increase of 26 million from current numbers, according to data from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

    According to UNFPA calculations Turkey's population will surpass that of Germany in 2050. However, the populations of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Iran, which are currently lower than that of Turkey, will surpass Turkey's population by 2050.

    India's population is expected to increase by 457 million people, Pakistan's by 140 million, Nigeria's by 120.9 million and the Democratic Republic of Congo's by 116 million between the years 2007 and 2050. The increase in China's population will be limited to 60.9 million, and its population increase will lag behind many countries -- even the US, whose population is expected to rise by 91 million, Brazil, where the population will rise by 61.8 million, Bangladesh, whose population will jump by 95.8 million and several other countries. In the same period, Russia's population will fall by 30 million, Japan's will drop by 16 million and Germany's will regress by 3.9 million.

    India's population will reach 1.6 billion and surpass Chinas; currently the world's largest, by 200.4 million people. The US will have the highest increase in population among developed countries and will remain the world's third most populated country, bringing its population to 395 million from the current 303.9 million. Pakistan will rise to fourth place in population size with 304 million. Turkey, which is currently the world's 17th most populated country, will fall to 19th place.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [09] From the Turkish Press of 31 December 2007 and 1 January 2008

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish Press of 31.12.07 01.01.08 on issues of the current Turkish political agenda:

    a) Turkey in 2007 and 2008: Milliyet newspaper (31.12.07) publishes a series of short interviews compiled by Devrim Sevimay with 11 "experts" on their projections for the New Year. The questions pertain to the issues that will occupy Turkey's agenda in the coming year and the options that will face Turkey in addressing these issues. Experts answer questions on relations with the United States and the EU, the economy, societal peace, the new constitution, government-military relations, higher education, the environment, and the Kurdish problem.

    Columnist Ismet Berkan of Istanbul Radikal (31.12.07) comments on what he describes as the main events of the year. Berkan maintains in his column that the major events, which characterized Turkey in 2007 are the murder of Hrant Dink and the military intervention in Turkish democracy. Berkan says that the Dink murder was the event of the year "not only because a journalist was assassinated and it was a racist murder," but also because "it revealed in all its starkness the existence of a 'structure' within our state that continues to view and portray such murders as a valid method." The second event was the two interventions by the Turkish Armed Forces -- the first in the form of a news conference by the force commanders and the second the memorandum issued on 27 April -- in reaction to the possibility of the election of Abdullah Gul as president. Berkan laments that no progress has been made in the country since then either in the field of racism or with regard to safeguarding our democracy.

    Semih Idiz, in Milliyet (31.12.07), speculates on Turkish-US relations in the coming year. In his column, Idiz suggests that Turkish-US relations, which have settled on a "more constructive foundation" since the 5 November meeting between Erdogan and President Bush, will likely register new developments following the meeting scheduled between Bush and President Abdullah Gul on 8 January. Recalling that before the Bush-Erdogan meeting and immediately in its aftermath he had argued that "nothing will come of this," Idiz admits that he was mistaken and says that efforts are being exerted to revive the "strategic cooperation" between the two countries. Idiz expresses the opinion that Bush will consult Gul on the Middle East, Pakistan, and Kosovo, adding that the coming year will be positive for Turkish-US relations. Idiz alludes to "a new period in bilateral relations that will develop along an axis of common interests."

    Under the headline, "A diary of Tyranny," Vakit (31.12.07) runs a front-page report which slams Turkey's "prohibitionists" for "making many shameful maneuvers in 2007" to perpetuate the restrictions on the wearing of Muslim headscarves.

    In a commentary in Referans (01.01.08), Cengiz Candar makes a "practical suggestion" for Turkey. Explaining at first that "2007 was a nightmare for Turkey's non-Muslim minorities after the assassination of Hrant Dink, the heinous murder in Malatya, the stabbing of priests here and there, and threat messages," Candar adds: "In addition, those who perpetrate these acts are considered heroes in some sectors. What is worst, however, is an 'insensitive public authority' from the government and the opposition to the judiciary and executive branches. In order to have a 2008 different from 2007, in order to have a proper trial for Hrant Dink's murder, in order to put an end to the collusion of facts, and in order prevent the cover up of the police confessions in the Malatya case, are you ready to 'display the highest level of sensitivity?" Are you ready to put great pressure on the government and the AKP; if you are from the Republican People's Party [CHP], on the CHP; if you are from the Nationalist Action Party [MHP], on the MHP, on these issues? Can all the dailies, mainly those in the centre of the media, assume the responsibility to pursue a 'democratic campaign' and allocate one section of their first page to this issue? Are civil society organizations, pressure groups such as TUSIAD, and labour unions ready to put this issue on their agenda? All the flags hoisted in Istanbul, the width of the flags, and the height of the poles, can save the 'national' honour of being a Turk and the dignity of being a Muslim. The only way to save the 'honour' and 'dignity' is by claiming as our own the citizens, which are not ethnic Turks and Muslims, and find and punish the criminals who commit crimes against them."

    A report entitled "Turks hopeful about future" in Hurriyet (01.01.08) notes that "a survey conducted in 11 countries worldwide showed that Turks are hopeful about their future. A total of 59.1 percent of all Turks participating in the survey expressed that 2008 will be a happier year compared to 2007 and 46.6 percent of all Turks believe that their living standards will improve in 2008."

    Under the headline, "Let 2008 Be a Year of Freedoms," Milli Gazete (01.01.08) publishes a front-page report which describes 2007 as a year when the Erdogan government was deprived of its excuses for refraining from lifting the headscarf ban and addressing "other human rights violations." According to the report, the nation expects the Government to remove all prohibitionist practices, restrictions on the exercise of the freedom of religious faith, and "obstacles to education" in 2008.

    In an article in Sabah (31.12.07), Okan Muderrisoglu relays the statement made by Religious Affairs Director Ali Bardakoglu about the religious aspects of New Year celebrations. According to the article, Bardakoglu said that "the New Year is part of the universal culture. New Year celebrations have cultural, rather than religious significance." Terming Bardakoglu's assessments contemporary, Muderrisoglu reports the cleric's differentiation between New Year celebrations and Christmas, which is the Christians' religious holiday. Bardakoglu adds, nevertheless, that "it is not right to celebrate the New Year in violation of our religious and cultural values and prohibitions."

    In an article entitled "2008: A year when hopes will bloom", in Zaman (01.01.08) columnist Mumtazer Turkone predicts that 2008 will be a year of structural reforms in all areas from education to public administration and from health to the Constitution, adding that with a government that enjoys the support of "one out of every two people" and a president that is "ready to clear the way" for the political authority, "we have every reason to greet 2008 with this sort of optimism."

    In an article entitled "The revenge of democracy", in Zaman (01.01.08) columnist Ihsan Dagi refers to 2007 as a year when conspiracies were hatched against democracy and the people got back at the conspirators democratically." He also claims that the results of the 22 July elections in Turkey "did not come out of the blue. Rather, they were a democratic reaction to the coup attempt. The 22 July elections were as important as the 14 May, 1950 elections, which ended the single-party rule era in the history of Turkish democracy."

    b) Burning vehicles:

    The police caught 25 suspects in connection with the torching of vehicles in Istanbul in the past month, according to a report by Toygun Atilla, Ismail Aktas, and Suleyman Kaya in Istanbul Sabah (31.12.07). Of the 25 suspects detained in the past three days, 13 are university students, and "some of them are members of the DTP [Democratic Society Party] Istanbul Province Youth Branches." The report says that three suspects who were detained in front of the DTP building admitted that the instructions "to burn" came from the PKK via the DTP leaders. According to the report, "the activists explained the reason for not leaving any trace after the arson attacks as wanting to attribute the action to all the Kurds and trigger a collective rebellion."

    A report in Vatan (01.01.08) notes that "it was claimed that Bahoz Erdal, the so-called responsible for the PKK, gave the order for the torching of cars in Istanbul."

    EG/


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