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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-05-09

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. 87/08 09.05.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] New organization in the occupied areas. Its first statement
  • [02] The Turkish Cypriot leader briefs political parties on developments
  • [03] Talat said that the EU should continuously encourage the Greek Cypriots for a Cyprus settlement and also the Turkish Cypriots to keep their desire for a solution alive
  • [04] Avci continues his contacts in Ankara
  • [05] The New Cyprus Party (YKP) organized a panel on the Population structure in north Cyprus and calls the transfer of population from Turkey war crime
  • [06] Izzet Izcan called on Mr Talat to form a working group on the population problem
  • [07] Afrika reports more on the issue of the awarding of the tender of the occupied Lefkonoiko airport
  • [08] News about the activities of the illegal universities in occupied Cyprus
  • [09] Two Turkish Cypriot football teams will participate in the The bet arena London cup, which will take place in the UK
  • [10] Opinion poll: Turkeys ruling AKP loses ground
  • [11] Buyukanit: We have no need for advice from Olli Rehn
  • [12] Turkey was introduced as an investment potential to Chinese investors
  • [13] Turkey plans to increase its revenue from the tourism sector to $30 billion
  • [14] Turkey's new satellite 'Turksat 3A' to be launched on 24 May
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [15] From the Turkish Press of 08 May 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] New organization in the occupied areas. Its first statement

    Turkish Cypriot newspapers Gunes, Halkin Sesi, Bakis, Volkan, Sozcu, Vatan and Star Kibris (09.05.08), report about the establishment of a new organization, the Turkish Cypriot National Existence Council (Kibris Turk Milli Varolus Konseyi) (MVK)

    The papers publish the first founding statement / Manifesto of the MVK. It states the following: The hundred and fifty-years old noble struggle of the Turkish Cypriot people, who are an indivisible part of the Great Turkish Nation, that fought for its rights and freedoms that lived independent through the history, is going through its most critical stages.

    Our homeland is the target of the Hellenic Imperialisms cast model MEGALI IDEA. The ENOSIS, decision taken in the Greek Cypriot Assembly in the South under AKELs leadership in 1967, is still in force.

    With a view to not permitting, for the sake of the United Cyprus obsession, the liquidation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is the greatest achievement of our struggle, safeguarding the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people over the island as being one of the two equal nations and defending the rights and interests over the island of our glorious motherland Turkey. With a view to keeping alive the national resistance response of the Turkish Cypriot people against all kinds of domestic and foreign pressure, not coming again face to face with massacres like the 21 December bloody Christmas, not permitting the Turkish Cypriot people falling into the grave mistake of 24 April 2004, taking the initiative as the Turkish Cypriot People, the National Existence Council has been established on 29 April 2008 in order to make our people conscious, and to raise our peoples preparation level.

    The MVK will defend at whatever cost, without any concession, the following red lines against all kinds of domestic and foreign imposition during the on going negotiation process on the Cyprus problem:

    1) Existence of two equal, sovereign Peoples having right to self determination.

    2) The equality of two sovereign States.

    3) Bizonality which will not be watered down. Limitation by law of the freedom of Movement and settlement and securing from the EU permanent derogations which will be an indivisible whole of the treaty.

    4) Continuation of Turkeys effective and active quarantorship (including right to unilateral intervention) (Updating the Turkish and Greek Forces which will continue to be deployed in the island)

    5) To accept the possible agreement as primary law of the EU (the agreement will not be subject for recourse before the EU and any other International Judicial Institutions).

    6) The full realization of the EU membership of the Turkish Cypriot side should be synchronous with that of Turkeys full membership. However, harmonization work with the EU should be carried out in parallel to that of Turkey.

    7) To secure a comprehensive and viable solution (To refrain from peacemeal solution efforts)

    8) To put a possible agreement into separate referenda by the two peoples.

    9) The property issue should be taken up globally. Solution of it through compensation and exchange should be considered. Law suits regarding the property issues should be suspended.

    10) Under no condition should the separation of the TRNC citizens, according to their place of birth or on this issue stipulations that recall arrangements in the Annan Plan, be accepted.

    To say YES to these Red Lines of ours is the basis of the existence of the honorable stance of the Turkish Cypriot people.

    The MVK continues its organizational work all over the TRNC. Its views regarding political developments will be made known by subsequent statements.

    It is hereby announced to the International Public and the Turkish Cypriot People the struggle for a free, honorable, secure life and future under the roof of its STATE and under the Motherland Turkeys guarantee.

    CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL EXISTENCE COUNCIL

    (MHY)

    [02] The Turkish Cypriot leader briefs political parties on developments

    Illegal Bayrak television (08.05.08) broadcast the following:

    Its been announced that President Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias will meet on the 23rd of May to evaluate the work being carried out by working groups and technical committees.

    The announcement was made by Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer following the Presidents speech in an extraordinary session of the Parliament today on the latest developments concerning the Cyprus issue.

    Mr Soyer expressed the strong willingness towards the start of the comprehensive negotiations process between the two leaders in June under the UN guidance, as agreed in the 21st March agreement, in order to find a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.

    The Premier reiterated the Turkish Cypriot sides commitment for a solution based on political equality, bi-zonality and the establishment of a partnership by two constituent states under the UN parameters.

    Also speaking at the end of the closed session, the Leader of the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) Tahsin Ertugruloglu said the 8th July process-which he described as wrong- is continuing and claimed that the Turkish Cypriot side is trying to put the process forward under the lack of proper preparation and experience as the red lines have not been set.

    Pointing out that the Greek Cypriot side has not changed its policies on the Cyprus problem, UBP Leader expressed the view that the unsuccessful process which has been going on for 40 years is just being maintained.

    Deputy Leader of the Freedom and Reform Party and the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Mustafa Gokmen stated that working groups and technical committees are working in good faith in order to overcome the difficulties faced in critical subject-areas such as the property and population.

    Mr Gokmen emphasized that the Turkish Cypriot side will continue its efforts towards maintaining the works for a solution.

    For his part, the Communal Democracy Party MP Mustafa Akinci stated that the 21st March is a very new process and it will not be much possible to make a successful evaluation of it so far.

    Also speaking after the session, the Leader of the Democrat Party Serdar Denktas announced that his party will explain in writing its views on the latest developments on the Cyprus issue to President Talat and the Speaker of the Parliament Fatma Ekenoglu in the coming days.

    However, Mr Denktas also claimed that the pattern which is being followed is far from reaching the sensitivities of all sides of the society.

    The Parliament will convene again on the 15th of May, Thursday when President Talat will listen to the views of leaders and representatives of political parties on the Cyprus issue.

    Yesterday, the two leaders of Cyprus met at a special reception held at the Ledra Palace Hotel in the capital, hosted by the Slovakian Embassy, which has been organizing round table meetings for Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot political parties.

    No statement was issued after the meeting but the two leaders are said to have agreed to continue their talks.

    TAK News Agency said that Talat and Christofias agreed on the need to continue their discussions and shared this view with representatives of Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot political parties and other guests attending the reception.

    [03] Talat said that the EU should continuously encourage the Greek Cypriots for a Cyprus settlement and also the Turkish Cypriots to keep their desire for a solution alive

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (09.05.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce hosted a ceremony last night at the Saray Hotel in occupied Lefkosia on the occasion of Europe Day on May 9. Speaking at the ceremony, Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat said the EU should continuously encourage the Greek Cypriots, who have lost their motivation for a Cyprus settlement and also the Turkish Cypriots to keep their desire for a solution alive. Talat reminded the audience that EU membership is a sought-after goal fuelling the Turkish Cypriots desire for a solution. He added that the EU should take this reality under consideration and should offer the necessary support to the Turkish Cypriots desires and goals.

    Noting that the Cyprus problem is one of the important problems of the region and the world, Talat said that when the Greek Cypriot Administration joined the EU, the Cyprus problem also became an EU problem, adding: It is natural and necessary that the EU should show keen interest in the Cyprus problem.

    Talat stressed that in the upcoming process, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have the need for EU and world support. He also said that the EU had made a serious mistake by accepting the Greek Cypriots as EU members without first achieving a Cyprus settlement. As a result, the motivation of the Greek Cypriot Administration to reach a Cyprus settlement has diminished.

    (DPS)

    [04] Avci continues his contacts in Ankara

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (09.05.08) reports that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci, who is currently in Ankara, met yesterday with the State Minister, responsible for Cyprus, Cemil Cicek. At the meeting which lasted about an hour, Avci and Cicek discussed the economic situation in Cyprus, the openings taken on higher education and the projects between Turkey and TRNC which are on the agenda. Engin Solakoglu, the Chairman of the Cyprus Department at the Turkish Foreign Ministry and Mustafa Lakadamyali, secretary at the TRNC embassy in Ankara were present at the meeting. Speaking after the meeting Mr Avci stated that he had a useful meeting with Mr Cicek.

    The self-styled foreign minister will participate in a working lunch to be given in his honor by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ali Babacan, today. He will also meet with the Culture and Tourism Minister, Ertugrul Gunay.

    (CS)

    [05] The New Cyprus Party (YKP) organized a panel on the Population structure in north Cyprus and calls the transfer of population from Turkey war crime

    Turkish Cypriot weekly Yeni Cag newspaper (09.05.08) reports that the New Cyprus Party (YKP) organized a panel discussion on Thursday about the Population structure in north Cyprus. The common conclusion which came out of the Panel, which took place at the Arabahmet Culture Center in occupied Lefkosia, was that the population which was brought from Turkey was aimed at changing the democratic structure in north Cyprus, it is in violation of the Geneva Convention and the International Law and this action is a war crime.

    The persons who addressed the Panel were Albay Durduran, the Foreign Relations Secretary of YKP, Mete Hatay, researcher of the International Peace Research Institute, Dr Mehmet Hasguler and the Sociologist- Researcher Muharrem Faiz.

    Speaking at the Panel Mr Durduran stated: The population which is nearly 590 thousands at this point constitute the biggest obstacle in front of the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    On his part, Mr Hatay stated: An important part of the population which was brought to Cyprus, are the people whose houses were flooded under the water dams which were built in Turkey.

    Researcher Mr Hasguler said: Today Cyprus is still under the status of ceasefire and the transfer of population is against the international law and constitutes an obstacle to the Turkish Cypriots self determination.

    Finally, Mr Faiz stated that what is happening is a forced transfer of population which is watering down the democratic and ethnic structure in north Cyprus.

    (CS)

    [06] Izzet Izcan called on Mr Talat to form a working group on the population problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (09.05.08), under the title A working group on the population must be formed, reports that the General Secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) Izzet Izcan called on Mr Talat to form a working group on the population problem. Izcan, in an announcement issued by the BKP press office, said Talats statements that the issue of people transferred from Turkey to the northern part of Cyprus is non-negotiable are unacceptable.

    Mr Izcan said that the stance of I dont discuss TRNC citizens is wrong, that the people transferred from Turkey to the north part of Cyprus is an important aspect of the Cyprus problem and that a working group on this issue should be formed in order to reach a solution to this problem.

    Suggesting that the TRNC citizens who were brought over do not have any legitimacy according to the international law, Izcan said: A solution must be found and all these issues must be discussed from the perspective of international law in order to reach a settlement. The formation of a working group on this issue is a step that needs to be taken. Izcan also said that the transfer of people to north Cyprus is still going on and asked that the transfer of population be stopped immediately in order to prevent the further alteration of the demographic structure.

    (DPs)

    [07] Afrika reports more on the issue of the awarding of the tender of the occupied Lefkonoiko airport

    Under the title Go on cheating Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (09.05.08) reports in its first page that it is opening the files of the issue of Gecitkale (occupied Lefkonoiko) and writes that on the 20th February 2008, the council of ministers awarded the tender for the Gecitkale airport to the Cyprus Aviation Services Ltd (CAS). However, the council of ministers took a new decision on the 9th of April 2008 and the name of the firm was changed into Castlegate Aviation Limited.

    The paper writes that after an investigation made by Afrika, there is no firm under the name Castlegate Aviation Limited registered in the TRNC Firm Registration Office. The paper further writes that the decisions of the council of ministers as regards the occupied Lefkonoiko airport have changed several times. It also writes that the capital of setting up CAS, to which the tender was awarded for the airport and is getting ready to invest 60 million dollars on this project, is only 100 pounds sterling.

    (CS)

    [08] News about the activities of the illegal universities in occupied Cyprus

    The Turkish press reports today (09.05.08) reports about the activities of the illegal universities in occupied Cyprus:

    Kibris reports that the illegal Girne (occupied Keryneia) American University became permanent member of the Council of International Schools (CIS), which is located in Hampshire, UK.

    Gunes reports that the Turkish Council of Ministers accepted the protocol signed regarding the establishment of the Istanbul Technical University Campus in occupied Cyprus.

    Kibris writes that Dr Ufuk Taneri was elected as the new rector of the Eastern Mediterranean University.

    (CS)

    [09] Two Turkish Cypriot football teams will participate in the The bet arena London cup, which will take place in the UK

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (09.05.08) reports in its sports pages that the Koneli football team which is the champion of the first league and the occupied Agios Amvrosios football team which won the cup, will participate in The bet arena London cup, which will take place in the UK between 9-14 of May. The two teams departed from Cyprus yesterday.

    (CS)

    [10] Opinion poll: Turkeys ruling AKP loses ground

    Under the title, The AKP votes are falling down, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (09.05.08) reports on an opinion poll of the Turkish A&G Research Company, according to which the votes of the ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party) have fallen down. According to the research, in January 2008 the votes of the AKP reached 54%, in the beginning of April 2008 they fell to 44% and at the end of the same month to 41.7%. The majority also believes that responsible for the political tension in Turkey is the AKP. The opinion poll was carried out through personal interviews between April 26-27 in cooperation with the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) in 33 administrative provinces and 108 administrative districts with 2.402 persons over 18 years old, of which 1182 were women.

    To the question which party they would vote for if elections were held today the preference of polled persons was as follows:

    January 2008 5-6 April 2008 26-27 April 2008 % % % AKP 54.2 44.6 41.7 CHP 18.7 20.8 22.7 MHP 15.2 17.8 17.9 DTP 5.4 6.2 6.0 OTHER 6.5 10.6 11.7 TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0

    (EA)

    [11] Buyukanit: We have no need for advice from Olli Rehn

    Istanbul Radikal newspaper (08.05.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    General Yasar Buyukanit, the Chief of the General Staff, asserting that there is polarization in Turkey, has said: Turkey has the possibility and the capability to solve all of its problems. When polarization takes place, an atmosphere of conflict emerges. Turkey needs to avoid this. Buyuyanit also gave a sharp response to the words of EU Commission Member Responsible for Expansion Olli Rehn that we support democratic secularism: We have no need for advice." In response to a question, Buyukanit said that "there has been a positive change in the style of [Iraqi Kurdish Regional President Mas'ud] Barzani.

    General Buyukanit, attending the national day reception hosted by the Israeli Embassy in Ankara, answered questions from journalists there. Buyukanit said the following:

    No need for descriptions of others: (In response to a question Descriptions like 'extreme secularist' and 'democratic secularist' are being used in Turkey. There are observations that Europe-centered Muslims are more democratic. What do you say?:) I have always opposed placing adjectives on it... The Turkish people have the strength to define themselves. They do not need descriptions from others.

    Be careful re polarization: (When it was said that it is as if there are those who want to divide the country into two:) There must not be polarization in Turkey. (Then responding to the question Is there such polarization?) "There is indeed. Turkey has to avoid this polarization. It can solve its own problems internally. It does not need advice or the like from anyone. From the Ottoman Empire, we created a republic. It was the country, the nation, that achieved this. There was no ethnic discrimination in this. Turkey possesses the ability and the capability to solve all of its problems. When polarization takes place, an atmosphere of conflict emerges. Turkey needs to avoid this."

    Subtitle: We do not ask about identity

    Question regarding Karayilan: (When reminded of allegations that [prominent PKK figure] Murat Karayilan had been captured in the 1 May operation:) We did not mention any particular name in analyzing our targets. What we said was not that Ahmet had died, or that Mehmet had died... We never cited any names. We struck a place at Qandil where the top-level ones, in their own descriptions, go frequently. We do not know about individual identities.

    It would be wrong for me to say: (In response to the question Were there are guesses as to who it was?:) It would be very wrong for me to say. (To the question Was the press speculation wrong?:) No, the press speculation was not wrong, they confused different people. Based on observations, and not on speculation, I can say this: They suffered very heavy blows.

    Their dreams will become nightmares: We have achieved psychological superiority in the struggle against the PKK. Soon you will see the results of this... It is inconceivable for the terrorists to achieve their goals. We are going to ensure that their dreams become nightmares in the end.

    Barzani style: (Asked is there a change of style in Barzani?:) There is a change of style, in a positive direction.

    Comments upon retirement: (Asked have you read the AKP [Justice and Development Party] defense statement?:) Naturally I have read it. But I do not want to make a comment. If I were to speak, it would impact the case. I will talk about everything after I retire.

    [12] Turkey was introduced as an investment potential to Chinese investors

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (08.05.08) reported from Shangai that Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) International and China's Council for the Promotion of International Trade Shanghai (CPIT) organized a seminar on "Turkey: Closest European Country to China" in Shanghai on Thursday.

    Turkish officials introduced the investment potential of Turkey to Chinese investors during the seminar.

    TUSIAD International's Executive Board member, Aykut Eken, said that Turkey imported products worth of 13 billion USD from China while the amount of Turkish exports to China was 827 million USD in 2007. Eken said that China's share in Turkey's import was 7.8 percent, while its share in Turkey's export was only 1 percent. Eken called Chinese investors to Turkey.

    Turkish consul general in Shanghai Murat Ulku said that there was no political problem between Turkey and China.

    Wang Lie from CPIT Shanghai said that they were pleased with developing economic relations with Turkey.

    [13] Turkey plans to increase its revenue from the tourism sector to $30 billion

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (08.05.08) reported from Gaziantep that Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay said Thursday that the government was striving to increase tourism revenues to 25-30 billion USD this year.

    Turkey earned 18 billion USD from tourism in 2007 and tourism revenues had a significant share to make up the current account deficit last year, Gunay told reporters. "Now we are working to increase this amount to 25-30 billion USD this year," he said.

    "But we have to diversify what we can offer to tourists. Culture tourism can be the driving force of this diversification. We can earn much more tourism revenues if we can direct tourists to different geographies in Turkey, such as Cappadocia, Zeugma, Mount Nemrut, Ishak Pasha Palace, Sanliurfa and Mardin, rather than Turkey's shores. Turkey would become a more prestigious country with all these riches," he said.

    [14] Turkey's new satellite 'Turksat 3A' to be launched on 24 May

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (08.05.08) reported from Ankara that Turkey's new generation communication satellite "Turksat 3A" will be launched at 00.57 Turkish local time on May 24th.

    Construction and final tests of the satellite were completed a while ago. 22 Turkish engineers took part in the construction phase of the Turksat 3A. Turksat 3A satellite will enable Turksat to offer telecommunication services as well as direct TV broadcasting services though a broader area than its existing satellites covering Turkey, Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. With the help of its switchable transponders, Turksat 3A will act as a bridge between Europe and Asia. Turksat 3A's Turkey coverage has been specially designed to provide very efficient gain for broadband applications like VSAT services giving customers low-cost, up-link systems.

    Based on Thales Alenia Space Spacebus 4000B2, Turksat 3A will be fitted with 24 Ku-band transponders and will offer beginning of life power of about 8 kW. Positioned at 42E, Turksat 3A will weight 3060 kg at launch and will replace Turksat 1C satellite.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [15] From the Turkish Press of 08 May 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 8 May:

    a) Turkey-EU Relations: In an article entitled "After Olli Rehn's visit," Milliyet columnist Semih Idiz argues that statements made by Olli Rehn, EU Commissioner for enlargement, indicated that he has taken a stance in favor of the ruling Justice and Development Party, (AKP). He says: "Rehn's visit has demonstrated that an almost 'symbiotic' relationship is being established between the EU and the AKP."

    A report entitled "Everybody knows that the AKP does not advocate Sharia" in Milliyet quotes Rehn as saying in an interview with the CNN Turk: "In Fact everybody can know and hear that the AKP is not advocating sharia law. In that context, we will expect that the judiciary will fulfill its duties in line with the EU's values and standards."

    In an article entitled "You must show us our place," Hurriyet columnist Ertugrul Ozkok criticizes Rehn for tacitly labeling people who have voted for the opposition parties in Turkey as "secular fascists" while describing the supporters of the AKP as Muslim democrats. He also accuses Rehn for applying double standards with regard to the judiciary's role within the EU and Turkey.

    In an editorial entitled "Lagendijk's letter," Hurriyet columnist Oktay Eksi cites passages from a letter sent by Joost Lagendijk, Co-chairman of Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee, in response to Eksi's article criticizing his approach to political developments in Turkey. In his letter, Lagendijk says that they closely follow developments in Turkey because it is a candidate for membership and they, therefore, regard it as an internal affair of the EU rather than an external intervention. He also complains that his critical comments about the Republican People's Party were twisted, adding that he also criticizes the AKP, but it is not sufficiently highlighted by the press.

    In an editorial entitled "Europe's voice should always be heard in Turkey," Sabah columnist Mehmet Barlas says: "Those who believe that Turkey's future will depend on democracy, secularism, modernization, and development should stop criticizing EU spokesmen for treating Turkey like a colony. Europe's voice heard in Turkey contributes to democracy, secularism, and the law."

    In an article entitled "The EU's problem," Vatan columnist Okay Gonensin says that there is not a convergence of opinions about Turkey's membership among EU leaders, adding that statements made by EU officials during recent visits to Turkey indicated that the EU was still in a confused state of mind about Turkey. He says: "Europe is probably not happy because it has to be concerned about Turkey's future in addition to many other problems it is facing. But, it has not yet reached the point of saying that we should take care of our own problems. Instead, it is giving strong signals that it is not tired of being concerned about Turkey. Those who want to govern Turkey and to ensure that it prospers should take advantage of this fact."

    In an article entitled "Let us see who will put whom in his place", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak comments on the latest argument between the Republican People's Party, (CHP), and EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Commission Co-Chairman Joost Lagendjik sparked by the latter's remark at a conference in Izmir that European social democrats are ashamed of the CHP. After quoting Lagendjik as saying that if the AKP is shut down a party with a more radical democratization agenda will be brought to power in Turkey, Dilipak asserts that the CHP should not expect any personal benefit from the closure of the AKP because "neither the US nor the EU will leave Turkey to its own devices. Turkey is too important a country to be left in the hands of the Turks and Westerners are aware that they cannot protect their interests in Turkey by going against Islam and Muslims. At the end of the day, they will proceed with moderate Islam."

    Under the headline, "[Rehn:] Everybody Knows That the AKP does not have a hidden agenda," Zaman publishes a front-page report which highlights EU Commissioner Olli Rehn's latest "important statements" about the closure case against the AKP.

    b) Closure Case Against the AKP: An article entitled "The ruling power will start a new era" in Milliyet says that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated in a meeting with a group of MPs from his party that he was averse to the idea of amending the Constitution in order to prevent the closure of the AKP. Pointing out that amending the Constitution for that purpose could exacerbate current political tension, Erdogan is quoted as saying: "No matter how they decide, we will not give up. The ruling will mark the beginning of a new era irrespective of its nature. We will move forward even more vigorously."

    A report entitled "AKP insists on its views" in Milliyet summarizes different sections of the AKP's defense submitted to the Constitutional Court which, according to the report, indicated that the AKP would continue to follow its current policies about headscarf, theological high schools, and Koran courses.

    In an article entitled "Mood within the AKP," Hurriyet columnist Sukru Kucuksahin says that most AKP deputies share the opinion that their party will eventually be closed down because "the establishments which have instituted the closure case against it believe that the AKP would become totally uncontrollable if it is not banned." Noting that Erdogan neither consults with AKP deputies nor takes their opinions into consideration and nobody within the party dares to criticize him, Kucuksahin also predicts that Erdogan will not permit Foreign Minister Ali Babacan or another politician who is close to President Abdullah Gul to succeed him if he is banned from being a member of a political party.

    In an article entitled "A Road map," Hurriyet columnist Cuneyt Ulsever says that Erdogan probably does not have a road map or a specific strategy devised in connection with the closure case. He comments: "He will again use tactics which he will devise based on his pragmatist instincts."

    In an article entitled "From the AKP's 'Closure' to Barack Obama," Turkish Daily News columnist Cengiz Candar sees differences between the approach taken by the United States and the EU to the closure case, asserting that US attitude encourages anti-AKP groups in Turkey while the main bloc within the EU "mellowed its attitude because they realized the closure seekers in Turkey are 'slanted toward the suspension of talks.'"

    In an article entitled "An eclipse of the mind", Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu expresses regret at the "uncertain" and "introvert" mood within the AKP in the wake of the launch of closure proceedings against this party and claims that owing to the reticence of the party leadership, even cabinet members have to rely on guesswork in trying to find out how the AKP will conduct itself vis--vis the current "political siege." Bayramoglu warns Prime Minister Erdogan that mere silence, submission, and hopefulness in the face of the closure case will only serve to normalize the ongoing process whereby Turkey is turning into an "authoritarian" state.

    In an article entitled "The silence is frightening" Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru argues that while the AKP's tactic of remaining silent until the Constitutional Court issues its verdict in the closure verdict could be regarded as normal up to a certain point, it would be more in Turkey's interests for the AKP to keep the world updated on the lawsuit. He claims that anti-democratic circles in Turkey are trying to justify the lawsuit by making references to post-9/11 security concepts "despite the fact that what is going on in Turkey has nothing to do with the fears they are talking about." He also claims that Europeans who are familiar with Turkey are able to rightly perceive the closure case as "the revenge of the status quo" and a "betrayal of democracy," adding that the AKP should find a way of explaining the aims of the lawsuit to other foreigners interested in Turkey.

    In an article entitled "The AKP's rebuttal", Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone argues that the AKP's preliminary defense against the chief public prosecutor's indictment reads more like a rebuttal than a defense or a response as illustrated by the remark in the defense that rather than being a hotbed of anti-secular activities, the AKP is a movement that is popularizing secularism. Turkone claims that the closure lawsuit is a confrontation between democracy and the bureaucracy, adding that "a comparison of the indictment and its rebuttal easily reveals that democracy is way ahead of the bureaucracy."

    In an article entitled "Not-so-vicious circle", Today's Zaman columnist Fehmi Koru asserts, "looking at how [the AKP is] handling the closure case," that "the possibility of holding elections early is gaining prominence day by day."

    c) Abdullatif Seners political moves: In an article entitled "Abdullatif, beware of goading!" Sabah columnist Ergun Babahan says that newspapers owned by the Dogan Group publish articles claiming that many MPs from the AKP would desert their party and join a new political party which may be founded by former Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener. He comments: "There are some media establishments which are trying to weaken the government. They can be successful in their efforts to a certain extent. But, they could never influence the public's decision in favor of their own desires. Had they been able to do it, the political situation would be totally different. You should, therefore, remain calm and not let them to goad you on."

    In an article entitled "They just cannot get rid of Sener", Milli Gazete columnist Zeki Ceyhan comments on the dispute between former Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener and the AKP administration. He asserts that although Sener is a "headache" for the AKP leadership, Prime Minister Erdogan is refraining from expelling him from the party so as not to help boost Sener's profile and promote his expressed bid to "fill the current political vacuum."

    d) Economic Issues: In an article entitled "Chinks in the AKP's armor," Milliyet columnist Dogan Heper says that the AKP's approach to social issues and economic policies make it vulnerable to criticism. He points out that Turkey is facing an unprecedented social polarization while the economy is on the brink of failure in addition to rising unemployment, poverty, and recession.

    In an article entitled "Rising inflation may hurt stability," Hurriyet columnist Erdal Saglam says that there is mounting anxiety in financial markets in Turkey because of expectations that inflation will rise substantially due to the government's decision to relax financial discipline. He says: "In short, financial markets are mainly affected by the economic situation rather than political developments."

    In an article entitled "AKP paradox," Radikal columnist Ismet Berkan points out that consumer confidence has fallen to its lowest level in the past couple of years and people refrain from buying homes and cars due to prevailing concerns. Noting that the closure case against the AKP has exacerbated economic troubles which, he notes, were unavoidable, Berkan says: "A price will be eventually paid and it will be paid by the members of the middle class who improved their financial situation only a short time ago. Whom will they blame when they pay that price? On the one hand the Prime Minister and the AKP are making efforts to ensure that they are not blamed, but on the other, they pursue economic policies which increase the price to be paid."

    EG/


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