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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-05-16

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. 92/08 16.05.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkish Cypriot parties were briefed on the latest political developments on the Cyprus problem
  • [02] Joint declaration supporting the solution efforts issued by the Turkish and Greek Cypriot Journalists Unions
  • [03] The National Existence Council issues statement saying that the Turkish Cypriots are determined to preserve the TRNC
  • [04] EPs High Level Contact Group visits the Ledra Street. Cemal Bulutoglulari refused to cross to the free areas
  • [05] Salih Usar met IRT officials and the Iranian Deputy Minister of Transport
  • [06] More on the tender for redeveloping the illegal airport in occupied Lefkonoiko
  • [07] KTOEOS continues strike
  • [08] Turkey continues its efforts to secure the African countries votes for its membership in the U.N. Security Council
  • [09] The Turkish President receives Uganda's Vice President in the light of OIC Summit next month
  • [10] Turkey becomes member of the African Development Bank
  • [11] CHP is opening offices in the EU member states
  • [12] British Foreign Secretary warned the Turkish opposition political parties on the closure of AK Party. US Ambassador in Turkey said that they follow with anxiety the case
  • [13] Slovakia plans to meet labor needs from Turkey
  • [14] Survey shows that 74% of the Turkish population live in poverty
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [15] Kibris Columnist Hasturer writes that Talat stated that any solution must be accepted by Turkey
  • [16] From the Turkish Press of 15 May 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Turkish Cypriot parties were briefed on the latest political developments on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.05.08) reports that the self-styled assembly of the breakaway regime in the Turkish occupied part in the Republic of Cyprus convened yesterday at an extraordinary session and discussed the latest developments in the Cyprus Problem. The paper reports that it was a closed-door session.

    The paper reports that first the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat took the rostrum and explained the developments during the last week in the Cyprus problem. The three and half hour closed-door meeting was also addressed by the parties. The Democratic Party (DP) of Serdar Denktas, which boycotts the deliberations of the so-called assembly, attended the meeting and expressed his partys views and then left the assembly hall and followed the deliberations from the spectators seats.

    Speaking to reporters at the end of the session Mr. Talat, when asked about the parties concern for certain issues, said that they are trying to do away with these concerns. We try to satisfy and meet their concern, he replied.

    (MHY)

    [02] Joint declaration supporting the solution efforts issued by the Turkish and Greek Cypriot Journalists Unions

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.05.08) reports that the Turkish and Greek Cypriot political party leaders or representatives met yesterday at the Ledra Palace hotel in the buffer zone and called on the political leaders to avoid from making negative statements and thus spoiling the positive atmosphere that exists at present.

    Present at the meeting were members of the European Parliaments High Level Contact Group with the Turkish Cypriots. The paper further reports that prior to the meeting the Turkish and Greek Cypriot Journalists Unions read a joint declaration supporting the solution efforts. The joint statement was published in Greek, Turkish and English.

    (MHY)

    [03] The National Existence Council issues statement saying that the Turkish Cypriots are determined to preserve the TRNC

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.05.08) reports that the so-called Turkish Cypriot National Existence Council (MVK) issued a statement saying that the Turkish Cypriots are firm and determined to preserve the TRNC. The statement was signed by Celal Bayar for the central committee of the MVK.

    The statement says that no one has the right to turn a blind eye to the reality that the majority of the Turkish Cypriots took side in favor of preserving the TRNC. This is the result of the polls carried out in the country, and no one has the right to condemn the Turkish Cypriot people to the illusion of the United Cyprus, the statement said.

    (MHY)

    [04] EPs High Level Contact Group visits the Ledra Street. Cemal Bulutoglulari refused to cross to the free areas

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.05.08) reports that members of the European Parliaments High Level Contact Group with the Turkish Cypriots, who arrived in Cyprus, crossed the Ledra Street from the occupied area. The Mayor of Lefkosia Eleni Mavrou, met the delegation at the crossing point and toured the area with them. The paper reports that the Mayor of occupied Lefkosia Cemal Bulutoglulari, as a sign of protest against the so-called difficulties created by the Lefkosia Municipality in its foreign contacts, refused to cross to the free areas. He said that as long as his municipalitys foreign contacts are prevented by the Lefkosia Municipality his and his offices stance will not be changed.

    In a statement to the press Mechtild Rothe, the German Social Democrat member of the EP and member of the Socialist Group at the EP, said that they welcomed the opening of the Ledra Street crossing point. She said that this is not a solution of the Cyprus problem but an expression of the new situation that exists.

    (MHY)

    [05] Salih Usar met IRT officials and the Iranian Deputy Minister of Transport

    Turkish Cypriot Vatan newspaper (16.05.08) reports that the self-styled minister of transport and works, Mr Salih Usar, is currently in Istanbul to take part in the ministerial conference of the 31st Union of the International Road Transport (IRT) Congress regarding the Revitalization of the Silk Road.

    The paper further reports that Mr. Usar also attended the opening of the Congress Exhibition during which he met with the Unions President Janusz Lancy, the general secretary of the Union Martin Marmy and the Deputy Transport Minister of Iran during which he discussed on the Iranian students who study at the so-called universities in the occupied area . The paper reports that Mr. Usar also informed the Iranian official about the latest developments in the Cyprus problem.

    (MHY)

    [06] More on the tender for redeveloping the illegal airport in occupied Lefkonoiko

    Illegal Bayrak television (15.05.08) broadcast the following:

    The Council of Minister has given back the tender to redevelop Gecitkale (occupied Lefkonoiko) Airport to the Cyprus Aviation Services Limited (CAS). The Council also annulled the name of Castlegate Aviation Limited.

    In February, the Council of Ministers awarded the tender for the Gecitkale (occupied Lefkonoiko) airport to the Cyprus Aviation Services Ltd (CAS) but it took a new decision in April and the name of the firm was changed into Castlegate Aviation Limited when it was discovered that there is another firm registered in the TRNC under the same name.

    In a statement on the issue, the Chairman of the Central Tenders Commission Rauf Ersenal said that the annulment of the tender is out of the question.

    [07] KTOEOS continues strike

    Illegal Bayrak television (15.05.08) broadcast the following:

    The Cyprus Turkish Secondary School Teachers Union (KTOEOS) has announced it will continue the indefinite strike it started on Monday.

    After a meeting of the Union Board, the KTOEOS said it will continue the strike until their problems are eliminated.

    In response, the Minister of National Education and Culture Canan Oztoprak rejected the Unions claims and said there has not been any unjust treatment over the issues, which are said to be the causes of the strike.

    The strike at all preschools, primary schools, secondary and vocational schools, the Ministry of National Education and Culture, the English Language Education Center and the Ataturk Teacher Academy continued into its third day today.

    But, the strike at the European University of Lefke (occupied Lefka) was lifted temporarily, but the Union said that it will continue with its industrial action tomorrow.

    Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the Union President Adnan Eraslan accused the Ministry of National Education and Culture of being indifferent to their problems.

    Speaking to the BRT newsroom on the issue, Mrs Oztoprak stated that teachers are not victimized over the return of their seniority allowances and that 11 teachers have already received their payments. Oztoprak added that the Office of the Attorney General has started an investigation into the case. The Minister also noted that the 19th May Youth and Sports Day will be celebrated with the high participation of youths and parents.

    Reminding that participation of teachers in the events marking the day is a legal necessity; Mrs Oztoprak said she expects the voluntary participation of teachers in the celebrations.

    Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer has called on teachers, students and parents to help put an end to the strike. But, the Premier said that the government will not bow to the Unions demands and said that the strike is continuing despite the fact that teachers have already been given the rights, which the KTOEOS claims to be usurped. He also accused the Union of interrupting education for the sake of other purposes.

    [08] Turkey continues its efforts to secure the African countries votes for its membership in the U.N. Security Council

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.05.08) reported the following from Istanbul: Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said on Thursday that Turkey attached special importance to restore peace and stability in Africa.

    Babacan met ministers and delegations from African countries, who are currently in Istanbul to attend the Turkey-Africa Foreign Trade Bridge meeting, at Polat Renaissance Hotel.

    Babacan said the Turkish government declared 2005 as "African Year". He added that since 2005, Turkey initiated very important openings with Africa and increased its activities in many areas. He said that the African Year was not limited to 2005 only.

    Babacan said that the Turkish International Development & Cooperation Agency (TIKA) opened three offices in Addis Ababa, Khartoum and Dakar. He added that TIKA offices extended technical support to development of projects in the countries they were established. Babacan said that they reserved 15 million USD to support projects in African countries.

    Babacan said that Turkey also provided higher education scholarship for many African countries.

    Babacan said that Turkey was a candidate for UN Security Council membership for 2009-2010 period and asked for the support of African countries during the elections which would be held in October, 2008.

    He said that Istanbul would host the 'Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit' between August 18th and 21st --with participation of heads of state & government of African countries-- to assess relations with African countries as well as to make plans for the future.

    [09] The Turkish President receives Uganda's Vice President in the light of OIC Summit next month

    Turkish daily The New Anatolian newspaper (15.05.08) reported that the Turkish President Abdullah Gul received Uganda's Vice President Gilbert Balibaseka Bukenya in Istanbul on Thursday.

    The meeting was closed to the press.

    Bukenya is currently in Turkey to attend the Turkey-Africa Foreign Trade Bridge meeting.

    [10] Turkey becomes member of the African Development Bank

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.05.08) reported from Ankara that Turkey's application to be a member of the African Development Bank (AFDB) was approved. Turkish businessmen will be able to join all projects in Africa thanks to the membership. Turkey has become the 25th Non-Regional Member of the bank. Turkey's membership will increase commerce and the investment volume and help Turkish contractors to undertake business (annual worth of 2-3 billion USD) which will be held with AFDB's financing.

    Trade volume between Turkey and African countries is currently 10 billion USD. Turkey aims to increase this figure to 30 billion USD by 2010 after the membership. Currently, the AFDB has 53 African (Regional Members) and 25 Non-Regional members --Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the U.S.

    AFDB was established on September 10th, 1964 to develop economic cooperation among independent African countries.

    [11] CHP is opening offices in the EU member states

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (16.05.08), under the front-page title CHP is opening an office in Europe, reports that the leader of the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) Deniz Baykal, will give an answer to those who criticize him that CHP is not clear on the issue of Turkeys accession into the EU, by opening an office in Brussels. Baykal also said that the CHP-EU relations will be improved by opening offices in different EU member states, and one of them will be in Brussels.

    Baykal, meeting with the senior officials of his party, explained the EU step of the CHP as follows: No one in Turkey wants the full accession of Turkey into the EU, as well as the improvement of Turkeys relations more than we. We will put into practice our foreign representations in order for the CHP-EU relations to be placed on more healthy ground.

    The offices, which will be opened with Baykals orders, will cooperate with socialist and social democrat parties. All the evaluations by CHP regarding the EU will be conveyed immediately to the administrators of the EU member states. The views of CHP concerning the problems of the Turks who live in the EU countries face and all the developments regarding Turkey-EU relations, will be shared through the offices with the public opinion. CHP will be interested closely in the problems of the Turks. Baykal also gives importance to the 23rd Congress of the Socialists International that will be held in Athens. It is expected that Baykal, who will attend it as Deputy Chairman, will be again candidate in the congress.

    (DPs)

    [12] British Foreign Secretary warned the Turkish opposition political parties on the closure of AK Party. US Ambassador in Turkey said that they follow with anxiety the case

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (16.05.08) under the front-page title The closure of AKP will have serious repercussions, reports that the Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband, who currently is in Turkey with Queen Elizabeth II, had an important discussion yesterday in Ankara. The British Foreign Secretary, behind closed-doors, explained to the leaders of the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) as well as some persons close to the decision-making centres, the negative results of the closure case against the AKP. The columnist Nur Batur writes the following messages that were leaked out from Mr Milibands contacts with the opposition parties:

    We will continue to support Turkeys membership to the EU. We see as vitally important Turkeys membership into the EU for the benefit of both sides.

    It carries a great importance that Turkey be an EU member with the identity of Democratic, Secularism, Islamic.

    The possibility of closing down a party that took 47% of votes in Turkey worries us in a serious manner.

    It is very difficult to explain to the EU the closure of a party that took the 47% of votes of the people, when they have not proved that it will exert force to change the regime.

    If the decision of the Constitutional Court is the closure of the AKP, a strong reaction from the EU will be unavoidable. The repercussions will be serious.

    We do not want the breaking off the relations between Turkey and the EU. We try to soften the decision that will come from EU but we cannot completely prevent it.

    It is a huge mistake for Europe and for Turkey the cut off Turkey from the EU.

    We understand the worries of some secularists in Turkey and the anxiety they feel for the little girls to be compelled to wear a head-scarf. But we believe that undoubtedly a formula will be found in order to protect secularism within the democracy.

    Secularism can be applied differently in each EU member country.

    We are ready to provide any kind of help for the protection of Turkey within secular democracy and to overcome the political crisis which Turkey has been dragged in.

    We meet with understanding the pessimism that Turkey lives through regarding its membership into the EU. We know that the French President Sarkozy wants to prevent Turkeys membership. But let us not be discouraged by some negative statements coming from Sarkozy and some EU officials. Britains membership was twice vetoed.

    Do not give more importance to the initiatives of France to remove the word accession from the EU documents. They are bureaucratic documents. The last decision regarding Turkeys accession into the EU will be political.

    The political atmosphere in the EU will change after 4-5 years. No one can guarantee that Sarkozy will be in the days agenda. The important thing is not to break the relations and to continue the negotiation process.

    We must prepare the public opinion in Turkey and the EU within the next 4-5 years. The businessmen, the NGOs must get closer.

    We have to bring together the cultural and social relations in such a way that Turkeys accession to EU be very natural. We are ready to extend every possible help.

    Also on the same issue, the paper reports that when the US Ambassador in Ankara Rose Wilson, during an inauguration ceremony for the Yildirim Bayezit Primary School's information technologies class, funded by US aircraft manufacturer the Boeing Company in Eskisehir, asked to comment on the AKPs closure case, he said: I do not want to discuss a lot regarding this issue. But we follow with interest and anxiety the developments. There are strong democratic institutions and tradition in Turkey. I hope that they will reach a solution to this problem in line with democratic traditions.

    (DPs)

    [13] Slovakia plans to meet labor needs from Turkey

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (15.05.08) reports that due to its need for a bigger qualified labor force, Slovakia has plans to open labor recruitment offices in several countries and is considering including Turkey on its list. Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin met Slovak Economy Minister Lubomir Jahnatek Tuesday in the context of a Turkey-Slovakia Joint Economic Commission meeting. The two ministers discussed the opening of such offices in Turkey.

    [14] Survey shows that 74% of the Turkish population live in poverty

    Istanbul Cumhuriyet newspaper (15.05.08) reported the following:

    A survey entitled 'Survey on Starvation and Poverty Levels' conducted by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) has shown that 74.1 percent of the Turkish population live under the poverty line while 15.4 is below the starvation line. According to the ATO survey, the annual averages of the starvation line and the poverty line are 664.6 New Turkish Liras and 2,091.5 New Turkish Liras, respectively. The average monthly income of all households was estimated at 1,602 New Turkish Liras in 2007.

    Some of the results of the survey are as follows:

    - The average monthly income of families in the first five-percentile category who earn the lowest income was 251 New Turkish Liras as compared with 450 New Turkish Liras and 571 New Turkish Liras in the second and third five-percentile category, respectively. The average monthly income of families in the first three categories was below the starvation line which was 664.6 New Turkish Liras.

    - A total of 2,595,000 families had to live on an income below the starvation line in 2007. The total number of people who are members of those families was estimated at 10,872,000. Thus, it was determined that 15% of the families in Turkey and 15.4 percent of the population earned an income below the starvation line.

    - As regards the distribution of income, 12,973,000 families who were included in the first to fifteenth five-percentile categories earned a monthly income which was below 2,091.5 New Turkish Liras or average poverty line in 2007. It is estimated that those families who live on an income below the poverty line have 52,278,000 members making up 74.1 percent of the population.

    - Only 20 percent of households earned an average monthly income above the poverty line or 2,091.5 New Turkish Liras.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [15] Kibris Columnist Hasturer writes that Talat stated that any solution must be accepted by Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper columnist Hasan Hasturer writes today (16.05.08) in his daily column Glance to the news, that he met with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, for lunch the other day. Mr Hasturer reports in his column about Talats health, his relations with Ankara and the developments of the Cyprus problem.

    Hasturer notes that following the heart surgery he underwent and the fact that he lost a lot of weight, there were many rumours regarding Talats health. He assures that the Turkish Cypriot leader is of a sound health.

    Hasturer also writes that four years have passed since Talat became president and no trace was left from Rauf Denktas legacy. The relations of Rauf Denktas with Ankara were very different than the relations of Mehmet Ali Talat with Ankara, writes Hasturer who notes that Denktas acted as a high level civil servant of Ankara and that he was proud of it. On his part Talat, while taking into consideration the will of Ankara, is not Ankaras civil servant.

    However, the priority of Talat is to gain respect everywhere including Turkey for the votes that elected him and the will of the Turkish Cypriot people, he goes on.

    Hasturer further writes that Talat does not want to draw political conclusions as regards the visits of the Chief of the Turkish General Staff, General Buyukanit and the (Deputy Chief) General Basbug to occupied Cyprus.

    According to Hasturer, the priority of Talat is the solution of the Cyprus problem and that he wants a Cyprus-centered, solution. Talat does not seem to worry about the difficulties in the technical committees and the working groups, writes Hasturer adding that Talat knows in advance what is going to be discussed at the technical committees and the working groups and he is informed about their deliberations later.

    Mr Hasturer quotes Talat to have said that the solution to be reached must be accepted by Turkey as well. Turkey is informed about the talks. From time to time it conveys its own views to Talat. But it is known that what comes from Turkey are views and not instructions, Hasturer writes and again quotes Talat to have stated that he exchanges views with Ankara before negotiating with the Greek Cypriots.

    Hasturer finally writes that he will not be surprised to him if Talat says to Christofias Go and talk with Ankara, if the latter continues to say, especially in front of foreign diplomats, that everything is determined by Ankara.

    (CS)

    [16] From the Turkish Press of 15 May 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish press of 15 May 2008:

    a) Queen Elizabeths visit to Turkey:

    Under the headline, "Queen's Insignia Gesture," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which asserts that Queen Elizabeth II presented President Gul with a version of the insignia of the Knight Grand without the cross at the dinner reception at the Presidential Mansion in Ankara yesterday.

    In an article entitled "Display of Force and Ideological War on Official Foreign Visits", Vakit columnist Selahaddin Cakirgil accuses President Gul of failing to take account of the "subtleties of diplomatic war" during Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Turkey in wearing a "ridiculous" outfit like a tuxedo during his meeting with the Queen rather than clothes reflecting the characteristics of his own people. He also claims that the Queen has come to Turkey to "inspect the level of cultural, social, and political dominance enjoyed by pro-Western cadres."

    In an article entitled "The Queen's Visit and Turkey's Vicious Circle", Today's Zaman columnist Lale Sariibrahimoglu asserts that Queen Elizabeth II, who visited Turkey first in 1971, must think that "nothing much has changed in Turkey" in terms of the level of democracy seeing that the military is still issuing memorandums as it used to 37 years ago.

    In an article entitled "Parallel Histories", Today's Zaman columnist Fehmi Koru expresses the hope that the British Queen was not "rewinding the reels of recent political history through her own eyes" as she listened to President Gul catalogue the "similarities" between the Turkish and British nations.

    Sami Kohen says in his column in Milliyet that Queen Elizabeth's visit to Turkey is a sign of the importance Britain accords to Turkey. Kohen believes Britain sees Turkey as a bridge between the East and the West and that is why it supports Turkey's EU membership despite opposition from France and Germany.

    b) Closure Case Against AKP:

    In an article entitled "What is on the Horizon?", Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu argues that Prime Minister Erdogan will have his work cut out to stage a comeback if the AKP is closed down and he is banned from politics. He cites the possible "influence of foreign players and factors on the judicial process" against the AKP, the forthcoming change at the top of the Turkish military, and "the risk that the public will come to terms with the closure process and stop supporting political leaders who symbolize conflict" among the "serious obstacles" that Erdogan is likely to confront.

    In an article entitled "Has the AKP Determined a Roadmap?", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak comments on what he refers to as speculation as to why the AKP and Prime Minister Erdogan are keeping silent on the closure case being heard by the Constitutional Court and how they propose to deal with the lawsuit. He claims on the basis of "impressions obtained from AKP circles" that Erdogan is basing his plans "at least on three possibilities," that he needs time, and he is waiting for certain conditions to emerge before taking action. He also asserts that "the Erdogan-[Fethullah] Gulen influence on Turkey" will continue as a result not only of a democratic choice but also of a requirement of international balances.

    The closure case against the AKP has increased efforts to form new political movements, points out a Vatan report adding that the DP [Democratic Party] has met under its chairman Suleyman Soylu and decided to invite Tansu Ciller to head and revive the party ahead of elections. According to another Vatan report, some 107 ministers, deputies, and bureaucrats who formerly served in right-wing parties have gathered and decided to call on Suleyman Demirel to form a center-right alliance. And according to a Hurriyet report, Turhan Comez, who was expelled from the AKP, has paid a visit to CHP leader Deniz Baykal. Baykal says Comez is an honest man with whom he always had relations. Comez has denied reports that he wants to join the CHP.

    Commenting on the fact that very few people are now attending public rallies called by PM Erdogan, citing specifically the fact that hardly 2,000 people met Erdogan during his visit to Adana, Mustafa Mutlu speculates in his column in Vatan that if elections were held today the AKP would still be the first party but with reduced votes; it might even lose the elections if there were a credible alternative to it. Bilal Cetin of Vatan says in his column that HYP [People's Rising Party] deputy leader Yasar Okuyan is contacting all the opposition parties with a proposal to form an election alliance against the AKP during the municipal elections.

    In a commentary The New Anatolian, Ilnur Cevik says, "The forces who are trying to push for the closure of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party actually aim to get Recep Tayyip Erdogan out of the political picture. They feel that if Erdogan is out the AK party will be incapacitated and may even fall apart. They are right. Since the closure case has started the prospects of Erdogan being left out of politics with ban by the Constitutional Court has been a nightmare for the party and its executives. They have been pondering on who could replace Erdogan with capacity of holding the party together and they have found no one." "The other important factor is of course the future of President Abdullah Gul. He too cannot survive at the presidential palace and unfortunately once Erdogan is out of the picture the forces that have worked for his fall will target Gul. Can he survive? That is a big question..."

    A word report in Turkish Daily News says: "In the topsy turvy world of Turkish politics, the closure case faced by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is likely to result in new faces replacing old ones no matter if the party is shut down or not." The report then lists those AKP members who might assume the leadership of the party.

    c) Wiretappings of judges conversations:

    In an article entitled "A Wiretapping Democracy?", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal comments on Vice-President of the Constitutional Court Osman Paksut's claim that his private conversations are being monitored by the police. Unal asserts that what lends credence to Paksut's allegation are the recently disclosed recordings of some of the private conversations of former Higher Education Council, YOK, Chairman Erdogan Tezic, a public prosecutor who recommended a ruling against the defendant in the Fethullah Gulen case, and "most grave of all," a major general in charge of the General Staff's electronic systems. Unal asserts that the Erdogan government cannot make claims to "democratic legitimacy" as long as it does not launch an investigation to smoke out the "wiretapping gangs" within certain state institutions.

    Commenting on the surveillance of Supreme Court Deputy Chief Justice Osman Paksut by a police vehicle, Gungor Mengi asserts in his column in Vatan that the senior judges have been coming under intensive pressure since the filing of the closure lawsuit against the AKP. Lamenting this unlawful campaign against the judges and commenting on pro-Gulen articles in the US press, Mengi wonders if the ground is being prepared for the return of sect leader Fethullah Gulen to Turkey.

    d) Sale of Kanalturk television:

    Columnist Melih Asik declares in his column in Milliyet that the sale of Tuncay Ozkan's Kanalturk to a pro-AKP business group has "shocked" those who had pinned their political hopes on Tuncay Ozkan. In an indirect criticism of the liberal Taraf paper, Asik says the columnists of that paper have not yet realized that they themselves and everybody else are now under siege from the AKP, which has already punished Mehmet Karamehmet -- owner of Aksam daily, and Show and Sky televisions -- with a hefty fine, tried to cow Cumhuriyet with the detention of Ilhan Selcuk, sent half of the staff of the opposition Ulusal Kanal television to prison, is looking for an opportunity to punish the independent NTV, has turned all TRT channels into party mouthpieces, and has placed Sabah and ATV under the control of PM Erdogan's son-in-law with the result that half of the Turkish media is now acting as the trumpeter of the AKP government.

    Ali Sirmen declares in his column in Cumhuriyet that the AKP government wrested Kanalturk away from Tuncay Ozkan by pressuring the advertisement companies against placing commercials with the television channel as part of party campaign to seize control of the judiciary and the press. As such, Sirmen adds, the sale of Kanalturk to Koza-Ipek Company, which is close to Fethullah Gulen and AKP, is a very serious development. Sirmen laments that presently "more than half of the media have come under the control of the government," which is bound to have a negative impact on democracy.

    Perihan Magden also notes in her column in Radikal that the neo-nationalist followers of Tuncay Ozkan have been "greatly shocked" by the sale, and feeling let down by Ozkan have issued a statement saying that they will continue their movement without Kanalturk and Ozkan. Magden describes Ozkan as an unprincipled person who first worked for Aydin Dogan and then the CHP.

    On his part Engin Ardic declares in his column in Sabah that the opposition groups were shocked with the election victory of the AKP having deceived themselves with the Republic Rallies; the newspapers owned by Aydin Dogan media group published false reports of millions attending those rallies when hardly 500,000 attended them. And now these same people have again been shocked, this time with the sale of Kanalturk, whose influence they again exaggerated in the first place.

    In his column for Sabah, Yavuz Donat quotes Akin Ipek, the publisher who bought Kanalturk, as saying that in addition to his Bugun daily he needed a news television channel, adding that as the new owner of Kanalturk his group's editorial policy will be to support everything that is beneficial to Turkey.

    e) Greek Reaction To Turkish Foreign Ministry Site:

    Ridiculing Greek reactions to the Turkish Foreign Ministry Internet site where Greece is criticized over its treatment of the Turks in Thrace, Erdal Safak says in his column in Sabah that Greece is suffering from the incurable paranoia that Turkey might revive the West Thrace Turkish Republic established in Gumulcine [Komotini] on 31 August 1913.

    f) Turkey Trying To Partner with BP For Oil in Iraq:

    Turkey, which has been excluded from Iraq's 14 February list of countries with oil exploration rights in southern Iraq, has sent a delegation to London to seek partnership with the BP [British Petroleum] to bypass the Iraqi restriction. According to a Cumhuriyet report, which adds that Energy Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Selahattin Cimen, who is heading the Turkish delegation to London, has also called on the BP the jointly explore some of Iran's gas fields.

    ES/


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