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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-01-31

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 22/08 31.01.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The breakaway regime is preparing to take another decision on the property issue
  • [02] Soyer will send a letter to Olli Rehn and all the member-states of the EU
  • [03] Ihsanoglu stated that there are some initiatives on the issue of the lifting of the isolations of the Turkish Cypriots
  • [04] The Speaker of the TGNA reiterates the view that the solution in Cyprus should be based on the existence of two separate states
  • [05] Ekenoglu says that the Turkish side is expecting the implementation of the decision of the OIC regarding the lifting of the isolations
  • [06] Babacan says that Cyprus will be on the top of their priorities in 2008
  • [07] Babacan to pay an official visit to India
  • [08] Erdogans advisor: Schroder will deliver important messages to Talat and Soyer
  • [09] The CMC area is expected to become a free trade zone after six years
  • [10] The establishment of the Turkish Cypriot Peace Platform has been announced
  • [11] Scotland Yard is holding contacts with the Turkish Cypriot authorities on the issue of the big robbery which took place two years ago in Britain
  • [12] The number of the tourists who visited the occupied areas increased in 2007
  • [13] The Foreign Press Union promises to struggle for the lifting of the isolations of the Turkish Cypriots
  • [14] The martyrs and fighters association briefed a French journalist on the missing persons and the events which happened in Cyprus
  • [15] Turkey is making all efforts for NATO membership of FYROM
  • [16] Turkey did not promise to reopen Halki seminary
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [17] Ergenekon and the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate
  • [18] From the Turkish Press of 31 January 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The breakaway regime is preparing to take another decision on the property issue

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.01.08) reports that the legal and political affairs committee of the self-styled assembly has started discussing a draft-law which will be giving the possibility to the Greek Cypriots to carry out transactions at the TRNC land and surveys department.

    According to the paper, the draft-law will be providing for the necessary procedures and conditions for the persons [Greek Cypriots] who fulfil the above-mentioned conditions and claim rights on a property in the occupied areas of the island to be able to transfer these rights to Turkish Cypriot legal or natural persons.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Soyer will send a letter to Olli Rehn and all the member-states of the EU

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (31.01.08) reports that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer has said that he will send a letter to Olli Rehn, Commissioner responsible for the Enlargement of the EU, and all the member-states of the Union, noting that the Turkish Cypriots have the same rights as the Greek Cypriots to be prepared for the EU procedure and that they want a solution in Cyprus.

    In statements yesterday before entering the meeting of the council of ministers, Mr Soyer said that a committee for the public administration and other procedures will be established in order for the harmonization process on the 12 chapters to be materialized.

    Arguing that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Erato Kozakou Markoulli has visited Brussels expressing her anger on this issue, Mr Soyer claimed:

    If living at EU standards is something which could be done only with the kindness of Mrs Markoulli, it means that the EU is in conflict with its own principles. Therefore, no one will prevent the Turkish Cypriot people from living at EU standards and materializing the solution and moving towards carrying the whole of their country to the EU standards. The statements made recently by Markoulli, the fact that regarding the Financial Aid Regulation she opposes the preparation of the Turkish Cypriot people for the solution, is an indication of opposing the solution. Markoulli is opposing the solution. Because solution means that the Turkish Cypriots are prepared for the process of the two economies living side by side and being integrated with the solution.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Ihsanoglu stated that there are some initiatives on the issue of the lifting of the isolations of the Turkish Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (31.01.08) reports that the general secretary of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has claimed that the isolation implemented on the Turkish Cypriots is unjust and it should be lifted.

    Mr Ihsanoglu replied yesterday to a question of the Anatolian news agency regarding the 5th Conference of OICs Inter-Parliamentary Union. He said on the Cyprus problem:

    The isolations applied on the Turkish Cypriot people are unjust. They must be lifted. There are initiatives for this. Our contacts with the TRNC as OIC continue. There are successes achieved on this issue by our conference.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] The Speaker of the TGNA reiterates the view that the solution in Cyprus should be based on the existence of two separate states

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (31.01.08) reports that the speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), Mr Koksal Toptan, has claimed that the whole world understood that the Turkish Cypriots are not responsible for the non-solution in Cyprus. In statements in Cairo at the meeting where representatives from 47 member-states of the Organization of the Islamic Conferences (OIC) Inter-Parliamentary Union were participating, Mr Toptan alleged:

    The solution will be based on the equality of the two sides on the island, two separate people, two democracies and the existence of two separate states. We hope that the OIC member states will help in the unification of the Turkish Cypriots with the world.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Ekenoglu says that the Turkish side is expecting the implementation of the decision of the OIC regarding the lifting of the isolations

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (31.01.08) reports that the self-styled speaker of the assembly, Mrs Fatma Ekenoglu stated yesterday that as Turkish Cypriots they are expecting the implementation of the decision taken with the Istanbul Declaration towards the lifting of the isolations. In statements in Cairo, she noted that the occupied Famagusta - Latakia port line had started within this framework, but it did not give the expected result.

    She said: This trip was a beginning. The economic connection of the opening of tourism bureaus has not yet started. Therefore, we are expecting cooperation to be made with the Islamic countries within the framework of this decision. The isolations need to be lifted and the Turkish community to be strengthened in order for the solution of the problem between the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot communities to be possible to be materialized.

    The cooperation to be made in the field of economy and tourism will contribute to the solution. The solution will be within the framework of the UN resolutions and under the UN umbrella. It will be a bi-zonal solution based on the political equality of the two communities. Our expectation from the Islamic countries is to take, in a faster manner the steps for the materialization of the decisions taken before.

    Noting that the self-styled ministry of economy and tourism is undertaking initiatives towards the lifting of the isolations, she said that politics work slowly. Mrs Ekenoglu concluded: We must develop the cooperation with the Islamic countries for speeding up this process.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Babacan says that Cyprus will be on the top of their priorities in 2008

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (31.01.08) reports that Ali Babacan, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, has said that the issues of the PKK and Cyprus will be on the top of their priorities in 2008. In statements to Kanal 24 on the program of Mustafa Karaalioglu, Mr Babacan said that Turkey wants a serious negotiations process on Cyprus to start after the elections in the free areas of the island.

    This will be the year during which we will discuss the issues of Cyprus and the Aegean with Athens, in a serious manner and focused on the solution, he said.

    Referring to Turkeys EU accession process, he said that they could not discuss the privileged partnership with the Union.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Babacan to pay an official visit to India

    Turkish Daily News (30.01.08) reports the following from Ankara:

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan is scheduled to pay an official visit to India next week, the first foreign minister to visit the country in 30 years.

    India, with its giant and still developing economy, is not only important in its region but also a key player in the international arena, a high level Turkish diplomat told the Turkish Daily News yesterday.

    That's why this trip, after 30 years, is very important, he said. Babacan will most likely depart for India late Monday or early Tuesday where he will visit the capital city of New Delhi, the financial centre Mumbai and the industrial town of Hyderabad. The last high-level visit was in 2000 by Prime Minister at the time Bulent Ecevit.

    Turkey is a close friend of Pakistan, India's main rival in the region over the disputed Kashmir region.

    Our president recently visited Pakistan, and we have close ties with them... thus there is no need to balance this trip with another one to Islamabad, the same diplomat said.

    Babacan's trip has two aims, according to diplomats. One is to strengthen bilateral political ties and the other is to explore new ways to boost economic and trade ties.

    In New Delhi, Babacan will meet with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee and will be received by the country's top leaders. During the meeting the two ministers are expected to sign economic agreements.

    In Mumbai and Hyderabad, Babacan will meet with Indian businessmen and visit some important sites. He is expected to stress to his Indian counterparts the need to increase imports from Turkey to balance the trade deficit between the two countries. The trade deficit is more than $1.5 billion, to Turkey's disadvantage.

    During his visit Babacan will also introduce Turkey's newly appointed ambassador to New Delhi, Levent Bilman. Bilman, current spokesperson of the ministry, will replace Ambassador Halil Akinci who has been appointed to Moscow.

    [08] Erdogans advisor: Schroder will deliver important messages to Talat and Soyer

    Illegal Bayrak television (30.01.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Cuneyt Zapsu, an advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said that the former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroders visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is not only a symbolic political visit, but a move which will lead to important results.

    Mr Zapsu will accompany Mr Schroder during his TRNC visit, which is to start on Friday.

    Mr Zapsu told BRT that the former German Chancellor will give an important message by using Ercan [occupied Tymvou] Airport to enter into the TRNC and by visiting President Mehmet Ali Talat at the Presidential Palace.

    The advisor added that Mr Schroder will also be bringing important messages to President Talat and Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer.

    Stating that Mr Schroder will arrive in the TRNC with a large group of German businessmen, he said a meeting will be held at the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce between Turkish Cypriot and German businessmen.

    `So Mr Schroeders visit will not only be a symbolic visit, but one which will lead to important results`, he noted.

    [09] The CMC area is expected to become a free trade zone after six years

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (31.01.08) reports that the Cyprus Free Zone & Marine Logistics Ltd (portISBI), which has leased the CMC area in occupied Karavostasi in order to rehabilitate it and afterwards to operate it as a free port, continues its works.

    According to the agreement, the rehabilitation should be completed in six years and the target afterwards is for the area to become a free trade zone. Enver Bildir, chairman of the Environment and Advertising Association of occupied Lefka described the works as positive and hopeful. PortISBI held a briefing last week regarding the rehabilitation works.

    Hakan Dincerler, chairman of the administrative council of portISBI said that their priority is to clean the CMC area up and then turn it into a trade zone, something which is the companys main business.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] The establishment of the Turkish Cypriot Peace Platform has been announced

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (31.01.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Peace Platform has been established by seven organizations and three political parties in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The establishment of the platform was announced yesterday at a press conference in the occupied part of Nicosia. The main target of the platform is to express the political will of the Turkish Cypriots, notes the paper adding that the following are included among the targets of the organization:

    Taking back the political will of the Turkish Cypriots which has been usurped by changing the demographic structure, abolishing chauvinism, nationalism and the cultural, political and economic assimilation of the Turkish Cypriots, opposing the interference from abroad, establishing a democratic and transparent civilian administration based on the political will of the Turkish Cypriots, creating without delay a United Federal Cyprus based on the will of the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots.

    The political parties, which participate in the organization, are the Social Democrat Party (TDP), the United Cyprus Party (BKP) and the New Cyprus Party (YKP). The following trade unions and organizations participate in the platform: Cyprus EU Platform, Primary and Secondary School Teachers Trade Union, KTOS and KTOEOS respectively, Eastern Mediterranean University Unity and Solidarity Trade Union (DAU - Bir - Sen), Cyprus Publishers Union (Kib-Yay) and Public Workers Trade Union (CAG SEN). It was announced that the Peace Platform will not participate in the This Country is Ours Platform (BMBP) and that those who joined the new Platform will not withdraw from the BMBP.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] Scotland Yard is holding contacts with the Turkish Cypriot authorities on the issue of the big robbery which took place two years ago in Britain

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (31.01.08) reports that according to the well-known British The Times newspaper, in an effort for Sean Lupton and the two Turkish Cypriot brothers who are suspects for conducting the biggest robbery of the century in Britain, Scotland Yard is holding contacts with the Turkish Cypriot authorities. The paper reports that the officials in the occupied areas said nothing on the information that the money has been laundered in purchasing villas in the occupied areas.

    In addition, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (31.01.08) reports that referring to the same issue, the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer argued that the allegation that the 32 million pounds sterling are in the occupied areas of Cyprus are not true. The British police came here six months ago and held meetings, he said in statements to the illegal TAK news agency, noting that the British police met with the self-styled police and carried out investigations in the occupied areas. Mr Soyer argued that the above-mentioned persons have not entered or exited the occupied areas and have no relation with the TRNC.

    Under the title The burglars of the century never entered the TRNC, Hurriyets (31.01.08) correspondent in occupied Cyprus, Omer Bilge, reports that the English Scotland Yard Police conveyed to the TRNC police the names of the two British and their two Turkish Cypriot collaborators who are involved in the big robbery which took place two years ago in the UK, from the store of the security firm named Securitas. The paper writes that the official demand was conveyed secretly because England does not recognise the TRNC. In the English police application, it is suspected that the 47-years-old Sean Lupton with the 50-years-old Scottish Richard Monroe escaped to the TRNC with 32 million pounds sterling, of the money of the robbery. The Turkish Cypriots Huseyin and Mustafa Basar are believed to be involved in the affair as well.

    The paper writes that the TRNC police after a research it conducted in the computer data of the illegal Ercan airport and the ports in occupied Cyprus, did not find any data for the entry in occupied Cyprus of the names of the British burglars given by the English police. Data for the entry or the departure from the island of the two Turkish Cypriots were not found as well. The police are investigating whether the persons used false identity cards for entering occupied Cyprus.

    (ITs/CS)

    [12] The number of the tourists who visited the occupied areas increased in 2007

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (31.01.08), the report for the tourism of the occupied areas for 2007 has been announced. According to a statement issued by the ministry of economy and tourism, the number of the tourists who visited the occupied areas from abroad increased by 10.5 % in 2007 in comparison with 2006.

    Furthermore, an increase was also recorded in the number of the persons who spent the night in the hotels, which went up by 14.8 % in 2007 comparing to 2006.

    According to the report, the number of the tourists from Germany increased from 4% of the total number of the foreign tourists during the past years, to 13% in 2007.

    (I/Ts.)

    [13] The Foreign Press Union promises to struggle for the lifting of the isolations of the Turkish Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.01.08) reports that the new administrative council of the Foreign Press Union, which was elected on 19 January 2008, paid yesterday a courtesy visit to the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

    The delegation was headed by the chairman of the union, Mesut Gunsev, who told Mr Talat that the Union will continue to carry out its mission of making the voice of the country heard to the world in a correct and a fast manner. He said that they will continue their duty of struggling for the interests of the Turkish Cypriots and the lifting of the isolations.

    Mr Talat said that his complaints concern the manipulations that derive from the Greek Cypriot side and argued that it is their duty to inform the press so that it does not become a victim of manipulations.

    [14] The martyrs and fighters association briefed a French journalist on the missing persons and the events which happened in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.01.08) reports that the French journalist named Guillaume Perrier has met with the so-called martyrs and fighters association and asked questions to the chairman of the association, Ertan Arsan on the issue of the missing persons and the events in Cyprus.

    According to a statement issued by the association, Mr Arsan gave the French journalist a DVD on the Crimes in Cyprus and a brochure showing the situation of the Turkish Cypriot graveyards in the free areas of the island.

    (I/Ts.)

    [15] Turkey is making all efforts for NATO membership of FYROM

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.01.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Chief of Turkish General Staff General Yasar Buyukanit said Wednesday that the most important problem in terms of security in the Balkans is Kosovo.

    A military act that would pose a threat to security would have an affect on the whole region and cause difficulties in other countries, Gen. Buyukanit noted.

    Macedonian [FYROM] Defence Minister Lazar Elenovski paid a visit to Gen. Buyukanit at the General Staff HQ in Ankara on Wednesday.

    Speaking to the press prior to the meeting Gen. Buyukanit indicated: It is our wish to see Macedonia living in peace and welfare. As you know, Balkans is a very sensitive part of the Europe. In the recent past, we have witnessed great pain in the Balkans.

    Meanwhile, Macedonian Defence Minister Lazar Elenovski said: We expect an invitation (from NATO to become a member of the military organization) --just as Albania and Croatia do. The support extended to us from Turkey is extremely important. If there is one thing we want in the region, it would be peace.

    Upon comments by Elenovski, Gen. Buyukanit said that there are excellent military relations between Turkey and Macedonia.

    It is our wish to see Macedonia in European and Atlantic organizations. I sincerely hope that Macedonia will soon become a member to NATO. We cannot think of a NATO without the participation of Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia- Herzegovina, emphasized Gen. Buyukanit.

    The most important current problem in the Balkans, from the perspective of security, is Kosovo. Last April, for the first time, the chiefs of general staff of nine Balkan countries came together for a meeting and established a new forum. The goals of the forum were to place security issues on discussion table, to find joint solutions, and increase military cooperation among Balkan countries. The meeting of Balkan countries chiefs of general staffs in 2008 will take place in Turkey in July, Gen. Buyukanit noted.

    Turkish Minister of National Defence Vecdi Gonul said Wednesday Turkey is making all efforts to make Macedonia a NATO member.

    Macedonian Defence Minister Lazar Elenovski paid a visit to Gonul at his office in Ankara on Wednesday.

    Speaking to the press prior to his meeting with Elenovski, Gonul stressed that not only the states of Turkey and Macedonia but also their peoples have good relations. We want to see Macedonia as a NATO member, Gonul stressed.

    Meanwhile, Elenovski told that his country wants to work with Turkey in regional initiatives.

    [16] Turkey did not promise to reopen Halki seminary

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30/01/08) reports the following from Ankara:

    A spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry denied a news report, which alleged that Turkey vowed Greece to re-open a seminary on Heybeliada, Istanbul.'Turkey made no pledges to Greece concerning the re-opening of Heybeliada seminary and the Turkish Foreign Ministry did not send any memo to Chief of General Staff', the spokesman said in a written statement on Wednesday.The spokesman said Turkey's Higher Education Board and the Ministry of Education have been assessing possibility of re-opening of the seminary, adding that a decision has yet to be made on the issue.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [17] Ergenekon and the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate

    Under the title, Ergenekon gang-linked bogus Turkish Patriarchate in spotlight, Todays Zaman (31/01/08) publishes the following:

    A self-declared "Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate" that is based in Istanbul has neither a congregation nor a spiritual base and has turned out to be a creation of the Turkish state together with some members of the Greek Orthodox community in Turkey in the 1920s when parts of Anatolia were invaded by the Greeks.

    As Sevgi Erenerol, who bears the title "media and public relations officer of the Independent Patriarchate," remains in custody as part of last week's arrests in efforts to deal with shadowy networks within the state, the political role of the church she claims to represent has come to light.

    The Turkish-speaking Karamanli Greek community of Cappadocia in Anatolia supported the Turks during the War of Independence, said Elcin Macar, the author of "Istanbul Rum Patrikhanesi" (Istanbul Greek Patriarchate, 2003) and a professor at Yildiz Technical University's department of political science and international relations.

    "Supporting the struggle of Turkish nationalists during the war, Father Eftim was a village priest and had no place in the hierarchy among other churches. He was preaching in Turkish although he was Greek Orthodox," he said.

    Originally Pavlos Karahisarithis, Eftim was his religious name, and he later changed it to Zeki Erenerol. He is the great grandfather of Sevgi Erenerol.

    "Even though he was married, Eftim became the preacher of a village church out of necessity and later became the leader of the patriarchate in Kayseri in 1922 under the name the 'Independent Patriarchate of the Turkish Orthodox'," Macar said.

    But as the population exchange took place between Greeks and Turks, his small congregation in the area moved out of the country; Eftim and his family were exempted from the population exchange and moved to Istanbul in 1924, together with the patriarchate, Macar explained.

    Father Eftim gained some followers in Galata, an area with a large Greek population.

    Macar said Father Eftim was hostile to the Greek Patriarchate and claimed that the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul was ethnically cantered and favoured the Greek population. However, most of the ethnic Turkish Orthodox in Turkey and Greece remain affiliated with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul.

    In 1962 when Father Eftim was ill, his son Turgut (George) Erenerol was ordained as "Turkish Orthodox patriarch," taking the name Eftim II. The father died in 1968 and the Greek Orthodox Church refused to bury him in the Greek Orthodox cemetery, located in the Sisli district of Istanbul. The funeral proceeded only after an intervention by state authorities and was attended by Turkish dignitaries.

    "Every time a member of this family dies, the burial of the deceased has required the Turkish state's intervention," Macar said. "The patriarchate is a title shared only by members of the Erenerol men in the family. They are married and still take the title against Christian tradition and rules."

    Eftim II died in 1991 and again no priest wanted to conduct the funeral. His brother Selcuk Erenerol ascended to the patriarchate taking the name Eftim III. He died in 2002.

    Sevgi Erenerol, the daughter of Selcuk Erenerol and the sister of Pasa Erenerol (the current Eftim IV), was arrested last week for alleged links to a Turkish nationalist underground organization named "Ergenekon." According to allegations, the Turkish patriarchate serves as a headquarters for the organization.

    Known for her nationalist activities, she ran for Parliament as a candidate of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) at the time of MHP leader Alparslan Turkes. She also showed up at trials based on Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which restricts freedom of speech, to support the prosecution of those who stood accused of violating the article.

    Macar said today that the number of followers in the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate is close to zero, excluding the Erenerol family, which governs the patriarchate.

    The family owns a number of properties which belong to the "Independent Turkish Orthodox Foundation" around two churches in Galata, St. Nicholas and Panayia Kafatiani, both inactive.

    When it comes to potential "patriarchs" in the family, Macar said there are Selcuk Erenerol's sister's sons Umit and Erkin Kontoglu as well as Turgut Erenerol's son Timur Erenerol.

    "In an interview, Turgut Erenerol said, 'My father damaged my future, but I won't do the same for my son'," Macar said, adding, "So far, it seems like the patriarchate is a family dynasty."

    On the same issue, Istanbul NTV Online (27/01/08) reported the following in its internet site, under the title:Ergenekon was Headquartered in Turkish Orthodox Church:

    Ergenekon, a terrorist organization who caused retired Brigadier General Veli Kucuk to be sent to jail although he had not been even interrogated in connection with previous allegations that he had been implicated in many suspicious incidents, has reportedly used the Independent Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate as its headquarters. It was also alleged that "independent" Turkish Patriarchate which has not been recognized by other churches was responsible for managing the organization's funds. Surprisingly, the organization was also linked to the Church of Scientology which has famous actor Tom Cruise among its members. A person only identified as I.G., his initials, was detained because of his close ties with the members of Ergenekon.

    Relationship between Ergenekon and Erenerol was discovered as a result of the interrogation. Taraf reported their connection under the banner headline "Ergenekon Church" and said that the church was being used by the organization for holding meetings.

    According to Yeni Safak, $50 million sent to Ergenekon from another country was received by Erenerol, ostensibly as a "donation to the church." Yeni Safak reported that meetings held by the organization at the patriarchate were monitored by means of wiretapping devices and cameras installed by two secret agents who infiltrated into the group. Meanwhile, Hurriyet reported that the Independent Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate was serving as the organization's headquarters and trustee.

    Subtitle: Ergenekon's members were among the Church's congregation

    Taraf also highlighted the history of the Turkish Orthodox Church. According to the report, the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate was established by Eftim Erenerol in 1922. His son, Turgut Erenerol, succeeded him as Eftim II after his death in 1965. Selcuk Erenerol became the third Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate after Turgut Erenerol's death. Selcuk Erenerol died in 2002 and his son, Umit Erenerol, succeeded him. Sevgi Erenerol, who was born in 1952 and studied journalism and public relations in France after finishing high school in Turkey, started her own business after her return to Turkey and was appointed spokesperson of the Patriarchate when his father was elected as patriarch following the death of her uncle in 1991. Erenerol was nominated by the Nationalist Action Party for Parliament during Alparslan Turkes's leadership.

    Subtitle: It has three churches

    Observers say that the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate, which has not been recognized by other churches because the members of the Eftim family did not receive theological education, they elect their patriarch who should rather be elected by Sacred Synod, and patriarchs can marry, was supported by the government against Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. The patriarch has three churches but no congregation.

    Panagia Kafatiani Church in Karakoy is the headquarters of the Patriarchate. The church which was seized by Pope Eftim from Istanbul Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in 1924 was not returned despite various lawsuits instituted since then. Hagios Nikolaos Church which is also located in Karakoy has been administered by the Patriarchate since 1965. Hagios Ioannes Prodroms Church in Karakoy was taken over by the Patriarchate in 1965 and it is currently being used by Orthdodox Syriacs.

    [18] From the Turkish Press of 30 January 2008

    a) Headscarf Issue:

    In Hurriyet, Ertugrul Ozkok praises the Justice and Development Party (AKP) Nationalist Action Party (MHP) decision to differentiate among the various styles of tying the headscarf, and says a photograph of the allowed version -- the conventional non-religious way -- should be posted at the entrance of the universities, to make it easier for the public and the security personnel at the gates. Those young women who insist on wearing it in the style of Islamic headdress will then be turned back from the university gate, he says if the government is sincere regarding this issue. In his commentary, Ozkok stresses that this will be a test of the prime minister's and the government's sincerity and honesty in connection with the headscarf issue. The second part of his article is devoted to a question-and-answer session with Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek who assures Ozkok that young women wearing their headscarves in the style of Islamic headdress will not be allowed into the universities; that female students will not be allowed to cover their heads in elementary schools or high schools; and that female civil servants will not be allowed to cover their heads.

    On his part also in Hurriyet, Bekir Coskun, mocks the differentiation between the various styles of headscarf tying, and says the government is mocking the people. In a commentary, he warns that the AKP will lead the country along an anti-secularist path step by step.

    In a commentary in Milliyet, Fikret Bila analyzes the legal and constitutional aspects of the ban. He argues that the Constitutional Court will have to review the accord reached by the AKP and the MHP, and the Court may or may not approve the said accord.

    Writing also in Milliyet, Taha Akyol criticizes Deniz Baykal, head of the main opposition Republican People's Party, (CHP), for inciting paranoia and confrontation by referring to the Islamic headdress as a "foreign uniform." In an article, Akyol faults him for incriminating young women who wear the headdress, and points out that the AKP-MHP accord does not lift the ban on the Islamic headdress, but simply allows the wearing of what Baykal calls "our grandmothers' headscarf." The columnist praises Professor Ozbudun, an expert who is drafting the new Constitution, for warning that the constitutional change should include the provision that the headscarf can be worn only in universities, to preclude its spreading to lower schools, and public offices.

    Miliyet's Guneri Civaoglu praises Professor Ozbudun for keeping the government in check regarding the amendments to the headscarf ban, but says that things may still get out of hand in the future, and the Islamic headdress may spread uncontrolled. In an article, the columnist argues that those who think that the secularists are atheists are the ruling forces now. Civaoglu maintains that the Ergenekon operation against the eponymous criminal gang is being conducted at a time when the government seeks constitutional amendments to lift the headscarf ban, because the Ergenekon gang includes many retired high-level military officers. "Objections to the lifting of the headscarf ban are least likely to come now," he columnist charges, "because of the operation." He concludes: "The AKP knows very well what curtain to open and what curtain to close in politics."

    In an editorial in Sabah, Erdal Safak voices his concern that lifting the headscarf ban in universities will lead to de facto pressure, especially outside the big cities, forcing all young women to wear the headscarf. Safak recalls a Le Monde story on a case in Morocco where all woman teachers and woman students cover their heads today, whereas only one teacher used to do so in that same school 20 years ago. He urges Prime Minister Erdogan to make sure that another provision is added to the amendment calling for respect to the freedom of those who do not cover their heads.

    Nazli Ilicak ridicules the decision to allow one style of headscarf tying and banning others in an article in Sabah. She wonders how Turkey will be able to explain this to the Western world. "If the young women tie their headscarves on their nape, they will be considered opposed to the secular republic; if they tie the headscarves under the chin, they will look like grandmothers," she notes.

    Writing also in Sabah, Ergun Babahan criticizes the decision to legitimize one style of headscarf tying. In an article, he says "you either view the issue in terms of liberties and you call for lifting the ban; you may also view it in terms of the liberty of faith, and you call for the legitimization of the religious attire; or you may view the issue solely in terms of secularism in which case you call for its ban. No matter why you defend liberties, you cannot interfere in the exact way the headscarf is going to be tied." Anyway, he adds, once this amendment goes into force, nobody will be able to properly check how the headscarf is tied at the entrance to universities.

    In his editorial in Vatan, Gungor Mengi expresses his concern that if not Erdogan himself, other members of the AKP will eventually push for lifting the headscarf ban in elementary schools, high schools, and public service. The columnist voices his relief that the final decision about lifting the ban in universities will be up to the Constitutional Court.

    Necati Dogru, another Vatan columnist, describes the decision to lift the ban as "the victory of the religious sects." In a commentary, Dogru voices his fear that "today it will be the universities, tomorrow the high schools, the next day the elementary and secondary schools." "Turkey has entered a new era," the columnist laments, "and this will lead to the black chador and the veil... A very deep economic crisis will lead the oligarchy of the religious sects in our country to turn Turkey into an Afghanistan, Malaysia, Sudan, or Iran. Those countries have the following characteristic: they set up a religious oligarchy, they turn religion into opium, and they rule the poor."

    Cuneyt Arcayurek of Cumhuriyet argues that the secular regime received another blow with the AKP-MHP accord. In a commentary, the columnist wonders if MHP leader Bahceli failed to see the Prime Minister's real intentions. Arcayurek fears that the headscarf ban is soon to be lifted in elementary and secondary schools.

    b) US Plan To Build Nuclear Plant in Turkey:

    Yeni Ozgur Politika carries a column by Gunay Aslan, who says that the American plan to build nuclear plants in Turkey actually aims at turning Turkey into a nuclear weapons base, especially against Iran. He also sees the invitation of PM Erdogan to the security conference in Germany as part of American and European policy to augment Turkey as energy corridor to break Russia's monopoly on energy, pending the solution of the Iranian problem. Noting that in the face of Russian reluctance to let Turkey become an energy corridor the Western countries are planning to eventually turn Iran into an energy corridor by subjugating it to their will, the columnist says the Turkish Army has willingly accepted to be the guardian of Western interests in the region as long as its dominance in Turkey and suppression of Turkish and Kurdish peoples are not questioned.

    In an article entitled "The new name of separatism: Those who receive services and those who provide them", Vakit columnist Serdar Demirel calls on the Government not to allow any distinction to be made between public service providers and public service users in carrying out its plan to lift the headscarf ban, arguing that such a distinction would be contrary both to Islamic principles and secular practices apart from creating a constitutional basis for forbidding the wearing of Islamic headdresses in the public sphere.

    In an article entitled "Calm before the storm", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak warns of what he refers to as possible clashes at a number of universities that could be instigated in a bid to prepare the ground for a coup. In urging the Government to press ahead with the latest investigation against "deep forces," he reminds the Government of the saying that "if you draw your gun, you should fire it or risk being shot yourself."

    Yeni Ozgur Politika carries a column by Gunay Aslan, who says that the American plan to build nuclear plants in Turkey actually aims at turning Turkey into a nuclear weapons base, especially against Iran. He also sees the invitation of PM Erdogan to the security conference in Germany as part of American and European policy to augment Turkey as energy corridor to break Russia's monopoly on energy, pending the solution of the Iranian problem. Noting that in the face of Russian reluctance to let Turkey become an energy corridor the Western countries are planning to eventually turn Iran into an energy corridor by subjugating it to their will, the columnist says the Turkish Army has willingly accepted to be the guardian of Western interests in the region as long as its dominance in Turkey and suppression of Turkish and Kurdish peoples are not questioned.

    /ES


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