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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-01-08
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.5/08 08.01.08
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Forest area in occupied Trikomo to be sold to Turkish companiesTurkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (08.01.08) under banner headlines in its front page: The country is on sale, reports that the so-called ruling coalition is trying to give 169 donums of forest area belonging to the occupied Trikomo municipality to KOTITAS company. The paper further adds that the remaining land will be given to the Letonya Tourism Company, registered in Antalya, southern Turkey, whose owner is a close relative of Abdullatif Sener, who was former State Minister responsible for Cyprus Affairs in the previous Erdogan government in Turkey.
 Turkish Cypriot UBP party returns to the so-called parliamentTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.01.08) reports about the decision by the main opposition party the National Unity Party (UBP) to return to the so-called parliament. The paper reports that the parliamentary group of the UBP convened yesterday and decided to put an end to the boycott which the party is observing for the last one year.
The chairman of the UBP Mr. Tahsin Ertugruloglu in a statement to the press after the meeting, said that the Party has refused to hold early elections on the date proposed by the Republican Turkish Party United Forces (CTP-BG). He went on and said that they have changed the method of their protest and have adopted a new method. He declared that they will continue their protest within the parliament. Mr. Ertugruloglu said that it was a majority decision and that only 5-6 members did not vote in favor of the decision. The UBP parliamentary group has 80 members. One of the members Oguz Ceyda has submitted his resignation from the group in protest against the decision to return to the parliament.
Kibris newspaper (08.01.08) also reports that the leader of the Democrat Party (DP) Serdar Denktas, whose party also is boycotting the so-called parliament, commenting on the decision taken by the UBP to return to the parliament, said that the UBPs decision has rendered null and void the mediation efforts by Mr. Talat. He went on and said: As far as we are concerned nothing has changed. Our party group decision is still valid.
 TDP leader Cakici comments on Talatīs statements on two states with equal statusTurkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (08.01.08) reports in its front page under banner headlines: Cakici: Is federation given up? and writes that the chairman of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP) Mehmet Cakici, commented on the statement made by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat that solution of the Cyprus problem will be possible in the form of two states with equal status. Cakici asked whether this means giving up of a solution that envisages a bi-zonal and bi-communal federation. He urged Mr. Talat to be sincere as regards the federal solution and not to be afraid of using the words federal Cyprus.
 BKP member Korkmazhan declares that in the case of the Cyprus problem the work has started for partitionAccording to Turkish Cypriot Kibris newspaper (08.01.08), the member of the Executive Committee of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) Abdullah Korkmazhan has declared that work towards reaching a federal solution in the Cyprus problem was abandoned and that work has started for partition (taksim) which is based on secessionism.
In his statement Mr. Abdullah Korkmazhan said that Mr. Talat and the so-called the CTP-ORP government, under Turkeys pressure have abandoned the solution based on common federal state which was going to safeguard Cyprus unity and adopted the policy imposed by Turkey based on two separate states , two separate peoples, two separate democracies and two separate republics. He said that in this way the Turkish Cypriots expressed will for a federal solution is being trampled upon. Mr. Abdullah Korkmazhan also said that they refuse to accept the two-state based solution which is another name for (taksim) partition.
 Paper reports that electricity will be transferred to the occupied area through TurkeyTurkish Cypriot Star Kibris newspaper (08.01.08) reports in its front page that electricity will be transferred from Turkey to the occupied area through submarine cables. The paper reports that in this way the occupied areas energy problem will be solved. The TURIMEX Technology, which belongs to businessman Ali Ozmen Safa, has prepared the project which will cost 150 million Euros. The submarine cable will transfer 300 MW of energy. Mr. Ali Ozmen Safa said that they have secured the financial resources necessary to realize the project. He also said that the Turkish officials and the occupation regime gave the green light to the project.
 Suleyman Soylu the new President of Turkeys DPTurkish daily Radikal newspaper (07.01.08) under the title Agar said good-bye, Soylu era began at the DP, reports that the new elected President of the Democratic Party (DP) is Suleyman Soylu. The elections took place on Sunday during the DPs 4th Extraordinary General Assembly. At the elections 16 candidates participated. After three rounds of voting Mehmet Agar lost the leaders seat and the candidate supported by the former leader Tansu Ciller, Mr Suleyman Soylu was elected with 529 votes.
On the same issue, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (08.01.08) under the title The new show window of DP, reports that the newly elected President of the Democratic Party (DP) is Suleyman Soylu, who has close relations with the former Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic, Mrs Tansu Ciller.
Moreover, Turkish daily Yeni Safak (07.01.08) under the banner headline Last Rider Repents 27 April, publishes a front-page report, which quotes former Democratic Party, DP, leader Mehmet Agar, one of the architects of the presidential crisis that broke out in Turkey in May, 2007, as saying that the e-memorandum issued by the Turkish Armed Forces on the night of 27 April changed Turkey's political map completely. (Tr. Note: The DP's emblem is a horse. Hence the title.)
 Public support for AK Party at 51.9%Turkish daily The New Anatolian newspaper (07.01.08) reports that the popular support of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party has increased in the past five months to reach 51.9 percent, a public opinion poll conducted by MetroPoll Strategic and Social Research Center showed. The AK Party had won 47 percent of the votes in the July 22, 2007 elections.
The survey also showed the public approval rating of President Abdullah Gul is 73.9 percent.
The poll conducted at the end of December among 1242 persons in 26 provinces shows that if elections were held today the votes of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) would be down to 10 percent compared to the 20.1 percent in the elections. The opposition Nationalist Action Party (MHP) votes were down to 10.5 percent from 18 percent. The votes of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) stood at 0.7 percent while other parties received 4.2 percent. Those who said they were undecided stood at 10.1 percent while those who said they will cast invalid votes was 4 percent and those who said they will not vote at all were 1.7 percent. Those who said they have no idea on what they want to do was 6.9 percent.
The survey also showed that those in favor of Turkey's European Union membership increased to 61.4 while those opposing it stood at 32.9 and those who refused to respond were 5.7 percent.
Those who felt American support for Turkey against the PKK was not enough stood at 69.3 while those who said they were satisfied with U.S. backing were 26.2 percent. 5.5 said they had no idea on the issue.
Asked "are you happy with the current situation in Turkey?", 24.3 percent said they are "very happy", 46.1 percent said they are satisfied, 12.8 said they are not so satisfied, 16.5 percent said they are unhappy while 0.3 did not respond.
Compared to five years ago 43.9 percent of the respondents said they feel things are much better in Turkey while 29.8 said there is no change while 26.3 percent said life was better five years ago.
Those who feel things will get better in Turkey in the next five years was 55.3 percent while 18.2 said there will be no change and 21 percent said things will be worse.
The survey also showed that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the most popular leader in Turkey with 33.8 percent.
Asked about the most important problem of Turkey 28.3 said unemployment, 27 percent said terrorism, 15,5 said economy, 5.6 said poverty, 3.9 education, 1.8 political structure, 1.4 the Kurdish issue, 1.3 foreign policy and 1 percent democracy. This showed that three out of four of the top problems are related to economy.
The poll also showed that 66.9 percent of the respondents want the headscarf ban lifted while 29.7 want it to continue.
Which party would you vote for if elevtions are held today:
AK Party: 51.9%
Won'r vote: 1.7%
No idea: 6.9%
Should Turkey join the EU?
No idea: 5.7%
 Mergers and acquisitions in Turkey hit $20.6 billion in 2007Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (08.01.08) reports the following:
The volume of mergers and acquisitions in Turkey reached $20.6 billion in 162 transactions last year, according to a Deloitte report. Deloitte Turkey published a report yesterday on merger and acquisition activities in Turkey over the last five years as well as forecasts for 2008.
Deloitte said mergers and acquisitions surpassed $20 billion despite turmoil in domestic politics and negative signals in macroeconomic figures such as growth and the inflation rate in 2007. Mergers and acquisitions approached $19 billion in 2006. The report said this was an important indicator of Turkey still being an attractive center for investors.
Of the total $20 billion in mergers and acquisitions, 77 percent -- approximately $15 billion -- were made by foreign investors and 12 percent by private equity funds. Gulf region investors contributed $2.1 billion, approximately 10 percent of all mergers and acquisitions.
The largest transaction in 2007 was the acquisition of Oyakbank by Dutch ING group for $2.7 billion. The top five transactions made up 40 percent of the total volume of mergers and acquisitions. The report said this means the share of medium-sized transactions increased compared to previous years as the top five mergers have had a greater share in total transactions in the previous years.
According to the report, around 40 percent of mergers and acquisitions were conducted through privatizations and sell offs of the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) in the last five years. In these five years more than 650 transactions took place, and the total volume stood at $75 billion. Moreover, private equity funds invested around $6.5 billion in the last three years. Transactions concentrated in the financial services, energy and food sectors.
In 2007, the greatest share belonged to the financial services sector, as was the case in previous years, with 32 merger and acquisition transactions worth $6.4 billion. The energy sector was another prominent sector; however, the real estate sector made its long-awaited rise in 2007. Mergers and acquisitions will continue to increase in the coming three years, the report said.
Private equity funds made 24 transactions worth around $2.5 billion in 2007, and the acquisition of sea transporters U.N. Ro-Ro by Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co. (KKR) for $1.25 billion was the highest investment of a private equity fund ever in Turkey.
According to the Deloitte report, mergers and acquisitions in 2008 are projected to be around $15 billion, thanks to global financial fluctuations. However, the privatization of electricity distribution, toll roads and bridges, Halkbank, the national lottery, Ankara's natural gas delivery company EGO and Tekel's tobacco division will be the engines of merger and acquisition activities. Meanwhile, reports also forecast that recently sold companies will begin to be purchased by other investors again.
Deloitte Turkey Corporate Finance Partner Basak Vardar said Turkey had partially been affected by the global financial turmoil; however, she said the credit crunch after the turmoil would reduce merger and acquisition activities and that Turkey would definitely be affected by this. She said the only way for Turkey to get over this problem will be to sustain economic growth and good investment conditions, adding that what was keeping Turkey attractive was investors' expectation of the continuation of high growth rates.
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
 From the Turkish Press of 7 January 2008Following are summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish press of 07/01/08 on issues of the current political agenda:
President Gul's visit to the US:
Under the headline "A new phase in Turkish-American relations," Star carries a report on the statement made by President Abdullah Gul at Ankara's Esenboga Airport before his departure for the 8 January meeting with President Bush in Washington. Gul says at the meeting the sides will reiterate and consolidate the strategic ties, seek cooperation on combating terrorism and preservation of regional and global security and stability, and identify new "windows of opportunity" in bilateral relations, adding that under the current international conditions the Turkish-US cooperation not only remains important but has also gained new dimensions. Gul declares that the ties will be diversified and deepened in the spheres of economy, trade, investments, energy, research, science, and technology.
Under the headline "It is Gul's turn to explain the PKK terrorism to Bush," a Vatan report says that the fight against the PKK and the Cyprus problem will be high on Gul's agenda, adding that Gul will raise the lifting of the isolation on Turkish Cypriots during his meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
A Radikal report says the fight against the PKK, a new initiative for Cyprus, and the prevention of the Armenian genocide bill will be broached during Gul's meeting with Bush.
A Cumhuriyet report says Gul and Bush will exchange views on the PKK, Iraq, Middle East, and Turkey's EU membership.
Under the title "The Ties With the United States Assumed a New Dimension," a Sabah report notes Gul's departure to the United States, adding that Gul's visit pursues the aim of "transforming the strategic partnership between the two countries into a 'reinforced partnership concept,'" and that for that purpose Gul will ask Bush to activate the institutional consultative mechanisms to implement the goals set out in the 2006 "Joint Vision Document." The report adds that Gul will also meet other US officials, give interviews, and meet American businessmen.
Under the headline "Why Is Gul going [to the United States]?," a Hurriyet report quotes unnamed Turkish embassy officials as saying that Bush might want to benefit from Turkey's experiences on the Middle East and Afghanistan, especially from Gul's impressions from his recent visit to Pakistan.
Commenting on Gul's visit to Washington in an interview in Aksam, Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey desk at the Washington think tank CSIS, says the timing of the visit was wrong, it should have taken place in February 2009. Arguing that he sees no benefit in Turkey approaching so closely a lame president in his final year of power, Aliriza says may be Gul was in haste to have a say in Turkey's foreign policy. Aliriza also speculates that in return for its support against the PKK, the United States might ask Turkey to increase its military presence in Afghanistan.
A report in Turkish Daily News says, "The energy issue will be one of the most significant issues to appear on the agenda of talks with U.S. officials. Gul, accompanied by Energy Minister Hilmi Guler, is expected to seek Washington's support for Turkey to take a second step on the path to becoming a full-fledged energy corridor. Professor Ahmet Davutoglu, chief foreign policy advisor to the Turkish president, told CNN-Turk last week that Turkey will be at the cross-roads of the East-West and North-South energy corridors in the upcoming period."
In his column in Hurriyet that first touches on the issue of public reaction to the harassment of tourist women on New Years eve in Istanbul, Fatih Cekirge says Gul's visit to Washington will lay the groundwork for Turkey's diplomatic contacts with Iraqi President Talabani, provided that the latter, faced by the recent manifestation of Turkish-US alliance, has finally understood that hostile behavior should be abandoned and Ankara's demands have to be discussed within a "diplomatic framework." Cekirge says after the Washington meeting, Gul will assume a mission for the establishment of peace between Palestine and Israel and Turkey and Iraq.
In a column in Milliyet entitled "Gul is keeping the momentum up with Washington," Semih Idiz says Gul's visit could be seen as an effort to raise the new process launched by Erdogan and Bush in November to a new level of regional and global strategic partnership.
In a column for Radikal, Murat Yetkin lists the expectations of Turkey and United States from each other during Gul's visit. He says Turkey wants the continuation of the Turkish-US cooperation in Iraq to prevent the emergence of a Kurdish state, American support for its desire to become the energy distribution hub in the region, backing for a Turkish initiative on Cyprus ahead of the Greek Cypriot presidential elections, and American understanding for its interests inside the EU and NATO. Yetkin quotes an unnamed "important" American official as telling him that Gul's visit shows the importance the United States is attaching to its ties with Turkey. The official says the United States believes that Turkey can play an important role in shaping the future of Iraq and the Middle East peace process, that the cooperation on Afghanistan and Pakistan could be further advanced, that the stabilization of Iraq is important for the exploitation of Iraq's rich gas and oil reserves, and that Turkey could contribute to the resolution of the nuclear crisis with Iran. The United States also wants to get Turkey's views on Kosovo, Caucasus, and EU membership. The American official also points out that regardless of who wins the presidential elections in the United States or which party is in power in Turkey and the United States, the Turkish-US ties will not be affected, as they are strategic in nature. Yetkin concludes that the United States hopes to enter into a strategic partnership with Turkey to face the problems in the Balkans, Caucasus, Middle East, and Afghanistan.
In an article entitled "As an important visit is starting", Yeni Safak columnist Taha Kivanc argues that President Gul's visit to Washington, which has started today, is set to be one of the most substantive visits paid by Turkish presidents to the United States so far. He also asserts that if the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democratic candidacy for president proves a close run thing, the US Democrats might possibly achieve consensus on the name of Al Gore as their candidate.
In an article entitled "A visit by Gul that will spite enemies", Zaman's Washington correspondent Ali H. Aslan asserts that Gul's visit to Washington, taking place as it does at a time when Turkish-US relations have left a "turbulent" period behind, will enable a "strategic tour of the horizon" rather than tackling any problems. He claims that the visit is set to have a humbling effect of circles in Washington who are "hostile" to both Gul and the public sections in Turkey that he represents, adding that the most dramatic moment during the visit will be when Gul, "Turkey's number one," meets with Dick Cheney, "the main architect in the United States behind the operations aimed at cutting the ground from under the ruling AKP's feet."
In an article entitled "New optimism in Turkish-American relations", Today's Zaman columnist Omer Taspinar explains "what salvaged [the] badly strained Turkish-American partnership from the brink of total collapse" and claims that with Turkish-US cooperation against terrorism strengthening, "Turkey's romance with Russia is likely to diminish."
In an article entitled "Determined to be wrong and wrong again", Today's Zaman columnist Fehmi Koru asserts that President Gul is going to Washington "with projects that will have the power of boosting the public image of both parties, but especially the US's image abroad."
Commenting on President Gul's statement that "our differences are our wealth," Ferai Tinc says in her column for Hurriyet that this nice-sounding statement is a mere fashion talk on the part of the AKP, for Prime Minister Erdogan failed to act with this mentality when visiting Diyarbakir after the bomb attack. Tinc notes that the local civil organizations were displeased with Erdogan's backtracking on the Kurdish problem, especially with his statement that the Kurds do not need more Kurdish broadcasts, after all Australia broadcasts only two hours of Turkish for the Turkish immigrants there. Tinc agrees with Kurds that Erdogan should not have compared Turkey's indigenous Kurds with Turkish immigrants in Australia, adding that most Turks speak about tolerance but engage in apartheid without even being aware of it.
In an interview in Sabah, former MIT [Turkish Intelligence Organization] undersecretary Cevat Ones says the PKK carried out the bomb attack in Diyarbakir to regain its lost political prestige. He says the PKK is resorting to terrorism because it is getting weaker, adding that by attacking in Diyarbakir the PKK actually committed suicide. He believes another reason for terrorism is the divisions that are occurring among the armed PKK groups. He thinks Abdullah Ocalan is still an important Kurdish figure but not the sole leader of the PKK. Ones also says the DTP should come out against the PKK and support the democratic process, adding that while fighting terrorism measures should also be taken to resolve the Kurdish problem, which is the source of Turkey's economic and social ailments.
A Sabah report says Iran has started building a "wall" on the border against the PKK and its offshoot PJAK, adding that it will be 4-km long and 5-meter high. The wall starts from the Haci Umran border gate with Iraq. Sabah says the Iraqi Kurdish authorities are opposed to the construction of the wall.
In an article entitled "Hunting judges and prosecutors in Duzova and a dialogue of the deaf", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak criticizes Prime Minister Erdogan for responding to calls in Diyarbakir for education in Kurdish by asserting that if such demands are met, citizens of Circassian or Georgian origin in this country might come up with similar requests. Dilipak asserts that everybody in Turkey should have the right to speak, write, be educated, and issue publications in their mother tongue whatever their ethnic origin might be. He goes on to assert that "it is not easy to create a nation state out of the legacy of an empire. You see how it is dissolving after 100 years." He also censures the "judicial scandal" involving the release of the suspects in the Semdinli incident by a military court.
In an article entitled "Job done", Zaman columnist Ali Bulac cites US Major General Richard Sherlock's recent statement disclosing that they are not only providing Turkey with intelligence for its military operations against the PKK but also helping it determine its long-term targets concerning the PKK as sufficient evidence suggesting that Washington has persuaded Ankara to recognize the "Kurdish Federal State" in northern Iraq in return for supporting Turkey's latest military campaign against terrorism.
In a front-page "news analysis" entitled "Outlawed PKK's Leadership Seeks To Be Pardoned," Today's Zaman columnist Lale Sariibrahimoglu quotes "terrorism experts" as saying that the recent Diyarbakir bombing shows that the PKK leadership is "seeking to benefit from Turkey's plans to introduce a repentance law" for PKK militants who have not taken part in acts of terrorism.
Bugun columnist Mehmet Metiner publishes the text of an interview with Adnan Mufti in his column entitled "Kurdistan Federal Region Parliament Chairman Adnan Mufti: 'We Ponder Autonomy for the Turkomans.'" Mufti denies claims that Kurdish groups in Kirkuk have destroyed documents in title deeds offices in this province as part of their bid to lay claim to Kirkuk and discloses that they would allow a commission from Turkey to carry out an on-site investigation into such allegations.
In an article entitled "General Staff Issues Modest Figures", Bugun columnist Emin Pazarci asserts that the PKK has sustained a major blow in the recent Turkish strikes, with the toll of severe injury alone standing at 380. He also cites the slogans of "Killer America" shouted by PKK supporters at the latest protest demonstrations as an indication of the sort of "disappointment" created within the PKK by the US support for the Turkish military operations.
Chinese Engineers Discover New Coal Mine in Turkey:
Turkish Daily News reports the following: "A team of four engineers, sent by the China Coal Energy Company, assigned to detect coal reserves, last week found a reserve of an estimated 200 million tons of coal in Manisa's Soma province, Turkey's second biggest coal basin after Zonguldak. The research lead by Polat Madencilik, operating in the mining sector since 1988, and the Chinese team covered an area of 2,000 hectares. The reserve may meet Turkey's coal demand for the next 20 years, said Muzaffer Polat, Polat Madencilik chairman".