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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-05-28

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. 100/08 28.05.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Contacts of the Turkish Cypriot leader in Brussels and his interview with the Associated Press
  • [02] Turkish-Slovenian Business Council convened in Istanbul
  • [03] Turkey complains at slow EU accession pace
  • [04] Parliamentarians meeting marred by debates over Cyprus
  • [05] Statements by Ercakica on the Cyprus problem
  • [06] A meeting between the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and German high-ranking officials
  • [07] The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce argued that Dome Hotel must be privatized with a transparent tendering method
  • [08] Asil Nadir is applying to court for the tender on the occupied Lefkonoiko illegal airport
  • [09] A workshop was organized in occupied Keryneia by Turkish Cypriot and Syrian businessmen from the tourism sector
  • [10] Further facilities for Turkish citizens to visit occupied Cyprus
  • [11] A Pharmacovigilance Centre will be established in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [12] A DISY delegation visited the headquarters of the UBP
  • [13] Parliament Speaker Toptan says Turkish-speaking countries to form alliance
  • [14] Turkey will launch massive anti-terrorism awareness campaign in EU countries
  • [15] Ahmet Turk resigns as DTP Chairman
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [16] From the Turkish Press of 27 May 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Contacts of the Turkish Cypriot leader in Brussels and his interview with the Associated Press

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (28.05.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, gave an interview yesterday in Brussels to the Associated Press and said he was still optimistic that the face to face talks will start next month and that a solution to the Cyprus problem will be reached until the end of the year. He noted that he was really optimistic that the differences between the sides will be overcome and direct negotiations will begin, because there is a change in the Greek Cypriot side.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (28.05.08) refers to the same interview under the title The Greek Cypriots are not ready and reports that Mr Talat said he got the impression that the Greek Cypriots are not ready to start negotiations on 21 June.

    Kibris reports also that Mr Talat met yesterday with Mr Dimitrij Rupel, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovenian term presidency of the EU, at whose invitation he was in the European capital.

    The meeting with Mr Javier Solana, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, did not take place because Mr Solana asked for it to be postponed to the evening hours, when Mr Talat would depart from Brussels. The meeting with Mr Rupel took place at Slovenias permanent representation office in the EU.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Turkish-Slovenian Business Council convened in Istanbul

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.05.08) reported the following:

    Turkish-Slovenian Business Council convened in Istanbul on Tuesday. Representatives of Slovenian companies on construction, engineering, woodwork, iron-steel and food sectors held bilateral meetings with Turkish companies within the scope of the council meeting.

    Turkish-Slovenian Business Council Co-chairman Basar Arioglu said that the trade volume between Turkey and Slovenia was 68 million USD in 1995, and it was expected to exceed 1 billion USD in 2008.

    Arioglu said the target for trade volume in 2012 was 2 billion USD.

    [03] Turkey complains at slow EU accession pace

    Under the above little, NTV MSNBC online (28.05.08) reports the following:

    Turkey told the European Union on Tuesday the slow pace of its accession talks was causing public enthusiasm for membership of the bloc to wane, but the EU insisted it was up to Ankara to push harder on reforms.

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan cited one unnamed EU state in particular as holding up part of the talks which started in 2005, an indirect reference to France and President Nicolas Sarkozys oft-stated opposition to Turkeys membership aspirations.

    The openings of some chapters are blocked, Babacan told a news conference, referring to the 35 reform areas into which negotiations with the EU are divided.

    These chapters have not been opened because of the concerns of one member state ... That has a negative impact on the enthusiasm of the Turkish population for reforms and accession, he said after the meeting in Brussels with EU officials.

    Turkey has so far opened just six of the 35 chapters of reform work required for accession and is hoping to start a further two on company and intellectual property laws as early as next month.

    To the annoyance of Ankara and many EU capitals, France wants to restrict negotiations to those chapters which could be used as the basis of any future privileged partnership without implying membership.

    But EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said a further seven chapters were ready for opening in areas ranging from food safety to social policy if Turkey acts to fulfil the technical benchmarks for doing so.

    In a speech to European and Turkish parliamentarians in Brussels, he called on Ankara to implement stalled reforms on state aid, decentralisation, ombudsman law and upgrading the powers of the Court of Auditors.

    The pace of negotiations depends on progress in legal and democratic reforms and especially in their implementation, Rehn told the sitting.

    Diplomats said Babacan only attended the EU talks after France which insists Ankara should have at most a special partnership with the bloc withdrew its demand that the word accession be omitted from EU texts prepared for the meeting.French Europe Minister Jean-Pierre Jouyet told reporters on the eve of the talks that Paris had chosen to withdraw its demand, noting its forthcoming six-month spell as EU President required it to be impartial, equitable, and balanced.

    We would like to see the goal of full membership maintained and for Turkey to move towards that goal, Babacan said. Aside from Frances objections, progress has been further held back by a row over EU-member Cyprus, EU concerns over human rights in Turkey and the perception in Europe that Turkey is slow to put into practice reforms agreed at the legal level.

    A bid by prosecutors to shut down the ruling AK Party for alleged Islamist activities is seen casting further political uncertainty over the accession process.

    [04] Parliamentarians meeting marred by debates over Cyprus

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (28.05.08) reports the following:

    A meeting of Turkish and European parliamentarians in Brussels was marred yesterday by debates over the Cyprus issue, with one member eventually walking out of the gathering in protest.

    Dutch parliamentarian Joost Lagendijk, who co-chairs the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, blocked attempts by some European parliamentarians to shift the agenda of the committee's meeting to the Cyprus issue contrary to the scheduled agenda.

    One of these parliamentarians, German deputy Reneta Sommer, criticized Turkey for not recognizing EU-member Greek Cyprus, reminding Ankara that the EU consists of 27 member states, including Greek Cyprus. Refusal to recognize the Greek Cypriot state does not contribute to a solution, said the German parliamentarian.

    Lagendijk, on the other hand, rejected the argument, saying this amounts to saying that the EU should freeze its relations with Turkey unless the deep-seated Cyprus problem is resolved. Greek Cypriot parliamentarian Marios Matsakis walked out of the meeting in protest at Lagendijk's remarks.

    Turkish deputies called on their European counterparts for "sincerity" and complained that the Turkish Cypriots were still suffering from an international embargo despite EU promises to lift restrictions on them after they voted for a UN reunification plan in 2004.

    The parliamentarians' meeting, which convened as Turkish and EU officials met at the Turkey-EU Association Council, also focused on discussions over EU restrictions on the export and transportation of boron. Turkish parliamentarians attending the gathering criticized the EU norms, saying they harm the Turkish economy and calling for a revision of the bloc's policy.

    The EU considers boron a hazardous material and imposes restrictions on its export and transportation. Turkey exports boron to 67 countries and earns $400 million annually from this trade, said the Turkish lawmakers, demanding trade with EU countries as well.

    Turkey is one of the world's largest producers of boron, having almost 72 percent of the world's boron reserves. The largest deposits are found in central and western Anatolia, including the provinces of Eskisehir, Kutahya and Balikesir.

    Responding to the Turkish lawmakers' comments, Jean-Christophe Filori, an EU Commission official, said he had taken note of what Turkish experts have said, but added that the EU decision to impose restrictions on export and transportation of boron was made unanimously due to public health concerns.

    [05] Statements by Ercakica on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (28.05.08) reports that Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, has said that the Turkish Cypriot side maintains its position that the negotiations on the Cyprus problem could begin in the second half of June.

    In statements during his weekly press briefing yesterday, Mr Ercakica argued: We shall continue to exhibit a behaviour which encourages the Greek Cypriot side on the issue of the beginning of a comprehensive negotiating process as soon as possible.

    He said that the result of the meeting between President Christofias and Mr Talat last Friday was positive to a great extent. Mr Ercakica argued that after the meeting many speculative news were published in the Greek Cypriot press on the issue of the launching of the negotiations in September. He said that during the meeting Mr Talat told president Christofias that he was ready for direct talks in June and that the Greek Cypriot side gave emphasis to the need for evaluating the work at the working groups and the technical committees.

    Referring to the contacts of Mr Talat in Brussels, he said that their first impression is that the EU member states are very interested in the solution of the Cyprus problem. He noted that Mr Talat met with many ministers of foreign affairs of EU member States who conveyed to him the message that they are ready to provide any kind of assistance for the solution of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible.

    Pointing out that the negotiations on the Cyprus problem should be carried out under the UN umbrella, Mr Ercakica added: The Turkish Cypriot side is against carrying this procedure under the EU umbrella and the main reason for this is the efforts of the Greek Cypriot side to use against us the EU membership which is has unjustly gained. Therefore, the participation of the EU in the negotiating process has to be limited at technical level.

    He expressed the view that the military exercises together with the Greek Cypriots, like France does, should be avoided. Mr Ercakica said that Mr Talat had breakfast yesterday in Brussels with the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Babacan. The meeting was outside the schedule of Mr Talat.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] A meeting between the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and German high-ranking officials

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (28.05.08) reports that the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, Kutlu Ince met yesterday at the Cambers headquarters with Peter Tempel, responsible for European Affairs at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Present at the meeting were also Dr. Rolf Kaiser, Ambassador of Germany to Nicosia, Dr. Wolfgag Munich, Financial Advisor of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Gabriele Scheel, officer of the above-mentioned ministry.

    According to a statement issue yesterday by the Chamber, Mr Ince said that the positive messages which will be given for the negotiations which started by President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat will contribute to the comprehensive solution.

    Mr Ince argued that it is observed that the psychological pressure on the Greek Cypriot community was reduced after the election of president Christofias at the leadership. He noted that this is the time for a solution and added that as Chamber they will continue to support the decisions taken at the first meeting of the two leaders.

    Mr Ince alleged that in case Turkey opens unilaterally its sea and airports to the Cypriot ships and airplanes, the Turkish Cypriot businessmen will be threatened economically and claimed that this threat will be eliminated only if the illegal Tymvou airport and the occupied Famagusta seaport open simultaneously with Turkeys ports.

    Mr Tempel said they think that the negotiations which started and the ensuing developments are positive and they support them. He added that the positive messages will contribute to the confidence building measures and peace in the same way they might contribute to the comprehensive negotiations.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce argued that Dome Hotel must be privatized with a transparent tendering method

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (28.05.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce has expressed the opinion that the occupied Katsellis Dome Hotel, which is a property of the Turkish Cypriot community, must be privatized with a transparent tendering method. In a statement issued yesterday, the Chamber expressed the opinion that the state must not be an entrepreneur and a producer in the economy, but it should have a monitoring and regulating role.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Asil Nadir is applying to court for the tender on the occupied Lefkonoiko illegal airport

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (28.05.08) reports that businessman Asil Nadir is applying to court today for his violated rights in the tender of the occupied Lefkonoiko (Gecitkale) illegal airport. The paper notes that Mr Nadir owns 30 % of the shares of the Cyprus Aviation Services Limited company (CAS), but efforts have been exerted to exclude him from the tender.

    According to a statement issued yesterday by Mr Nadirs office, he will apply to court having into consideration the interests of the TRNC and the public. He noted that he considers as his duty to inform the state and the public on the issue. The paper writes that Mr Asil Nadir revealed that the Cyprus Aviation Services Limited companys structure is contrary to the agreement, that the company did not complete the establishment procedure provided for in the agreement and that the sides were not on the island during the date when the protocol was allegedly signed. Mr Nadir alleged that in the procedure where the contract and the laws were violated, the tender became inapplicable.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (28.05.08) refers to the issue and notes that Mr Nadir said that CAS was not an active company and proved that this company has not been registered in the occupied areas in spite of the fact that three months passed and it should have been registered within one month. He revealed documents which he had acquired from the security authorities in order to prove that the self-styled minister of public works and transport, Salih Usar and the witnesses of the agreement were abroad during the signing of the agreement, adds Afrika.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] A workshop was organized in occupied Keryneia by Turkish Cypriot and Syrian businessmen from the tourism sector

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (28.05.08) reports that a workshop was organized yesterday in occupied Keryneia by Turkish Cypriot and Syrian businessmen from the tourism sector who are visiting the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus within the framework of a tour organized by the self-styled ministry of economy and tourism under the auspices of the ministry of foreign affairs, within the framework of extending and reviving the relations between the two countries. The Syrian businessmen toured yesterday the occupied Keryneia area and today they are expected to visit occupied Famagusta and Karpass peninsula.

    Addressing the workshop, the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci said that the relations between Syria and the TRNC in the fields of economy, tourism, education, sports and culture which started recently will last forever.

    In his speech, the self-styled minister of economy and tourism, Erdogan Sanlidag expressed his pleasure for the relations with Syria that began after the commencement of the sea link between occupied Famagusta and Latakia.

    The director of Zabbaa Travel and Tourism, Zeina Tabbaa, who addressed the workshop representing the Syrian Republic Tourism and Travel Agents, said that they are ready to cooperate with the Turkish Cypriot businessmen in the field of tourism.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (28.05.08) refers to the issue and reports that the businessmen from Syria distributed a tourist map and brochure which shows that Hatay and Iskederun (Alexandretta) area is located in the Syrian territory. According to the paper, when this happened, the Turkish Cypriot officials did not know what to do.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Further facilities for Turkish citizens to visit occupied Cyprus

    Turkish daily Bugun newspaper (28.05.08) writes that a campaign under the slogan Authentic Mediterranean: North Cyprus was launched in Turkey, aiming to increase the tourism potentials from Turkey to the TRNC. The campaign was introduced in Ankara by the self-styled minister of economy and tourism, Erdogan Sanlidag and the Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ertugrul Gunay.

    In statements Mr. Sanlidag said that the Turkish citizens will need neither a passport or visa, nor holding foreign currency or to know a foreign language in order to enter the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus. The Turkish citizens will be able to enter the TRNC just by showing their identity card and without paying any airport taxes. He further added that their aim is for the Turkish citizens to visit the TRNC, a place which offers a history of 9.000 years and 320 sunny days, at least once.

    (ML)

    [11] A Pharmacovigilance Centre will be established in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (28.05.08) reports that a protocol for the establishment of a Pharmacovigilance Centre in the occupied areas of Cyprus was signed yesterday between the self-styled ministry of health and the illegal Near Eat University (YDU). Referring to the importance of the centre, the self-styled minister of health, Esref Vaiz said that it will be an important step for the integration of the TRNC with the world scientifically.

    Mr Vaiz noted the work which will be carried out in the Centre is very important from the point of view that the teachers in the Pharmaceutical Faculty of the YDU will be sharing with other countries the work that they will be doing in cooperation with the World Health Organizations Drugs Monitoring Centre.

    Furthermore, the founding rector of the YDU, Suat Gunsel, who signed the protocol on behalf of the university, said that the Centre will be cooperating with other universities and pharmacovigilance centres.

    (I/Ts.)

    [12] A DISY delegation visited the headquarters of the UBP

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (28.05.08) reports that a delegation from the Democratic Rally Party (DISY) headed by its President Mr Nikos Anastasiades visited yesterday the National Unity Party (UBP).

    In statements after the meeting, the chairman of the UBP, Tahsin Ertugruloglu described the visit as historic because for the first time a party from the free areas of the Republic visited the UBP. He said that their contacts will continue and that the UBP will visit the DISY.

    He noted that the two parties may disagree on the Cyprus problem, but this does not mean that the dialogue between them will not continue.

    Mr Anastasiades said that they may have different views on the solution of the Cyprus problem and the way things are going, but this should not prevent the dialogue between them.

    (I/Ts.)

    [13] Parliament Speaker Toptan says Turkish-speaking countries to form alliance

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.05.08) reports the following:

    Turkish Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan said on Tuesday that efforts were underway to form a union among the parliaments of Turkish speaking countries. "Our goal is to know each other better and to contribute to development of our countries," Toptan said speaking at a meeting with the culture ministers of Turkish speaking countries who were currently in Ankara for the 24th meeting of the Permanent Council of Joint Administration of Turkic Culture & Art (TURKSOY). Toptan said acting parliament speakers had their first meeting in southern province of Antalya, noting that the second meeting was planned to take place in Astana, Kazakhstan.

    "I hope inter-parliamentary union to be established by the end of the year," he added. Toptan underlined the importance of a very close cultural relationship among the Turkish speaking country, noting that cultural relations linked the societies and generations to each other.

    Toptan said, "We want all generations to learn the common literature and history of Turkish speaking countries."

    [14] Turkey will launch massive anti-terrorism awareness campaign in EU countries

    Turkish daily Sabah online newspaper (25.05.08) reports the following:

    The button has been pressed for the latest blow to be delivered to the PKK. Through the agency of NGOs Turkey is working with opinion leaders in the EU countries on a huge campaign to expose the organization's bloody face and how it is poisoning European youth with drugs. The campaign will begin in countries where terrorism receives direct or indirect support and is active. Conferences and seminars will be held in Belgium, where both the PKK and the DHKP-C [Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front] have offices, as well as in countries such as Germany, Denmark, France, Italy and Sweden. Billboards, posters, flyers as well as radio and television commercials will be used in this campaign. Slogans such as "The PKK is an organization of baby killers and drug smugglers" and "Terrorism will hit you too one day" will be used.

    [15] Ahmet Turk Resigns as DTP Chairman

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.05.08) reports the following:

    Ahmet Turk resigned as Democratic Society Party (DTP) group chairman and was replaced by Emine Ayna, a DTP deputy from the southeastern province of Mardin, on Tuesday.

    Turk told reporters that Emine Ayna was earlier elected acting chairperson of DTP --replacing Nurettin Demirtas who left his post as chairman of the party for a military service.

    Turk also said that during a meeting of DTP on May 7th-8th, his mission as group chairman was decided to be ended, and that's why he vacated his post now. Turk said that there was no problem within the party. When asked whether he would run for chairman of DTP, Turk said this would be discussed at a later date.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [16] From the Turkish Press of 27 May 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items featuring prominently in the Turkish press of 27 May 2008:

    a) Political tension after the closure case against AKP: Melih Asik censures Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for arguing that the Supreme Court issued a statement against the AKP administration by assuming that it was forced to do so because of the situation, not because of the authority transferred to it by the laws. He asserts in a column in Istanbul Milliyet that the administration should realize that tension would not have existed in the country if Erdogan refrained from electing the president by himself last year, embraced everyone as he promised on the night the election results were disclosed, avoided instructing his colleagues to draw up a new constitution after he won the elections, decided against moving ahead with the bill on the use of headdress in the universities, and avoided ignoring 53 percent of the country's population. Melih says: Had that been the case, we would not have felt obliged to criticize him and the administration.

    Commenting on Prime Minister Erdogan's reaction to the Supreme Court and Council of State statements, Mustafa Balbay says that he tried to create the impression that the military forces support the judiciary and express displeasure against the silent approach the military forces maintained on the tension thus far. In a column in Istanbul Cumhuriyet, he notes: It might be that Erdogan tried to say that he will not be able to claim that he has been treated unfairly if the military forces fail to react. Recalling Erdogan's statement that he would be betraying 16.5 million voters if he fails to react to criticism, Balbay asks: Are you obliged to challenge the judicial organs in order to avoid betraying the electorate? Focusing on the action taken by President Gul to defuse tension after MHP leader Devlet Bahceli urged him to do so, Balbay criticizes Gul for calling on the judicial organs to comply with customs and traditions. He argues that Gul failed to take action when the government insulted the judicial organs and the EU expressed support for the AKP and notes: The approach he maintains shows that he is inclined to be a side to the problem. The developments show that the calculations the AKP makes are based on these views: 1. If the AKP is to be closed down, then let it be closed down as soon as possible. Let us be the determining factor in the new era before the opposition is able to get organized. 2. We should create the conditions we need to change the situation in our favour if the court case continues for a long time. One of the alternatives for that might be to obstruct the judicial organs. 3. We should shake the chessboard to conceal where we stand if we lose the court case.

    In an article entitled "Tearing down a building" Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal argues that the recent Supreme Court statement has confirmed the presence of a serious crisis in Turkey caused by the Erdogan government's efforts to pass a totally new constitution. Unal claims that writing a new constitution in Turkey by "diluting" the "unchangeable" articles in the introductory section of the current constitution would mean tearing down the state and attempting to build it anew, adding that the ruling AKP has not received a mandate from the public to carry out such an undertaking. He also asserts that the current constitutional structure reflects the national will as represented by Turkey's founding fathers and that it is immutable.

    Hasan Cemal, in a column in Istanbul Milliyet, sums up the views Prime Minister Erdogan conveyed to the journalists who accompanied him to Lebanon on Sunday, 25 May 2008. He underlines Erdogan's statements on Turkey's importance for the Arab world and increasing influence in the region and quotes him as saying the following on the lawsuit that has been filed to have the AKP closed down: The prosecutor will express his views in the court. We will then move to make our verbal defence. We intend to quickly use the time that has been given to us. Cemal also quotes him on the situation of foreign investors as follows: Turkey could have attracted $25 billion in 2008. However, we are now trying to explain the situation. We are trying to explain that continuity is a basic state principle.

    In a column in Istanbul Hurriyet, Ilter Turkmen draws attention to the tension in Turkey and emphasizes the importance of separation of forces. Wondering why the Supreme Court and the Council of State criticized the administration for submitting the draft of the judicial reforms package to the EU without consulting with the judicial organs, he notes that the draft has not been turned into a bill and warns: Turkey might be confronted with the most serious crisis in its history if the clash between the forces of the state is allowed to continue. MHP leader Devlet Bahceli urged the president to take action. He was right. However, the republic's prosecutor has called for a ban on the political activities of the president. So, how can he use his influence to defuse the situation? We are being drawn toward an unbelievable political and legal crisis. It seems that the present situation will continue for a long time.

    Commenting on the political tension in Taraf newspaper, Ahmet Altan challenges those who claim that they support secularism in the country. In a column, he argues that their claims are unfounded because Turkey is a country that is similar to the Vatican, ruled by the Sunni sect. Arguing that the members of the other religions in the country are neither appointed as state employees nor allowed to join the military forces, he says: As far as the state is concerned, the ideal citizens are the Sunni people who live like the Alevis. They must not worship and they must drink alcoholic beverages. Meanwhile, the women must not cover their heads with a headdress. Prophet Muhammed and the Koran must not be mentioned. All the high-ranking state officials live like Alevis. The high-ranking government officials do not support secularism. They use secularism to be able to remain in power. Secularism is an excuse for them. Confusion exists in the country, not secularism. Turkey is like the Vatican.

    Under the headline, "Closure case deprives Turkey of $25 billion," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which quotes Prime Minister Erdogan as saying that but for the closure lawsuit against the ruling AKP, foreign capital no less than $25 billion would have come to Turkey. The report also highlights Erdogan's remark that certain quarters at home are trying to turn Turkey into an "iron-curtain state."

    Yusuf Kanli welcomes in a column in the Istanbul Turkish Daily News President Gul's action to hold talks with the disputing sides in the political tension in Turkey to defuse the situation. He calls for the convocation of a consultative council to ponder how national consensus can be achieved.

    Ilnur Cevit lauds President Gul's decision to intervene in the political tension in Turkey in a column in the Ankara the New Anatolian. However, he doubts whether the president's initiative will be successful.

    In an article entitled "We are loyal to NATO and CENTO" Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that none of the Supreme Court justices who issued the recent declaration concerning the closure case against the AKP appear to be committed to human rights and the rule of law, adding that "all they care about is secularism, the fundamental principles of the Republic, and Kemalism." He claims that since these principles are represented by the Republican People's Party's emblem of six arrows, any references to them entail an emphasis on the CHP's identity. He also cites the "regime debate" maintained by the CHP, recurring military takeovers, and the presence of a "deep state" and "gangs" as manifestations of a continuing "single party rule" in Turkey.

    In an article entitled "Tearing down a building" Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal argues that the recent Supreme Court statement has confirmed the presence of a serious crisis in Turkey caused by the Erdogan government's efforts to pass a totally new constitution. Unal claims that writing a new constitution in Turkey by "diluting" the "unchangeable" articles in the introductory section of the current constitution would mean tearing down the state and attempting to build it anew, adding that the ruling AKP has not received a mandate from the public to carry out such an undertaking. He also asserts that the current constitutional structure reflects the national will as represented by Turkey's founding fathers and that it is immutable.

    b) Kurdish Problem: According to a report by Namik Durukan, DTP deputies have turned down an invitation by Prime Minister Erdogan to hold talks with them when he visited Diyarbakir yesterday. DTP deputy Akin Birdal is quoted as saying that they will not participate in the meeting Erdogan will hold because he refuses to shake their hand in the parliament, saying that he does not address those who fail to describe the PKK as a terrorist organization.

    In a commentary entitled "The state in Diyarbakir" Zaman writer Bejan Matur expresses the hope that Prime Minister Erdogan will disclose a package during his visit to Diyarbakir starting today that will create new "political hope" in the region. She also asserts that absent steps by political players that would provide more room for "legal politics" in the southeast, northern Iraq will emerge as an "attraction centre" for the Kurds.

    c) Turkeys role in the region: In an article entitled "An Ottoman Peace is possible" Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul emphasizes "our need" to develop regional peace and dialog initiatives against international efforts to foment ethnic and sectarian conflicts and secular-Islamist clashes and encourage cultural divisions in the Middle East. He adduces the fact that "compromise" has been achieved in Lebanon in the wake of a "terrible two-year conflict" and that Turkey has managed to organize a Syrian-Israeli meeting in Istanbul despite all the "vows" taken by the United States and Israel to "wipe Syria off the map" as evidence of the feasibility of peace in the region against all odds.

    d) Debate on Secularism-Islamism: In an article entitled "You are appalled, aren't you?", Today's Zaman columnist Ekrem Dumanli argues that recent remarks by Professor Serif Mardin referring to Kemalism as a "dry ideology" have indicated the fallacy of using the term "neighbourhood pressure" coined by Mardin as an expression critical of manifestations of Islamic religiosity encroaching on secularist ways of living.

    In an article entitled "Does the west care about democracy in Turkey?" Zaman columnist Sahin Alpay asserts that the prevailing public impression in Turkey regarding the US stance on "threats" facing the democratic regime in Turkey is that the Bush administration attaches more importance to maintaining good ties with the military in order to be able to continue making use of Turkey's military bases than to helping democracy take root in Turkey. He calls on "the current US administration and the next - hopefully Democratic - presidency" to realize that "the essential rift in Turkey is between democratic forces and those who support an authoritarian form of Kemalism. Increasingly xenophobic and paranoid, authoritarian Kemalism has turned its back on Ataturk's ideals and opposes the modernization and Westernization of Turkey."

    In an article entitled "Which one is the winner, the teacher or the imam?", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru takes issue with the argument, based on what he refers to as a misinterpretation of recent remarks by Professor Serif Mardin, that Ottoman imams [Muslim clerics] have prevailed over school teachers in Republican Turkey. Koru claims that an imam-teacher dichotomy does not exist in modern Turkey and that far from setting teachers and imams against one another, the Republican regime expects imams and teachers to work "hand in hand" to develop this country.

    ES/


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