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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-05-21

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. 95/08 21.05.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Afrika: The members of the technical committees and the working groups are continuously taking instructions from Apakan
  • [02] Statements by Ercakica during his weekly press conference
  • [03] Delegation from the occupied areas to visit Turkey for consultations
  • [04] Heinz Fischer refers to the Cyprus problem after his meeting with the Turkish President
  • [05] Dincoglu: Turkish immigrants are absolute and uncontested citizens of the TRNC and together with the Turkish Armed Forces they are elements of balance of the TRNC
  • [06] The Municipality of the occupied Lefkosia became a Eurocities member
  • [07] Babacan held contacts with officials from the Balkan countries within the SEECP Framework
  • [08] Statements by Hilmi Guler on the Nabucco project after meeting the Austrian Economy and Labor Minister
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [09] Columnist in Todays Zaman argues that the political situation in Turkey is not contributing to a solution in Cyprus soon
  • [10] From the Turkish Press of 20 May 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Afrika: The members of the technical committees and the working groups are continuously taking instructions from Apakan

    Under the title Who will remove the spirit of Apakan from the table, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (21.05.08) refers to the work of the technical committees and the working groups, which were formed after the agreement between President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on 21 March 2008. In its daily column under the title Letter from Afrika, the paper notes, inter alia, the following:

    In the beginning it was announced that Talat and Christofias would meet again in June to evaluate the work of the technical committees and the working groups. However, in a surprised decision, they brought these negotiations forward to 23 May. They will meet on Friday. According to the climate spread from the Turkish side, Christofias was the one who demanded the holding of this contact earlier. His intention, however, is to demand postponement, they say. The Turkish side, which from the Papadopoulos period is playing the game of presenting itself as supporter of the solution and the other side supporter of the non-solution, seems to have the intention of continuing the same game with Christofias. It is continuously saying that things are going well, speaks about being much more hopeful for a solution than the other side and is trying to turn to its own benefit the complaints of Christofias on the issue of the stalemate. In fact, however, the main actor of these negotiations is the Undersecretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, former ambassador to Nicosia, Ertugrul Apakan. Talats spokesman, Ercakica has already stated that they had held a series of meetings with Apakan before even the commencement of the contacts. However, it seems that this issue has not stopped with the meetings. At this moment, the members of the technical committees and the working groups are continuously taking instructions from Apakan. Apakan is directing them on all the issues. Apparently this, they say, will be the main issue of the meeting which Talat and Christofias will hold on Friday. Christofias will complain about Apakan to Talat. He will ask Talat: With whom are we holding negotiations? With Ertugrul Apakan or with the Turkish Cypriots? Let us see how this problem will be solved. Who will remove the spirit of Ertugrul Apakan from the table?

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Statements by Ercakica during his weekly press conference

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.05.08) reports that the self-styled presidential spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Hasan Ercakica, in his regular weekly press conference declared that as Turkish Cypriot side they are ready for comprehensive negotiations and they do not need special preparation period. He said that they are bound by all the pledges they have made and that they would continue the process started by the 21 March agreement until a solution is found. He said that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has accepted meeting with President Christofias without any hesitation and without knowing the reason for it.

    When asked to comment on President Christofias statement that the two states and two peoples view is not compatible with Cyprus realities, Ercakica said: What the Greek Cypriot leader is referring to is the statement made by the Turkish National Security Council. These are expressions used by the Turkish officials when Cyprus is in question and they explain the present situation in Cyprus.

    (MHY)

    [03] Delegation from the occupied areas to visit Turkey for consultations

    Under the title Stop press, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (21.05.08) reports that the self-styled prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer, foreign minister Turgay Avci and finance minister Uzun are to leave the occupied area for Ankara on Thursday for consultations with the Turkish Government.

    (MHY)

    [04] Heinz Fischer refers to the Cyprus problem after his meeting with the Turkish President

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.05.08) reports that speaking at a press conference after the meeting with the Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Ankara yesterday, the Austrian President Heinz Fischer referred to the Cyprus issue and said that the efforts of both Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders strengthened hopes for the future. He said that on the one hand the Cyprus problem is related to the EU and on the other to both communities in Cyprus. Mr Fischer expressed the hope that important steps will be taken towards a fair and acceptable solution by both sides.

    (MHY)

    [05] Dincoglu: Turkish immigrants are absolute and uncontested citizens of the TRNC and together with the Turkish Armed Forces they are elements of balance of the TRNC

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.05.08) reports that the Turkish Immigrants Assistance and Solidarity Association (TURK-GOC-DER) in a statement yesterday declared that a very dangerous game is being played as regards the TRNC citizens of Republic of Turkey origin at the negotiations which started between the two leaders.

    The statement went on and said: The immigrant citizens, who contributed to the creation of this state, did not come to the island to leave, but, to make this land together with their consanguine homeland. They are here to secure social and economic development and safeguard the security of life and property.

    At a press conference held at the Associations headquarters in the occupied area the chairman of the Association Enver Dincoglu said: The most important issue in the occupied area at present is the immigrants issue and the provocations against the Turkish Armed Forces. Criticizing the existing situation Dincoglu warned that time has come for the people to ask within the democratic rules to give account for these actions.

    He went on and said that Turkish immigrants are absolute and uncontested citizens of the TRNC and also together with the Turkish Armed Forces they are elements of balance of the TRNC.

    Dincoglu further said: No one should think that we do not want peace in the island. The major obstacle before the peace in the island is the Greek Cypriots and the defeatists among us.

    Dincoglu stressed that until a just and lasting solution is found to the Cyprus problem the Turkish Armed Forces will stay in Cyprus.

    (MHY)

    [06] The Municipality of the occupied Lefkosia became a Eurocities member

    Turkish Cypriot daily Bakis newspaper (21.05.08) reports that the Municipality of the occupied Lefkosia took part in the Social Affairs Committee of the Eurocities held in Oslo, capital of Norway. The paper reports that the Municipality of the occupied Lefkosia last November became Eurocities member.

    (MHY)

    [07] Babacan held contacts with officials from the Balkan countries within the SEECP Framework

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.05.08) reported the following from Bourgas:

    Foreign Ministers of Southeast European countries gathered in the Bulgarian coastal city of Bourgas on Tuesday.

    The meeting of Foreign Ministers of Southeast European Countries, held within the framework of the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP), started in Pomorie town of Bourgas.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan is representing Turkey at the meeting which hosts the foreign ministers of 11 countries. Only Croatia and Slovenia are being represented by undersecretaries of their foreign ministries.

    Following the ministerial meeting held on Tuesday, heads of state and government of Southeast European countries will meet on Wednesday.

    Babacan will represent Turkey at this meeting as well.

    SEECP is a non-institutionalized regional cooperation structure. It was created in 1996, when Bulgaria organized a meeting of the ministers of foreign affairs, to lay the foundation of a new cooperation forum, following the birth of new countries in the Balkans.

    SEECP can be considered the successor of the cooperation in the Balkan region, initiated by Nicolae Titulescu between the two world wars, materialized by the adoption of the Pact of Balkan Agreement - Pacte d'Entente Balcanique in 1934, and continued after the 2nd World War under the form of conferences of Ministers of Foreign Affairs from Albania, Greece, Yugoslavia, Romania and Turkey.

    Bulgaria is currently the rotating president of SEECP.

    Further, Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.05.08) reported the following from Bourgas:

    Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said on Tuesday that Turkey attached great importance to the stability of Balkans. He added that Turkey was ready to support every step to further develop cooperation among Balkan countries.

    Babacan represented Turkey in the meeting of Foreign Ministers of Southeast European Countries, held within the framework of the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP), in Bulgarian coastal city of Bourgas.

    Babacan held a bilateral meeting with Romanian Foreign Minister Lazar Comanescu. The two ministers discussed relations between Turkey and Romania, recent developments in the region as well as Turkey's EU membership process.

    Babacan said that Turkey attached importance to cooperation with Romania in every area, and he also thanked Romania for the support it extended to Turkey's EU membership.

    Romanian minister said that Turkey's support for the Nabucco project was very important. Babacan, in return, said that Nabucco project was a strategic choice for Turkey.

    Heads of state and government of Southeast European Countries will also convene in Bourgas on Wednesday within the framework of SEECP. Babacan will deliver a speech on behalf of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A joint declaration will be released after tomorrow's meeting, and then Bulgaria will hand over SEECP's term presidency to Moldova.

    [08] Statements by Hilmi Guler on the Nabucco project after meeting the Austrian Economy and Labor Minister

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.05.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler pledged on Tuesday to realize the Nabucco project after his meeting with Austrian Economic Affairs and Labor Minister Martin Bartenstein.

    Guler told reporters after the meeting that Turkey was determined to realize the project and said efforts for Nabucco project should be stepped up.

    The Nabucco project is a planned 3,300 kilometres natural gas pipeline that will carry gas from Turkey to Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary.

    Guler said he discussed with the Austrian minister several issues, including Turkey's natural gas supply security, the shape of the project, amounts and the timetable of the project.

    We will speed up our efforts and realize this project just as we did the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and the Shah Sea project. So, both Turkey and the European Union would have a good alternative for natural gas supply security, he said.

    Asked if he had concerns over the natural gas deal between Greece and Russia, Guler said he did not have any concerns.

    Separately, Austrian minister said his country attached great importance to the Nabucco project. Bartenstein said they were working hard to pump the first gas in 2012 or 2013.

    It is time to finish the project, he said.

    The Nabucco pipeline will run from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten an der March, a major natural gas hub in Austria. This pipeline is an alternative to the current projects developed to import natural gas from Russia. It will be connected with the Tabriz-Erzurum pipeline, and with the South Caucasus Pipeline, linking Nabucco Pipeline with the planned Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline. The project is developed by the Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH, established in 2004 in Vienna. The shareholders of the company are OMV (Austria), MOL (Hungary), Transgaz (Romania), Bulgargaz (Bulgaria), BOTAS (Turkey) and RWE (Germany).


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [09] Columnist in Todays Zaman argues that the political situation in Turkey is not contributing to a solution in Cyprus soon

    Under the title: Will Cyprus pay the price for Turkeys troubles? Todays Zaman (21.05.08) publishes the following commentary by Amanda Akcacoca:

    Now that the euphoria over the demise of Tassos Papadopoulos' presidency has died down it is becoming clear that even with the new pro-solution Greek Cypriot President Demetris Christofias in charge there is not going to be a quick solution to the Cyprus issue.

    Though Christofias and his counterpart in the north, Mehmet Ali Talat, have friendly relations, this is no guarantee they will find a way out of this decades-old problem that goes right to the heart of the two communities. With a painful history, deep distrust and a hazy common vision for the future, it is difficult to see a bright end to this sad story. Mustering the required levels of political will and moving away from playing the blame game is no easy task and requires everybody to really want a future beyond the past. Unfortunately, it also seems that what fresh optimism there is may be quashed by the political crisis in Turkey.

    Turkish Cypriot's unfortunate dependency on Turkey and the unorthodox role the Turkish military has in northern Cyprus means that decisions regarding the terms of a settlement have to pass through Ankara. Even during the current working group and committee talks, which are being held to prepare the ground for direct talks between Talat and Christofias, the Turkish Cypriots have to defer to Ankara on numerous issues. It is little wonder that the Greek Cypriots continue to suggest it would be easier to hold direct talks with Ankara. This must be humiliating for the Turkish Cypriots because it is clear proof that they are not in charge of their own destiny.

    With the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) facing likely closure and many of its senior figures on the brink of being banned, Prime Minister Erdogan's hands are increasingly tied on both foreign and domestic issues, and he will be in no position to take meaningful steps on Cyprus. As Erdogan fights these vicious elements he will not want to provoke any of the anti-AK Party circles further, in particular the military and the judiciary. This is unfortunate as back in 2003-2004 during the last round of peace talks Erdogan was in a strong position with a majority in Parliament after decades of weak coalition governments. It was also during the "romance" period with the EU that Turkey pulled out all the stops to have accession talks opened. This gave the government a strong mandate that enabled the prime minister to make some very bold moves and ignore resistance from the military, the nationalists and others who were happy with the status quo.

    Nowadays things could not be more different. Erdogan is in a weak position and will be focusing on saving the party, and himself -- by one way or another. With the 2009 March municipal elections on the horizon, the AK Party or its reincarnation, in the event that it is banned, needs to concentrate on getting a strong result. Turkey will probably therefore be unwilling to move very far from the boundaries of the 2004 Annan plan, even if the Turkish Cypriots are ready to do so given that Talat will be keen to get a deal in the bag before the Turkish Cypriot parliamentary elections next May, which may alter the political set-up in the north. This will cause difficulties because Turkey needs to be able to take a flexible approach on a number of issues including security, guarantorship, property, settlers, etc.

    Unless Erdogan decides to throw caution to the wind and take brave new steps on Cyprus it is unlikely there will be a solution soon. The only other way forward could be if the EU were to give some very concrete promises to Turkey in the form of a much clearer membership perspective, which would give Erdogan some political meat. But this is not likely to happen. Of course the Turkish Cypriots could also get up, take to the streets and make it abundantly clear that they do not want to remain a hostage to Turkey or the current stalemate. But this would take a lot of courage and I am not sure they are ready -- particularly with 35,000 soldiers on their doorstep.

    But let's be clear on what will eventually happen if there is no solution due to Turkish/Turkish Cypriot intransigence: more and more Turkish Cypriots will obtain Republic of Cyprus passports and will leave the island -- after all there are only a certain number of people the tourism industry can employ. There will be no land left to build on so the construction industry and retail boom will fizzle out; the property dispute with the south will escalate and Turkey will end up having to pay billions in compensation; the Turkish Cypriots will find less sympathy from the international community and the Greek Cypriots will once again become the victims. The majority of the population will probably be Turkish mainlanders, British and the Turkish military. The only real Turkish Cypriots left will be the donkeys and mountain goats.

    [10] From the Turkish Press of 20 May 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 20 May:

    a) Closure Case against AKP: In an article entitled "Could those who give credence to headscarf report be disappointed?" Hurriyet columnist Enis Berberoglu says that a report submitted by a rapporteur of the Constitutional Court who said that an application filed by the Republican People's Party, CHP, for the annulment of a recent constitutional amendment designed to lift the ban to wear headscarf in universities has given rise to optimistic expectations in newspapers supportive of the ruling Justice and Development Party because it could pave the way for lifting the ban and eliminate the most important accusation levelled against the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, in the closure case brought against it. Stressing that those expectations are not realistic because the current ban on headscarf could only be lifted by amending the Act on the Higher Education Council, Berberoglu says: "Any ruling that could be handed down by the Constitutional Court would, therefore, neither help the pro-headscarf camp nor give a hint about the closure case."

    In an article entitled "Fate of the headscarf ban," Turkish Daily News columnist Ilter Turkmen analyzes the report submitted by the Constitutional Court rapporteur who concluded that "Constitutional court does not have the authority to inspect constitutional amendments for their content." He says that despite "these extremely powerful theses, there is still a possibility that the court might disband AKP."

    A report entitled "Unidentified Minister's prediction that the party will be closed down causes anxiety within AKP" in Milliyet says that a statement made by an identified Turk who was quoted by Reuters that the AKP is going to be banned by the Constitutional Court and Erdogan will be temporarily prevented from being a member of a political party, has caused anxiety within the party. According to the report, some MPs from the AKP share the opinion that party leadership should persuade Erdogan into amending the Constitution in order to prevent the Constitutional Court from closing down the AKP.

    In an article entitled "Gul's Prediction," Milliyet columnist Guneri Civaoglu quotes an unidentified politician from the AKP as saying that Turkish President Abdullah Gul will come under strong pressure to resign if the Constitutional Court upholds accusations leveled against him because of his alleged anti-secular stance although Gul cannot be forced to resign because of immunities he enjoys as President.

    In an article entitled "A formula that could relieve anxiety," Sabah columnist Erdal Safak blames the United States and the EU for the critical situation facing the AKP which, he asserts, partly resulted from their plan to turn Turkey into a moderate Islamic country combining religion and democracy and serving as a bridge between Europe and other Muslim countries. Pointing out that EU officials now advise Erdogan to carry out reforms that would strengthen the secular regime, Safak says: "I regard this proposal as a prudent and important move because this is the only way to devise a formula which could mend the growing dangerous rift within society and relieve anxiety as underscored by Toptan, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly."

    In an article entitled "Election scenarios in Ankara," Radikal columnist Murat Yetkin says that AKP and CHP strategists are devising strategies for the possibility of an early election to be held toward the end of the year if the Constitutional Court decides to ban the AKP.

    In an article entitled "How did AKP's six options fell to three in 45 days?" Vatan columnist Rusen Cakir summarizes predictions about the possible results of the closure case, including the AKP's acquittal, preventing it from receiving financial assistance earmarked from the federal budget, or its closure which, he notes, seems to be the strongest possibility. Pointing out that the Constitutional Court may also decide no to ban the AKP because of EU criteria although there is sufficient evidence to support its closure under the Constitution, Cakir says: "It seems that such a decision which is supported by some pro-AKP columnists in the press who describe it as the 'third way' is highly unlikely."

    In a commentary entitled "The relationship between the headscarf case and the Closure Case", Associate Professor Mustafa Sentop of Marmara University asserts that a Constitutional Court ruling rejecting the CHP's appeal against "the constitutional amendments that have lifted the headscarf ban at universities" would not provide grounds for optimism about the result of the closure lawsuit against the AKP. Explaining the "inverse relationship" between the two cases, Sentop argues that if the top court does not cancel the said amendments, it will find it easier to shut down the AKP because a ruling against the CHP's appeal would reinforce the basis of legitimacy of a closure ruling against the AKP and invest the court with the "psychological power" it would need to find against the AKP.

    In an article entitled "The AKP cannot be shut down. However ...", Zaman columnist Ihsan Dagi asserts that the Turkish Establishment could be seeking a "compromise" with the AKP which entails the suspension of Treasury aid for the AKP and the banning of Prime Minister Erdogan from politics in return for allowing the AKP to avoid closure. Dagi claims that for the AKP to accept this "formula," which has been voiced by Speaker of Parliament Koksal Toptan, would amount to submitting to bureaucratic tutelage instead of insisting on democracy.

    In an article entitled "Why the incident involving Paksut is important", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal comments on the alleged pursuit of Constitutional Court Vice-President Osman Paksut's car by a police vehicle equipped with remote listening devices. He draws attention to certain "unpalatable" details about this incident that lend credence to Paksut's claim that he is under police surveillance. He also claims that unless the Erdogan government launches a probe into such events, it will be held responsible for the destruction of democracy in Turkey.

    In an article entitled "Third option: The lesser of the evils?", Bugun columnist Ahmet Tasgetiren asserts that the "formula" suggested by Koksal Toptan regarding the closure case against the AKP is one that would allow the judiciary to save face by imposing sanctions against the AKP yet avoiding responsibility for destabilizing Turkey by rendering a closure ruling in what the whole world perceives to be a "political" lawsuit.

    In an article entitled "A major war was prevented at the last minute", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul uses Energy Minister Hilmi Guler's recent remark that no global energy policies that do not factor in Turkey could be successful as a starting point for a discussion of how "the [global] energy strategies that shape the world in the 21st century" have revealed Turkey's strengths as a country crucially positioned between the energy-rich Caspian and Persian Gulf regions and the Western markets. He also draws attention to what he describes as an abortive attempt by the hawkish wing of the US government to get Israel to attack Lebanon on 10 May in order to set the stage for war on Syria and Iran.

    b) CHP's decision to open office in Brussels: In an article entitled "The profile of a Bureau Chief," Hurriyet columnist Ertugrul Ozkok says that the Republican People's Party's decision to open an office in Brussels as the most important decision of the week. Pointing out that the CHP needs to improve its image in Europe and should, therefore, name a person who is capable of persuading people rather than taking an uncompromising stance, Ozkok says: "I certainly believe that Turkey cannot maintain a healthy relationship with the EU so long as the CHP is unable to establish a healthy relationship with the EU."

    c) Queen's Visit to Turkey: In an article entitled "Great Britain's theatre puts Basra on stage," Milliyet columnist Serpil Yilmaz says that British Foreign Secretary David Miliband urged Turkey to seek new business opportunities in Basra during Queen Elizabeth II's recent visit. Pointing out that the British Government plans to pave the way for cooperation between Kurds, Sunnites, and Shiites while reducing Shiites' dependence on Iran as a result of steps to be taken in Basra, Yilmaz says: "It appears that Turkey is the first country to be spurred into action in order to ensure sustainable economic prosperity. The picture of 'Turkey wearing a headscarf" which the United Kingdom has given through the Queen is an effective Sunnite weapon against Shiites."

    In an article entitled "The encounter of Saudi and British Monarchies in the AKP," Cumhuriyet columnist Mustafa Balbay asserts that strenuous efforts were made during the Queen's visit to create the impression that she was visiting a country ruled by an Islamic government which takes a moderate stance toward imperialism. He also draws attention to comments in the British press about the Queen's visit to Turkey and Miliband's statements which, he says, reflected a pro-AKP stance.

    ES/


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