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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-01-29

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.20/08 29.01.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Former German Chancellor will reportedly visit the occupied areas of Cyprus through the illegal Tymvou airport
  • [02] The TRNC friend won in Germany
  • [03] Avci to meet with Joan Ryan in London and deliver a speech at the House of Lords
  • [04] Babacan says that the Turkish side does not accept the arbitration of the EU in the Cyprus problem
  • [05] The self-styled municipality of the occupied part of Nicosia has become a member of the Europa Nostra
  • [06] Famagusta in Hollywood
  • [07] The commander of the security forces announces an amendment in the military service law and refers to the territorial integrity of the country
  • [08] Sanlidag comments on the issue of the CMC in occupied Karavostasi area
  • [09] KTOS accuses Soyer of governing with instructions
  • [10] Deutsche Bank notes that without the solution of the Cyprus problem many chapters in Turkeys EU accession negotiations will not close
  • [11] Top general to hold contacts in the U.S.
  • [12] Palestinian ambassadors to meet in Ankara
  • [13] Turkish professor sentenced to one year in jail for insulting Ataturk
  • [14] PACE rapporteur on minorities to hold contacts in Turkey
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [15] From the Turkish Press of 28 January 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Former German Chancellor will reportedly visit the occupied areas of Cyprus through the illegal Tymvou airport

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (29.01.08) reports that the former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroder will visit the occupied areas of Cyprus on Friday. Mr Schroder will come to the illegal Tymvou airport through Istanbul.

    The program of Schroder who is a lobbyist for the Russian giant Gasprom is being kept secret, reports the paper adding that the former German Chancellor is expected to remain only for one day in the occupied areas of Cyprus and hold a meeting with officials of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce in occupied Keryneia.

    The paper adds: According to information acquired by Star Kibris, Schroder, who will be accompanied by a group of businessmen, will exchange views on the issue of the investments on the island. The visit, which the former Chancellor will carry out through Tymvou, will mess up the south.

    Meanwhile, Turkish daily Vatan newspaper (28.01.08) reported that the former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroder has paid a surprise visit to Istanbul for a meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan. It added that Schroder met Erdogan in his capacity as Gazprom adviser.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] The TRNC friend won in Germany

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (29.01.08), under the title The TRNC friend won in Germany, reports that occupied north Cyprus has also won in the elections held in the German provinces of Essen and Lower Saxony. In Saxony Filiz Polat was re-elected in the parliament of the province, notes the paper, adding that Mr Polat has visited at least three times the occupied areas of Cyprus through the illegal Tymvou airport and participated in various activities.

    Furthermore, Jurgen Walter, SPDs vice president, is candidate of becoming minister of internal affairs in the new Essen government, continues Star Kibris reminding that Mr Walter visited at least three times the occupied areas of Cyprus last year through the illegal Tymvou airport and hosted the self-styled prime minister Soyer during his visit to the provincial parliament of Essen.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Avci to meet with Joan Ryan in London and deliver a speech at the House of Lords

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.01.08) reports that Turgay Avci, self-styled minister of foreign affairs, who will visit London tomorrow, is expected to meet with Joan Ryan, Prime Minister Gordon Browns special representative for Cyprus. Mr Avci will participate in a meeting about Cyprus at the British Parliament upon an invitation by Lord Maginis.

    The meeting at the House of Lords will take place tomorrow night. Mr Avci will talk about the recent developments in Cyprus and reply to questions. The fact that for the first time in the recent history a TRNC minister will deliver a speech at the British Parliament is accepted as an important development, notes Kibris. The meeting will take place in The Moses Room, which has the capacity of 70 persons.

    British MPs who are interested in Cyprus and Turkey are expected to participate in the meeting, reports the paper adding that Mr Avci will be hosted in a dinner on 1 February at Papageno Restaurant by Yanik Dilek, self-styled representative of the TRNC in London.

    Mr Avci will meet with various civilian organizations and members of the press and depart from Britain on 3 February.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Babacan says that the Turkish side does not accept the arbitration of the EU in the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (29.01.08) reports that Ali Babacan, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, has said the following on the Cyprus problem: We are saying openly the following to the representatives of the European Union: You have accepted the Greek Cypriot sector in the EU and thus you have become a side to the problem. We are no longer accepting your arbitration. We are discussing this issue with the United Nations. Mr Babacan made this statement speaking on the private Kanal 24 television.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] The self-styled municipality of the occupied part of Nicosia has become a member of the Europa Nostra

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.01.08) reports that the self-styled municipality of the occupied part of Nicosia has become a member of the Europa Nostra. In a statement on the issue, the self-styled mayor, Cemal Bulutoglulari pointed out that Nicosia possesses very important historical heritage and that the membership to the Europa Nostra is an important step for carrying these values to the next generations.

    Mr Bulutoglulari said that during the last year they became members of five big international organizations and pointed out that the foreign relations of the municipality plays an undeniable role in the opening of the Turkish Cypriots to the world.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Famagusta in Hollywood

    Turkish Cypriot daily Cyprus Times newspaper (29.01.08), under the title Famagusta in Hollywood, reports, inter alia, the following: The recently released Stones of Famagusta documentary on the historical monuments of the old city of Famagusta was screened at a prestigious film festival in California. Stones of Famagusta is the first North Cyprus film screened at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which is one of the key events on the Hollywood calendar. The documentary sponsored by Gazimagusa municipality [occupied Famagusta], was shown on centre stage during the Festival and was screened again yesterday.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] The commander of the security forces announces an amendment in the military service law and refers to the territorial integrity of the country

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.01.08) reports that major general Mehmet Eroz, commander of the so-called security forces, said yesterday during the oath taking ceremony of the candidates for becoming reserve officers and sergeants that they have submitted to the self-styled government their proposal regarding the draft-law for amending the military service law.

    With this amendment the obligation of those who live and work abroad to serve in the army is postponed until they return permanently to the occupied areas and they can visit the occupied areas without any problems.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (29.01.08) refers to major general Erozs statements during the ceremony and reports that he said: The security forces will be clamping down the forces which have set their eyes on the integrity of the country until they destroy them and protect the legacy of our sacred martyrs forever.

    The paper points out that the general referred to the territorial integrity of the country on an island which is divided. Referring to the Greek Cypriot community, general Eroz said:

    We are faced with a community which rejects the existence of the Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus, their independence and their right of administrating themselves and live humanly and which is looking for the opportunity to throw away the Turkish Cypriots from these lands. According to general Eroz, the ideal of the Turkish Cypriots is to exalt the TRNC and make it live forever.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (29.01.08) refers to the statement of general Eroz regarding the amendment of the law and notes that the exile is over. The paper notes that tens of thousands of people will benefit from this arrangement and this will influence positively the economy, tourism and the population structure of the occupied areas.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Sanlidag comments on the issue of the CMC in occupied Karavostasi area

    Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (29.01.08) reports that Erdogan Sanlidag, self-styled minister of economy and tourism, has said that they will turn the CMC area in occupied Karavostasi into economic asset. In statements to a television program yesterday, Mr Sanlidag said that within the framework of the agreement they have signed with Istanbul Free Port Operator (PORT ISBI), the CMC will be cleaned up and turned into an economic asset.

    He noted that the CMC is one of the greatest environmental problems of the Mediterranean Sea and pointed out that they will clean up this area and give it to the service of the people.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] KTOS accuses Soyer of governing with instructions

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.01.08) reports that Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOS), has criticized the self-styled prime minister Soyer because he reacted to the fact that KTOS met with Serdar Denktas, chairman of the Democratic Party (DP).

    In a written statement issued yesterday, Mr Elcil said that they consider as their duty to meet with political parties and organizations which have as basic target of their struggle the respect to the self-administration of the Turkish Cypriots and their political will.

    Arguing that Mr Soyer worries about this meeting because he fears for his post, Mr Elcil noted, referring to Mr Soyer and the Republican Turkish Party (CTP): We want the following to be known: KTOS is not an organization administered with instructions, like they are.

    He pointed out that they could not accept the fact that lately those who govern north Cyprus for many years with instructions are openly interfering in the internal political life, establish parties and force MPs to resign.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Deutsche Bank notes that without the solution of the Cyprus problem many chapters in Turkeys EU accession negotiations will not close

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.01.08), the report of the Deutsche Bank for 2008 about Turkey reported that progress is expected this year in the relations between Turkey and the EU, but in order for full progress to be achieved the disagreements between the sides on many issues and mainly Cyprus should be overcome. According to Anatolia news agency, without the solution of the Cyprus problem many chapters will not close, even if the negotiation on them begins.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] Top general to hold contacts in the U.S.

    Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (29.01.08) reports the following:

    The Turkish military's second-in-command, Gen. Ergin Saygun, will travel to the US capital this week to participate in a key meeting of Turkish-US defence officials and for talks on bilateral cooperation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) based in northern Iraq.

    While in Washington, Saygun will co-chair the 21st annual bilateral High-Level Defence Group (HLDG) meeting, which was held in Ankara last year. Mary Beth Long Sworn, the US assistant secretary of defence for international security affairs, will co-chair the meeting for the US side, the Anatolia news agency reported Monday.

    The HLDG is described as an annual forum of the most senior decision-makers within the Turkish and US governments, designed to chart the future course of the countries' defence relationship.

    Saygun is also expected to have talks with Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, before his departure for Turkey on Feb.7. Talks between Saygun and Cartwright are likely to focus on ongoing bilateral cooperation between the two countries to eliminate the terrorist threat posed to Turkey by the PKK from Iraqi soil.

    Aerial strikes by the Turkish military against the PKK in northern Iraq have been under way since mid-December. Turkish fighter jets have carried out four strikes since Dec. 16 to hit PKK targets there, in apparent cooperation with the United States.

    Saygun's planned Washington visit is part of considerably intensified diplomatic and military talks between Turkish and US officials. Iraqi officials have also been involved in these talks.

    Only 10 days ago, David M. Satterfield, the George W. Bush administration's Iraq coordinator and senior adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, held talks in Ankara with both government and military officials. Satterfield's unannounced visit to the Turkish capital followed a similar unannounced visit paid earlier the same week by Saygun to Baghdad, where he met with Iraqi and US commanders.

    Saygun visited Baghdad at the invitation of his Iraqi counterpart, Gen. Naseer al-Abadi, a statement posted on the General Staff's Web site said at the time. The two commanders discussed efforts to fight terrorism and long-term military cooperation between the militaries of the two countries, it also said. While in Baghdad Saygun also met with Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of the multinational force in Iraq, for talks on the fight against terror. The two reaffirmed Turkish-US resolve in combating terrorism, the statement noted then.

    Rumours have surrounded Saygun's visit, suggesting that Turkey's plans to launch a wide-scale ground military operation against the PKK bases in northern Iraq during upcoming spring months were the key topic of his agenda in Baghdad.

    As of yesterday, Turkish media covered al-Abadi's remarks on the content of his talks with Saygun as saying that the two had agreed on bilateral military cooperation between Iraq and Turkey.

    Al-Abadi said he was expecting to receive an official invitation to visit Ankara in the upcoming weeks, noting that he would be accompanied by a delegation from the Iraqi Interior Ministry during the visit.

    [12] Palestinian ambassadors to meet in Ankara

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (29.1.08) reports the following:

    Palestinian ambassadors from around the world will gather in Ankara next month to asses Palestine's foreign policy at a meeting led by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki, Palestinian Ambassador to Turkey Nabil Maarouf has said.

    ´This is a meeting that has been planned for almost one year, and it is an initiative taken by the Palestinian side. The Turkish government welcomed our proposal, and eventually we decided to hold this internal meeting of the Palestinian Foreign Ministry in Ankara´, Maarouf told Today's Zaman on Monday.

    Palestinian ambassadors are expected to arrive in the capital city on Feb. 14 for a three-day meeting that will kick off on Feb.15 and be hosted by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will deliver welcoming remarks at the meeting, Maarouf said. The Palestinian visitors are also likely to meet with President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, although no exact meeting has yet been scheduled.

    Ankara, which has been closely following developments in the region with a keen interest in peace in the Middle East, hosted a landmark meeting of Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last fall ahead of a US-sponsored Middle East peace conference held in Annapolis, Maryland.

    The Turkish capital has constantly urged unity among the Palestinian groups for reaching the goal of establishing a Palestinian state, while also warning Israel against stifling the new Middle East peace process, which kicked off after the Annapolis conference with controversial decisions to build new settlements in annexed east Jerusalem.

    Most recently, Babacan once more described ´the dual structure in Palestine´ as one of the most important obstacles to the peace process.

    ´Mahmud Abbas is assuming talks on behalf of the Palestinians but what will happen to Gaza? There is a separate administration there. There is a de facto divided Palestine. This dual structure is one of the most important obstacles to the peace process. Recent developments are extremely harmful for the Annapolis process. The developments are in a way strengthening the hands of those who don't want peace and weakening those who support peace, ´Babacan said in Davos over the weekend while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a summit of the World Economic Forum.

    ´This is putting Mahmud Abbas, who is involved in the peace process, in a difficult position. No doubt missiles targeting Israel from Gaza are extremely wrong. But, on the other hand, operations launched on the people in Gaza [by Israel] are another wrongful [act]. It is also wrong to blockade and impose an embargo on Gaza´, Babacan added, also criticizing Israel's policies.

    Abbas' Fatah party wants a state in the West Bank and Gaza, but Hamas claims a right to all land that is now Israel and opposes Abbas' drive for peace with Israel. Late last year, soon after the Annapolis talks, Babacan warned that failure to unite will result in an element excluded from the process -- Hamas -- harming the peace efforts and said Palestinians must end the division to better serve the Palestinian cause. Asked whether he would give that message to Hamas, he dismissed prospects for any direct talks then, saying Hamas members could probably hear his call. A visit by a Hamas delegation led by Khaled Mashaal to Ankara in 2006 drew fire from Israel, which, like the US, calls Hamas a terrorist organization and refuses talks with it.

    On Monday Mashaal met with Saudi officials in Riyadh as part of a Saudi bid to mediate the return of Gaza, under Israeli blockade, to Palestinian authority control, Saudi and Palestinian officials said. The Syria-based leader of Hamas held talks with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal after arriving in Riyadh on Sunday night, a Saudi source told Reuters news agency. Arab efforts are under way to return control of the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt to the Fatah group of Abbas. Thousands of Palestinians have breached the border in recent days to stock up on supplies because of an Israeli blockade of the territory.

    [13] Turkish professor sentenced to one year in jail for insulting Ataturk

    Turkish daily the New Anatolian newspaper (28.1.08) reports the following:

    A Turkish professor was on Monday handed a suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of insulting the memory of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish.

    A court in Izmir found that Professor Atilla Yayla had insulted Ataturk's memory in comments he made at a panel last year that Turkey was not as politically progressive during the early years of the Turkish republic as is generally thought.

    Yayla had also remarked that as Ankara continued its bid to join the European Union, Europeans would ask why there are so many statues and photographs of Ataturk in Turkey.

    Yayla denied the charges that he had insulted Ataturk and argued that academics must have freedom of speech.

    The academic from Gazi University in Ankara was given a 15- month suspended prison sentence. Prosecutors had sought a five-year prison sentence.

    [14] PACE rapporteur on minorities to hold contacts in Turkey

    Turkish Daily Todays Zaman newspaper (29.01.08) reports the following:

    A Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) rapporteur is scheduled to visit Turkey next week in connection with the drafting of a report on freedom of religion and other human rights for non-Muslim minorities in Turkey and for Muslim minorities in Thrace, PACE announced on its Web site.

    Michel Hunault of PACE's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights will have talks on Wednesday and Thursday both in Ankara and Istanbul with religious dignitaries of various faiths and officials from the Education Ministry and Interior Ministry as well as of the Directorate of Religious Affairs, the announcement said.

    The Treaty of Lausanne, one of the founding treaties of the Turkish Republic, obligates Turkey and Greece to grant and respect a broad array of rights for the Greek minority of Istanbul and the Turkish minority of Western Thrace. Such rights include equality before the law, free exercise of religion, free use of its own language, including in primary schools and control over their own religious affairs.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [15] From the Turkish Press of 28 January 2008

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish Press of 28/01/08 on issues of the current Ankara political agenda:

    a) Ergeneken organization: Under the headline, "Their Goal Was To Touch Off a Turkish-Kurdish Conflict," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report, which asserts that police investigation of the personal computers and files of Retired Brigadier General Veli Kucuk, who has been arrested as part of the recently launched probe against the "terrorist Ergeneken group," has revealed Kucuk to be the leader of a plan to cause a Turkish-Kurdish conflict that would lay the groundwork for a military takeover.

    In word article entitled "Ergeneken" Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that the arguments of "anti-headscarf" circles are serving only to strengthen Prime Minister Erdogan's hand instead of placing the AKP in a difficult position, adding that the latest controversy over the headscarf issue could well have led to a 10 percent increase in the number of women who cover their heads. He also warns that "deep powers continue to challenge" the political authority, that the threat of a coup remains valid, and that unless the Government takes precautions, the "crisis lobby" will start civil disturbances by employing "psychological warfare tactics."

    In an article entitled "Looking at Gangs From the United States" Zaman's Washington correspondent Ali H. Aslan asserts that "Americans who support gang activities in Turkey against the AKP government because they believe that the enemy of my enemy is my friend" are the only group in Washington annoyed by the latest operation against the Ergeneken group. Aslan expresses the hope that "the Turkish and non-Turkish extensions in the United States of gangs like Ergeneken will be smoked out one day." He also claims that two recent moves by the Erdogan government, namely the invitation of Sudanese President Al-Bashir to Ankara and remarks by Prime Minister Erdogan "implying" that the missiles fired from Gaza have not resulted in any Israeli casualties, have played into the hands of "anti-Turkey gangs in the US Congress."

    According to a front-page "news analysis" in Today´s Zaman entitled "Gov't, Opposition Face Critical Test Over Deep Gangs" by Lale Sariibrahimoglu, the political leadership is under criticism by "Turkish security experts" over its lack of determination "in extending a strong backing to prosecutors in their latest attempts to unearth criminal gangs."

    Two former Scientology members Ihsan Goktas and Recep Sipahioglu have been released after being detained for their link to the Ergeneken gang, according to a report in Hurriyet.

    A report in Star says that the investigation into Ergeneken has revealed that the organization received $50 million from abroad in the last five years in the form of donations to the Turkish Orthodox Church. Star report quotes Yeni Safak as saying that the funds were to be used to create a chaotic situation in Turkey through bombings that Ergeneken was even holding talks with the PKK and Dev-Sol in Germany to create turmoil in Turkey, and that some of Ergeneken members were even in contact with the CIA, MOSSAD, and German intelligence BND.

    In a column for Star, Samil Tayyar links Ergeneken's attempt to prepare the ground for a coup in 2009 to the power struggle inside the Army, arguing that the disgruntled officers affiliated with Ergeneken thought if they created a chaotic situation the force commander would be more inclined to approve a military coup. These people had first pinned their hopes on Gen Buyukanit, but seeing that he too was opposing a coup like his predecessor Gen Ozkok, they started pinning their hopes on Gen Ilker Basbug, who is likely to become the next chief of the army during the military promotions in August.

    In his column for Star, Mehmet Altan says that after the end of the Cold War, all NATO countries disbanded counter-guerrilla organizations like Ergeneken, except Turkey, adding that the question in Turkey is whether the Turks will be able to cleanse themselves of the Ittihadist [Young Turk] mentality of conducting state affairs sub rosa. If Turks fail to do so, the suppression of such organizations would only be temporary.

    b) Headscarf issue: An article entitled "What Does the Headscarf Symbolize?", Zaman columnist Ali Bulac disputes the "secularist" argument that the Islamic headscarf is a political symbol. He claims that no women who wear headdresses in compliance with religious rules treat Islamic headgear as a political item because "the ultimate purpose of any prayer or fulfilment of religious obligations is to win God's approval."

    An editorial in Milli Gazete entitled "It is One Thing To Lift the Ban and Quite Another To Cause It To Become Established" warns that the Erdogan government's current proposal for ending the headscarf dispute is set to create a constitutional basis for forbidding women from wearing Islamic headgear, as public officials under the pretext of allowing female university students to cover their heads.

    The AKP [Justice and Development Party] and MHP [Nationalist Action Party] leaders will meet again today to find a legal formula that would lift the ban on headscarf in universities and if a compromise is reached a proposal will be submitted to the parliament this week on amending Articles 10 and 42 of the constitution, says a Cumhuriyet report, adding that President Abdullah Gul's support for referendum on important social issues has added a new dimension to the headscarf debate. The paper quotes CHP [Republican People's Party] deputy leader Mustafa Ozyurek as saying that submitting the basic principles of the republic to referendum will divide the nation, vowing that the CHP will resort to all sorts of struggle, like rallies, to defend the secular republic.

    Addressing a panel organized by BCP [Independent Republic Party] leader Mumtaz Soysal, Sabit Kanadoglu, the honorary chief prosecutor of the Court of Appeal, says, in connection with Gul's intimation that he might submit the amendments on the headscarf to referendum, that the headscarf issue cannot be solved as long as the constitutional articles on secularism remain intact, besides the fact that no referendum could be held on the question of whether sharia could be introduced in the country. Soysal himself warns that if the secular forces fail to defend the republican edifice it will soon be replaced by another political regime, according to a Cumhuriyet report.

    For their talks with the MHP today, the AKP leaders are working on a formula that would allow the wearing of "turban" [this term is now mostly used for the tightly-worn women's headdress, as the loosely-worn "basortusu" is mostly regarded as a non-religious and acceptable traditional headdress of Anatolian women] only in universities while prohibiting the use of other types of attire that are incongruent with the "general morals and laws of the revolution," like "carsaf" [chador], "sarik" [a long cloth wound round the head or an inner hat], and bikini [apparently as a measure against those secular women who are threatening to go to university in bikinis to protest the liberalization of headscarf]. But the women organizations are objecting to the introduction of the term "general morals" into the new law fearing that the AKP might use this vague term to ban miniskirts in universities, says a report in Radikal and a report in Vatan. The Radikal report adds that if the two parties agree on a formula it will first be submitted to the Parliament's constitutional committee for it to examine the formula's compatibility with the first three articles of the constitution that enshrines secular and republican principles. Another Radikal report quotes speaker Koksal Toptan as saying that the motion for amendment will only be allowed if it does not undermine Article 2, but rejects the arguments that the parliament cannot introduce amendments on an issue on which the Constitutional Court has passed a verdict.

    A Milliyet report says that after an initial ban the police allowed female students in Erzurum to enter the lyceum exams with their headscarves, allegedly at the instruction of the Education Ministry. A Radikal report declares that this "turban show" by students also took place in other towns. The report quotes Egitim-Sen [education workers trade union] leader Alaattin Dincer as saying that the turban has already seeped down to the lyceums because the AKP has been turning a blind eye to it. And a Vatan report says that the presence of headscarved sociologist Fatma Karabiyik Barbarosoglu on a TRT program two days ago is an indication that the turban is also making inroads into the public domain [state institutions providing public service to the population].

    In his column for Radikal, Tarhan Erdem declares that by the headscarf gambit Erdogan will bring both secularism and his own career to an end, because having already succumbed to religion he will have no choice but to gradually submit to populist anti-democratic buffoons in his movement, turning Turkey into yet another turbulent Islamic country, like Pakistan.

    After noting that the AKP aims at solving the headscarf issue and winning the local elections and that the MHP is trying to protect the democracy by supporting the solution of the headscarf issue, Mahmut Over says in his column in Sabah that CHP's opposition and the army's silence on the headscarf might still prevent the solution of this problem. He quotes an unnamed "famous" Turkish businessman as saying: "This country is like an anonymous company. The army, CHP, and MHP own 51 percent of it. It is hard to solve any problem in this country without obtaining their permission." MHP's defection from this group might be the reason for the harsh criticism being levelled against it, says the columnist, wondering if the MHP is strong enough to change the minds of the other two shareholders on the headscarf issue.

    In his column for Hurriyet, Fatih Cekirge says that when he put a question on the "turban" issue to an army commander, the latter figuratively zipped his mouth not to vent his anger over this issue. Stating that the army is against the turban but the commander did the right thing by not openly expressing his anger, Cekirge says the Army should indeed not make its views known through the press, as such attempts only generate a bitter public debate on the regime. Noting that the army has banned the turban from military institutions but allows women wearing the Anatolian style headscarf to get treatment in the military hospitals, Cekirge says that the headscarf is where the Army's red line is drawn.

    c) Kurdish issue: Addressing DTP's [Democratic Society Party] Diyarbakir congress, the party's deputy leader and Mardin Deputy Emine Ayna says Abdullah Ocalan's "Democratic Confederalism" is preferable to the American project for the Middle East, according to a Vatan report. Addressing the DTP Ceyhan district congress, DTP member Murat Avci declared that if the doors of the parliament are closed before the Kurds, the latter will pursue politics on the mountains, adding that the Kurds own every inch of the country, will act as "live shields," and continue calling Ocalan "Mr." The prosecutor has opened an investigation into the Ceyhan congress. Hurriyet carries a detailed report on DTP congresses.

    Cumhuriyet reports that there are allegations to the effect that the PKK members fleeing Turkish Army operations are being issued with identities and travel documents of the peshemerga forces affiliated with the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, KDP, adding that according to a secret understanding between the PKK and the KDP, the PKK members will merge with Barzani's peshmergas for protection in case of a Turkish ground offensive.

    In an interview entitled "There Is Resistance and Not Panic," Yeni Ozgur Politika reports on an interview with Dr. Bahoz Erdal, commander of the People's Defence Forces. In the interview Erdal says that the Turkish army's operations is prompting resistance and rage and not panic

    An article in Gundem Online reports on the Democratic Society Party's congress in Diyarbakir. The report recounts that "Emine Ayna, DTP co-chairperson and Mardin deputy, referred to the Greater Middle East project of the United States, asking why 'Mr. Ocalan's Democratic Confederalism alternative is not discussed as an alternative for the Middle East.

    YH/


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