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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-01-16
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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.11/08 16.01.08
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Reply by the Egyptian President to a question regarding CyprusUnder the title, Mubarak remained silent on the question on Cyprus, Turkish daily Aksam newspaper (16.01.08) reports that at the press conference between the Egyptian President, Mr Hosni Mubarak, and his Turkish counterpart, Mr Abdullah Gul, in Cairo, Mr Mubarak avoided answering a question regarding Cyprus. At the press conference a Turkish reporter asked: Will Egypt invite tenders for the oil exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean? Will shipping lines operate between the TRNC and Alexandria in order to lift the isolations? And Mr Mubarak stated that he will not answer this question. We do not want to discuss this before the press. Regarding border issues we can discuss these between us with Turkey. As regards the other it is a political issue, we take it up during our meetings and settle it, he said.
 The OIC is working to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, stated OIC S-G Insanoglu after his meeting with ErdoganAnkara Anatolia news agency (15.01.08) reports the following from Madrid:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Ekmelettin Ihsanoglu in Madrid on Tuesday.
Erdogan-Ihsanoglu meeting was closed to the press.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting with Erdogan, Ihsanoglu indicated that they exchanged ideas and opinions on the Alliance of Civilizations.
"We have obtained necessary permissions to open an OIC office in Brussels," Ihsanoglu told.
"As the OIC, we are working to end international isolations on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)," Ihsanoglu remarked.
Reminded that the United States did not attend the forum of the Alliance of Civilizations in Madrid, Ihsanoglu stressed that "it does not matter who came to the forum and who did not. Islam and Christianity must reach an historical compromise. Christians and Jews reached a compromise. We can find a compromise between Christianity and Islam."
"Islam must be represented in the European Union (EU)," Ihsanoglu also said.
 Erdogan meets with the UN Secretary-GeneralAnkara Anatolia news agencies (15.01.08) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Madrid on Tuesday.
Erdogan is currently in Spain to attend the 1st Alliance of Civilizations Forum. The meeting between Erdogan and Mr Ban Ki-moon was closed to press.
 Talat: The Turkish Cypriots Have Right to Self-DeterminationAnkara Anatolia news agency (15.01.08) reports that the President Mehmet Ali Talat said on Tuesday that no other nation or organization have a say regarding the future of Turkish Cypriots.
"Today, Turkish Cypriot people will make their own decision on their own future," he said during an official ceremony in TRNC.
In the ceremony, Dr. Fazil Kucuk, an iconic leader of Turkish Cypriots' Fight for Freedom was commemorated in his 24th death anniversary.
Talat said Dr. Fazil Kucuk's main target was to grant self- determination right to Turkish Cypriot people.
"Not only our friends but also our enemies have seen that we have reached this stage and won't take any backward step," he said.
 Financial aid to the occupied areas reached 400 million US dollarsAccording to Kibris newspaper (16.01.08), the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister Cemil Cicek, has said that Turkeys financial aid to the occupied area has reached 400 million US dollars per annum.
Speaking at the plenary session of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), Mr. Cicek said that between 1974-1996 Turkey provided 80 million US dollars financial aid each year to the occupied area, this amount reached to yearly 210 million US dollars between 1997-2002 and since then it is 360 million US dollars and in the coming years it will reach 400 million US dollars annually.
Mr. Cicek went on said that after the presidential elections in February in the free areas of Cyprus they expect that there will be movement in the Cyprus problem on the international field and they make preparations accordingly. He said: It is necessary to reach a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the problem and not just a solution for the sake of finding a solution.
Stressing that any solution should be based on the three realities, Mr. Cicek named them as: Existence of two separate communities on the Island; Two separate states and two separate democracies. It is out of the question to give up these three realities, he declared.
 Ercakica alleges that the initiative of the Turkish Cypriot side is a concrete proof of its intention for a solutionIllegal Bayrak television (15.01.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:
The Presidential Spokesman Hasan Ercakica said that the Turkish Sides initiatives were concrete proof of its intention to find a solution to the Cyprus Problem.
He said these initiatives were deeply disturbing the Greek Cypriot Side.
Mr. Ercakica also told reporters during his weekly press briefing that the Turkish Cypriot side was ready to cooperate with the Greek Cypriot Side on the issue of tackling the problem of illegal immigration.
Reminding that the Turkish President, Mr Abdullah Gul, had conveyed the Turkish sides request for an immediate and comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Problem during his recent meeting with the UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon in New York, Mr. Ercakica said that this initiative had created discomfort on the Greek Cypriot side.
Unfortunately, it seems that this initiative Turkey and the TRNC have jointly put forward has caused disturbance in the Greek Cypriot side. We were quite surprised by the news items regarding the fact that the Turkish sides move to start an initiative for the settlement of the Cyprus problem is perceived as trying to create a climate of mobility, he added.
He said such perceptions created the doubt as to whether the Greek Cypriot administration is genuinely interested in a serious initiative or not.
Stating that the Greek Cypriot side was continuing to work towards maintaining the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people, the Presidential spokesman reminded that the Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Markulli was carrying out foreign visits with the aim of preventing Turkish Cypriots from establishing new relations and contacts with the rest of the world.
Greek Cypriots efforts to continue the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots had been a useful experience for the international community, he added.
He said it was necessary for the international community to remove the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people, if it wants a new initiative to be launched on Cyprus following the February Greek Cypriot presidential elections as well as the Greek Cypriot sides contributions.
Stating that the Greek Cypriot Administration was exploiting all possible issues in an attempt to put an end to ferry services between Syria and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the Presidential spokesperson said that the issue of illegal immigration was one of them.
This issue is a threat to both the North and the South he said, explaining that human trafficking and illegal immigration was a major global problem.
Stressing that efforts to prevent illegal immigration and human trafficking will not be allowed to be used as an excuse to block the TRNCs channels of communication with the outside world, Mr. Ercakica said that it was inevitable for Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot officials to cooperate in tackling this problem.
 Avci is going to Ankara tomorrowNTV television (16.01.08) broadcast that the self-styled foreign minister of the occupation regime, Mr Turgay Avci, is going to Ankara tomorrow.
The self-styled foreign minister will evaluate the latest developments in the Cyprus problem with the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr Ali Babacan, following the visit of the Turkish President Abdullah Gul in the USA.
According to the NTV MSNBC, Mr Gul, who held a meeting with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in New York, asked from the UN Secretary- General to take a new initiative for the solution in the island.
Mr Avci, together with the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr Ali Babacan, will also give certificates to ten employees of the TRNC foreign ministry who participated in a four-month training program at the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
 British officials are awaiting the results of Cypruss electionsTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.01.08) reports under banner headline, The British officials are waiting for the aftermath of the elections in Cyprus and writes that the British Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Jim Murphy, made statements during a meeting the other day at the British Parliament with a group of Turkish Cypriots living in London.
Assessing the latest developments in the Cyprus problem together with the Turkish Cypriots, Jim Murphy said that he believes that there will be movement towards the solution of the Cyprus problem after the presidential elections next month in south Cyprus. The meeting at the British Parliament was organized by the Special Cyprus representative of the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Joan Ryan. The meeting was also attended by the chief of the Cyprus Desk at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office Mr. Simon Hohner.
Jim Murphy and Joan Ryan said that the British government supports a solution in Cyprus. Jim Murphy and Joan Ryan added that they fully support the reunification of Cyprus and the Gambari Process. Referring to her Ankara visit last week, Mrs. Ryan said that she left Ankara with positive messages and that the Turkish government favors the solution of the Cyprus problem. And they are very willing in this, Mrs. Ryan concluded.
 14 illegal immigrants were arrested in the occupied areasAccording to the Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.01.08), the occupation authorities, after carrying a detailed search on a ship anchored at the closed Famagusta port, have arrested 14 illegal immigrants from Syria. The so-called police also arrested Memduh Reessur, the captain of the ship, who has dual nationality, Syrian and TRNC. The paper further reports that the foreign registered ship Nancy brought cigarettes to the occupied Famagusta port.
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
 From the Turkish Press of 15 January 2008a) Kurdish Issue: According to a report by Saliha Colak in Milliyet, Democratic Society Party Batman deputy Bengi Yildiz, during a meeting with Rene van der Linden, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said that the PKK is the party of the southeast region and that regional citizens continue to register as its members.
On the upcoming local elections in Diyarbakir and the goals of the Justice and Development Party, the AKP, in a column in Cumhuriyet entitled "Can the AKP take Diyarbakir?" Oral Calislar believes that the struggle between "the modernist, nationalist Kurdish identity" represented by the Democratic Society Party, the DTP, and "the conservative Kurdish trend" represented by the AKP is important not only from the viewpoint of the local power struggle, but it is also important in that it will also determine the direction toward which the Kurdish movement will be advancing. Citing the achievements of the DTP Municipality in the city, the writer says that the recent PKK bombing worked to the disadvantage of the DTP, adding that if the PKK continues its violent acts and if the DTP fails to distance itself from these acts, it will not be able to beat the AKP in the upcoming local elections.
Assessing the trial of the soldiers taken hostage in Daglica in an article in Milliyet, Hasan Cemal says that there are disturbing factors with regards to this trial which are not drawing the attention of the public in general. Detailing the criticisms leveled by Ali Fahir Karacan, a retired judge and honorary member of the Military Prosecutors Office, and by retired Judge Umit Kardas concerning the indictment prepared by the Van Military Prosecutor's Office, Cemal says that the judges question whether nobody is to blame besides the eight soldiers. Detailing the discrepancies in the indictment in a ten-question section published in the daily Taraf, Cemal concludes by saying that we may all be in need of the judicial system one day and that it is to our benefit to ponder of the questions posed by Taraf.
A report in Vatan says that the Institute for the Preservation of Kurdish Heritage based in Dohuk organized a panel discussion of Hasankeyf. The report adds that a map displayed at a photo exhibition organized prior to the panel discussion showd a Kurdistan that includes parts of Turkey, Iran, and Syria.
In an article entitled "Blood on the flag", Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone criticizes Chief of Staff General Buyukanit for approving of the behavior of a group of high school students who sent a Turkish flag painted with their own blood to the General Staff. Turkone claims that what the students did is an indication of the bitter and unhealthy public mood created by the ongoing clashes between PKK terrorists and Turkish security forces, adding that rather than "fueling" this "disturbing psychology" by praising the students, General Buyukanit should have said that the military is powerful enough to overcome any threats and that it expects young students to serve their country by concentrating on their own studies rather than shedding their blood in this way.
In an article entitled "America is in trouble. However ...", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal comments on what he describes as the challenges facing the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the obstacles presented by the size of the Shiite population in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia to its efforts to "encourage" Iraqi Shiites to form a separate state of their own. Unal argues that if the United States has not changed its mind about helping establish a "puppet" Kurdish state in northern Iraq despite the "complete failure" of its "Broader Middle East policy," it is only because there is a government in Turkey "sworn" to protect US interests more strongly than even the United States itself.
b) AKP and gestures to the Alevi Community: A report in Milliyet notes that AKP deputy Reha Camuroglu is embarking on a tour of all the Alevi organizations in the aftermath of the controversy concerning the Muharrem fast-breaking dinner initiated by his party. According to the report, Camuroglu also said that legal arrangements will be made to grant religious status to Cem Houses.
Commenting on relations between the Alevi community and the AKP in a column entitled "Erdogan and the Alevis" in Milliyet, Taha Akyol expresses the belief that the criticism leveled against the AKP in relation to the recent overtures made by the party toward the Alevi community is unjust. Arguing that the important thing is that these overtures were made irrespective of whether they were sincere or initiated because of political calculations, the writer also welcomes the Religious Affairs Directorate's move to publish the Alevi classics. Akyol concludes by expressing support to granting a religious status to the Cem Houses.
Questioning the validity of Prime Minister Erdogan's claim that he does not make use of religion to advance his political goals in a column entitled "Religion and Politics" in Hurriyet, Oktay Eksi argues that Erdogan's participation in a fast-breaking dinner for Alevis is nothing other than the use of religion for political purposes. Recalling Erdogan's remarks that legal amendments can be made to grant Cem Houses the status of places of worship, Eksi point out that this is another example of the use of religion for political purposes. The writer views Erdogan's recent remarks on the use headdress as a political symbol as yet another example of the same phenomenon.
c) Headscarf issue Secularism: Referring to Erdogan's remarks regarding the use of the headdress as a political symbol in a column entitled "The rights of individuals land the headdress" in Sabah, Ergun Babahan charges that these remarks shift the discussions on the issue to a totally different platform. Declaring that these remarks will increase the tension with regards to the issue, the writer agrees that headscarved girls are faced with a serious problem concerning their right to education. Babahan believes that on the issue of rights and freedoms, the disadvantages these rights and freedoms might cause to the state gain precedence over the possibilities they will grant to the individual. The writer asserts that not only the headscarved girl, but the Alevi student as well as the Kurdish worker should be entitled to their rights as individuals in this system of freedoms.
Also commenting on Erdogan's remarks on the headdress issue in a column in Vatan, Gungor Mengi declares that this is the first time that the prime minister has acknowledged that the headdress can be a symbol and that it will not be banned despite its religious symbolism. Questioning how the ban can be lifted through a constitutional amendment without damaging the secular characteristic of the republic, Mengi assumes that the ban on the headdress will be lifted for those receiving public services while it will continue for those supplying the service. In other words, Mengi adds, girls with headdresses will able to attend universities but will have to remove their headscarves if they seek employment in the public service after their graduation. The writer views this solution as the first dent in the secular republic.
According to a report in Milliyet, a hairdressing saloon to serve only those with headscarves has been inaugurated at the Grand National Assembly. Republican People's Party deputy Canan Aritman , who forced herself into this second saloon to blow dry her hair, says that her criticism is not directed against the headdressed women who use the facility but to the Assembly Chairmanship and adds: "No one should expect me to be tolerant. Tolerance of this issue will turn us into Saudi Arabian women. I am warning all women."
Under the banner headline, "Erdogan states opinion on headscarf issue in defiant terms," Vakit publishes a front-page report which highlights Prime Minister Erdogan's remarks in Spain asserting that no restrictions may be imposed on the wearing of Muslim headscarves even if it is true that headscarves are a "political symbol."
d) Transfer of Central Bank to Istanbul: According to a report in Milliyet, various business organizations in Ankara are opposed to the transfer of the Central Bank to Istanbul. Whereas, three business organizations, namely, the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association, MUSIAD, the Turkish Exporters Council, TIM, and the Istanbul Chamber of Trade, ITO, that have close ties to the government are supportive of Prime Minister Erdogan's proposal to transfer the bank. MUSIAD Chairman Omer Bolat is reported to have said that his association "supports activities aimed at transforming Istanbul into a financial center." ITO Chairman Murat Yalcintas believes Istanbul is the natural center of the country's economy and that the decision to transfer the bank is the right one. TIM Chairman Oguz Satici is of the opinion that the transfer will increase productivity. As for Central Bank Governor Durmus Yilmaz, he is among those who are opposed to the transfer, the report adds.
In an article entitled "Uprooting history from Ankara" in Milliyet, Guneri Civaoglu criticizes the proposal to transfer the Central Bank to Istanbul finding that the excuse to turn Istanbul into a financial center is lame. The writer points out that the fact that the Federal Reserve System is in Washington does not prevent New York from being a financial center, adding: "Ankara is the open air museum of the secular republic. One should not sacrifice its elements."
Also commenting on the proposal to transfer the Central Bank to Istanbul in an article in Radikal, Ismet Berkan argues that it does not make a difference where the Central Bank is. Viewing the discussions around the issue as unnecessary and futile, Berkan disagrees with the contention that the transfer will weaken the autonomy of the bank. According to his view, it is the delayed appointments to the bank that will weaken its autonomy.
e) Turkey an Energy Centre: In an article in Hurriyet, Erdal Saglam says that the possibility of Turkey becoming an "energy center" in its region is gaining strength. According to the writer, the issue of Turkey becoming a uranium enrichment center is on the agenda. Although the issue is being discussed at the ministerial level and discussions have begun with the United States, an official request has yet to be made. The writer adds that the issue will be taken up at the international nuclear energy conference to be held in Istanbul in the near future.
According to a report by Mutlu Colgecen in Aksam, the reason behind the Greek violations in the Aegean is Turkey's decision to prospect for oil in the Aegean. The report adds that Turkey will begin its oil prospecting activities off the coast of Gelibolu on 25 January. The General Staff has increased its measures in the Aegean in view of the Greek air violations and the upcoming oil prospecting activities in the region.
Under the headline, "Iran to build special gas pipeline for Turkey," Zaman publishes a front-paged report which asserts that Iran is going to build a new pipeline to solve the problem created by its halting of the natural gas supply to Turkey.
In an article entitled "Iraqi gas may be an alternative to gas from Iran", Today's Zaman columnist Lale Sariibrahimoglu argues that Energy Minister Hilmi Guler's disclosure that Turkey and the United States have made an agreement to "jointly explore Iraq's energy resources" is "good news" because it means that Turkey can now stop being dependent on Russia and Iran for its energy needs.
f) Turkey's Foreign policy: In a column in the Turkish Daily News, Mehmet Ali Birand calls on the president to urge Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan to continue the EU membership process and to take the necessary step. Pointing out that the "spreading impression in European capitals and especially in Paris and Berlin is that the ruling AKP 'tends to accept special status instead of full membership,'" Birand says that the government has "been overcome by languor."
In an article entitled "Turkey acts together with the Anglo-Saxon front of the West in the Middle East", Vakit columnist Selahaddin Cakirgil describes the US-Turkish agreement disclosed by President Gul to transport Iraqi oil to the world via Turkey as a development suggesting that in response to the EU's efforts to exclude it from membership, Turkey is using the advantages provided by its geopolitical and strategic position to establish closer relations with "the Anglo-Saxon front of the West," namely the United States and Britain, and assume the role of the region's "police force" within that alliance.
In an article entitled "Does Turkey want to change its foreign policy?" in Today's Zaman, columnist Ekrem Dumanli asserts that "Turkey's new foreign policy" seeks to achieve "an active and dynamic goal," namely the "expansion" of the country, its "recognition" in the eyes of the world as a democratic regime, and its "integration into the world economy." He also claims that "there is no reason why this process should disconcert other countries."