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

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. 148/08 05.08.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] «They dont want to return back»
  • [02] Serdar Denktas stated that AKP interfered in the internal politics of the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [03] Irans initiative to mediate for the solution of the Cyprus problem
  • [04] Report in Turkish Cumhuriyet argues that the EU is pressing Ankara to ratify the Additional Protocol of the Ankara Agreement in return for its support in the AKP closure case
  • [05] Lagendijk: The biggest mistake of the Europeans was their Cyprus policy
  • [06] General Ilker Basbug will be the new Chief of Turkeys General Staff
  • [07] The occupation army did not give flight permission to the helicopters of the Republic of Cyprus to help put off the fire in the occupied Vufavento Castle area
  • [08] The chairman of the Building Contractors Union stated that the economy in occupied Cyprus is in a very bad situation
  • [09] The Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers Union is disappointed because of the continued increase in prices in the occupied areas
  • [10] Turkey offered 1.5 million Euro for the pedestrianization of the Asmaalti and Arasta areas in occupied Lefkosia
  • [11] Turkish Cypriot Football Federation, informed the Turkish Cypriot leader on its contacts in Zurich
  • [12] The Cyprus problem among the joint declaration between Turkey and Bahrain
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] Turkish daily views the new appointments in the Turkish Army
  • [14] Turkish problem-solving policy to boost chances at UN Security Council
  • [15] From the Turkish Press of 04 August 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] «They dont want to return back»

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (05.08.08) reports in its front page that Mrs Emine Erk, chairperson of the Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Foundation, speaking exclusively to the paper about the property issue, has said that the property issue is considered to be one of the most crucial issues of the Cyprus problem.

    The paper writes that Mrs Erk, who was one of the persons who participated in the preparation of the Anan Plan, has said that the property issue and the issue of property rights could be solved on the basis of a similar system as foreseen in the Anan Plan, but with some amendments. If this can be achieved, then it would be considered a good result for the Turkish Cypriot people.

    Reminding that the issues of real property and property rights are directly connected with human rights, she said that several allegations had been brought to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

    She then reiterated that she considers the Anan Plan as a good basis for finding a solution to the property issue by arguing that the property issue could not be solved by the European Court of Human Rights or by the so-called Compensation Committee. « This is a reality, and it must be accepted », she added.

    Emine Erk, also said that Mr Mehmet Ali Talat is lucky because he has as backup the Annan Plan for the discussion of the property issue during the negotiations of the two leaders to be started on September 3, even though the Greek Cypriot side is refusing to refer to the Anan Plan.

    Supporting different components of the Annan Plan, Emine Erk alleged that some circles are trying to frighten the Turkish Cypriot Community by saying that Greek Cypriots will return, take their properties and throw them out. She also said that only 3 persons out of 30 of those who applied to the «Compensation Committee» want to return back to their property.

    She then said that Turkish Cypriots have nothing to be afraid of, because they are the side who said YES to the referendum of 2004 and added that if the Greek Cypriots want to come back, they can come, but they will not manipulate the Turkish Cypriots.

    (AK)

    [02] Serdar Denktas stated that AKP interfered in the internal politics of the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (05.08.08) reports that Serdar Denktas, the leader of the Democratic Party (DP) has argued that during the policy followed regarding the Annan Plan, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) caused the loss of the prestige of the TRNC internationally. In an interview with Turkish BAREM magazine, Mr Denktas stated that for the third countries now what the Turkish Cypriots think has lost its importance and it has been accepted that the decision taken by Ankara will come up as a result. Mr Denktas alleged that the AKP interfered in the internal politics in the occupied areas of Cyprus and forced the self-styled MPs of his party to resign. He said that two mayors had been called to the AKP headquarters and were forced to submit their resignations.

    Mr Denktas expressed the opinion that the AKP government called on the Turkish Cypriots to accept the Annan Plan and accepted the fact that the main role for the solution of the Cyprus problem belongs to Turkey, while during the period after the referendum for the first time the Turkish Cypriots started not to appear as one of the interlocutors for the Cyprus problem. Both for the Greek Cypriot side and the countries of the world, Ankara is now the interlocutor, he argued.

    Furthermore, Mr Denktas accused the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat of acting as former chairman of the Republican Turkish Party and not as a president of the republic. He alleged that Mr Talat is from time to time using the disorder in Turkey and tries to walk on his own way.

    (ITs)

    [03] Irans initiative to mediate for the solution of the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (05.08.08) reports in its first page that prior to the launching of negotiations in Cyprus on the 3rd of September, an approach for help as regards the solution of the problem came from Iran. According to the paper, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ali Babacan was in Teheran, Iran, the previous week in order to offer Turkeys help on the problems regarding Irans nuclear programme when a proposal for mediation came from Iran which took the Turkish Foreign Minister by surprise.

    The paper goes on and writes the following: Following the request for help made to Iran by the Greek Cypriot administration, the Iranian Foreign Minister Manucehr Mottaki, going beyond the diplomatic bounds, made a shock proposal to Turkey and told the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ali Babacan: If you want, we can intervene for the solution of the Cyprus problem. The paper writes that Ali Babacan, who was shocked after this proposal, put himself together and said: Thank you. But this issue is not even for discussion. Mr Babacan said to Mr Mottaki that Turkey wants the solution of the problem to be found within the UN framework.

    (CS)

    [04] Report in Turkish Cumhuriyet argues that the EU is pressing Ankara to ratify the Additional Protocol of the Ankara Agreement in return for its support in the AKP closure case

    Under the title The pressure for the additional protocol, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (05.08.08) publishes a report by Mahmut Gurer according to which the EU wants from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) a return for its support against the closure case of the Party. As Mahmut Gurer writes, the return is for the Turkish Assembly to ratify as soon as possible the Additional Protocol of the Ankara Agreement, which foresees the recognition by the Turkish government of the Republic of Cyprus as the single official representative in Cyprus. The EU has already announced that Turkeys negotiation procedures will be suspended by 2009 in case Ankara refuses to ratify the Additional Protocol.

    According to information on the issue acquired from Foreign Ministry sources, Ankaras Additional Protocol will not be sent to the Turkish Assembly for ratification unless all the isolations imposed on the TRNC are lifted or unless a solution to the Cyprus problem is reached, as Mahmut Gurer concludes.

    (ML)

    [05] Lagendijk: The biggest mistake of the Europeans was their Cyprus policy

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.08.08) reports the following from Bursa:

    Joost Lagendijk, co-chairman of Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee, said on Tuesday that he believed Turkey would join EU in the end because Turkey and EU had the same long-term interests.

    Speaking to Ankara Anatolia in the north-western province of Bursa, Lagendijk said that in the two years after Justice and Development (AK) Party came to power, many reforms were fulfilled and there was optimism in Turkey. However, he added, the EU membership process became harder after 2004, because there were parties both in Turkey and Europe which were determined to stop Turkey's EU membership process.

    Lagendijk also said that parties which were against Turkey's EU membership had become more active since 2005, and setting a negotiation date for Turkey was a surprise for those parties.

    Lagendijk said that one of the reasons in the decrease in support to EU membership in Turkey was EU's Cyprus policy. He added that the biggest mistake of Europeans was their Cyprus policy.

    Lagendijk said that it was a big mistake to accept EU membership of Greek Cypriot administration before the solution of problem in Cyprus. He said that Greek Cypriot side's accession to EU was approved although Greek Cypriots gave 'no' vote while Turkish Cypriots gave 'yes' vote to Annan plan in referendum in 2004. Thus, he said, EU's reliability was deteriorated for Turks.

    Lagendijk said that in the next 20 or 50 years, the U.S., Russia, China, India, Brazil and Republic of South Africa would be the main powers, so the EU and Turkey would have to join forces in that new order.

    The developments in the Middle East were very important for Europe so Europe needed Turkey's experience and stance to play a main role in the Middle East, Lagendijk said.

    Lagendijk said that he did not know a certain date, but he thought Turkey might join the EU in the next 7-10 years.

    Regarding the decision of Turkish Constitutional Court not to close the ruling AK Party, Lagendijk said that now the EU was expecting Turkey to resume its agenda of reforms.

    [06] General Ilker Basbug will be the new Chief of Turkeys General Staff

    Under the title Basbugs era in the Turkish Armed Forces, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.08.08) reports in its first page that Turkeys Supreme Military Council has announced the new chain of command which will be in effect as of the 30th of August in Turkey. Commander of the Land Forces Command, General Ilker Basbug, is the new Chief of the Turkeys General Staff. General Basbug replaces General Yasar Buyukanit who retires on the 30th of August.

    The paper also reports that all the commanders who served in the occupation forces in Cyprus were promoted and writes that Lieutenant General Hayri Kivrikoglu was promoted to the Commandership of the Aegean Army. In addition, Mehmet Eroz, the Commander of the Security Forces Commandership (SFC) [Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus], was promoted to lieutenant general.

    Commenting on the same issue Yeni Duzen writes that the only Turkish Cypriot general, Deputy Commander Salih Cengaver Cem, retires from the Turkish army on the 30th of August.

    (CS)

    [07] The occupation army did not give flight permission to the helicopters of the Republic of Cyprus to help put off the fire in the occupied Vufavento Castle area

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (05.08.08) reports in its first page about the fire that blazed up in the northwest part of occupied Vufavento Castle in the Agios Epiktitos village area, and writes that a member of the Technical Committees and the working groups applied to George Iakovou asking for the help of the Greek Cypriot side for the fire. According to Afrika, Mr Iakovou contacted President Christofias, the help request was approved immediately and the helicopters were ready to take off. However, the helicopter aid could not to take place because no flight permission was given by the occupation army.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (05.08.08) reports on the same issue and writes that the fire destroyed 15-hectars of forest and notes that six thousand trees were burned.

    (CS)

    [08] The chairman of the Building Contractors Union stated that the economy in occupied Cyprus is in a very bad situation

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (05.08.08) reports that the chairman of the Building Contractors Union Cafer Gurcafer stated that the economy in occupied Cyprus is in a very bad situation and that the Union is trying to secure international credits in order to complete and sell the half finished houses in the occupied areas. Gurcafer said that they are searching for Financial Institutions in Turkey and Europe in order to get long-term loans with special terms.

    (AK)

    [09] The Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers Union is disappointed because of the continued increase in prices in the occupied areas.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (05.08.08) reports that the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers Union, Mr. Turhan Beydagli, stated that the union is disappointed because of the continued increase in prices in the occupied areas. He also accused the Turkish Cypriot authorities for their policy on casinos and said that the occupancy of the hotels is not 28% as Mr. Erdogan Sanlidag, self-styled Minister of Economy and Tourism announced before, but 19.5%.

    (AK)

    [10] Turkey offered 1.5 million Euro for the pedestrianization of the Asmaalti and Arasta areas in occupied Lefkosia

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.08.08) reports that the works for the pedestrianization of the Asmaalti and Arasta areas, which are within the walls of occupied Lefkosia, have started yesterday. The paper writes that the Turkish Aid Committee offered three million New Turkish Lira for the Project (around 1.5 million euro) while the European Union offered two million Euro.

    Commenting on the issue the tradesmen of the area stated that they are a bit worried that the works would negatively affect their business.

    On his part, the self-styled mayor of occupied Lefkosia, Cemal Bulutoglulari, stated that the project will change the face of the town and added that after the project is completed the business of the tradesmen will be increased.

    (CS)

    [11] Turkish Cypriot Football Federation, informed the Turkish Cypriot leader on its contacts in Zurich

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.06.2008) writes that Omer Adal, the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation (KTFF), informed the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, on the contacts the federation had in Zurich the previous week. Hasan Ercakica, the spokesperson of Mr Talat and the presidential undersecretary Ontac Duzgun were also present at the meeting.

    Mr Adal stated after the meeting that they exchanged views with the Turkish Cypriot leader as regards the course that will be followed from now on. Mr Adal also stated that he will organize a press conference tomorrow where he will give detailed information about KTFFs contacts with FIFA.

    (CS)

    [12] The Cyprus problem among the joint declaration between Turkey and Bahrain

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.08.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish and Bahraini authorities signed a joint declaration on cooperation between the two countries.

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul and King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain discussed several issues in the areas of politics, security, economy, education and culture during their meeting in Ankara on Monday. Both parties signed a joint declaration on cooperation in the mentioned areas.

    The declaration said the main goal was to preserve peace, stability and prosperity in the region. Both parties reached consensus to boost collaboration in regard to fight against international terrorism and organized crimes, it stated.

    The declaration said efforts for a fair and comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue on the basis of UN parameters would be supported.

    Bahraini companies would be encouraged to make more investments in Turkey and vice versa, it stated.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] Turkish daily views the new appointments in the Turkish Army

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (04.08.08) publishes the following analysis:

    Turkey's Supreme Military Council [YAS] assigned Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug as the new army chief on Monday and he will overtake the position from Gen. Yasar Buyukanit on August 30.

    Basbug will fill the post of General Staff Chief for two years, reaching the retirement age limit in 2010, and will be replaced by newly-appointed Land Forces Commander Gen. Isik Kosaner. Admiral Metin Atac will continue to serve as the Commander of Naval Forces, and Gen. Aydogan Babaoglu will continue to serve as Air Forces for one year.

    The new appointments on the top command line came at a critical time as the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) just survived a closure case and faces growing pressure to address both domestic and international issues.

    This is the first meeting of the YAS for some time in which no military officer was discharged due to reactionary or in disciplinary acts.

    The relations between the military and the government are expected to change as Basbug is seen a different commander to his predecessors.He thinks it is important to have connections and to establish dialogue with the government, as well as with other state organs. He also does not get involved in any debates through the media, excluding international issues.

    The new appointments on the top command line came at a critical time as the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) just survived from a closure case and faces growing pressure to address both domestic and international issues.The relations between the military and the government are expected to continue in a different form as Basbug seen a different commander than his predecessors.

    He thinks it is important to have a connection and to establish dialogue with the government, as well as with other state organs. He also does not get involved in any debates through the media, excluding international issues.Basbug is expected to distance the Turkish Armed Forces from politics. However, it would not be surprising to see him make harsh statements in the case the red lines of the Turkish Armed Forces, including the unitary structure of the republic and secularism, are crossed during his term.

    Basbug is very experienced in the fight against terror, an issue he sees as a priority, and is determined to continue the armed struggle during his term. Turkey's operations against the PKK continue, and the Turkish army will undertake similar operations with determination until reaching an absolute outcome, he had earlier said.

    He is also expected to pay a comprehensive visit to the Turkey's terror-hit southeast region to show that he gives much importance to the issue.Basbug sees an ongoing, planned and tireless effort to fray the revolutionary reforms of Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, and thinks reactionary movements that threaten the republic have started to become a cause for concern.It is the mission of everyone who feels he is a member of Turkish nation to claim and protect the republic's basic characteristics of democracy, secularism, social and rule of law. The Turkish Armed Forces has always been a party for protecting this body and these characteristics and will continue to be so... It is a reactionary attitude to act in a manner against the Turkish revolution... I need to confess with deep sorrow that the reactionary threat has reached a point of concern, it is even not accepted by some segment of society, Basbug said in the speech he delivered at the Military Academy in 2007.

    Basbug usually adopts an approach to urge for common sense in periods of high-tension. Recently he held a tête-à-tête meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan when the tension over the case before the courts reached a peak and called on the media not to pressure the judiciary. He also called for common sense during Turkey's ground operation against the PKK in northern Iraq in February.

    Basbug desires that relations with the United States should be in a form that protects Turkey's interests. He has criticized the U.S. in the past over its slow reaction to incidents relating to the outlawed PKK; however recent progress between Turkey and the U.S. on this issue has given him a more positive outlook. He also prefers relations with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq, be held within a more controlled framework.

    Basbug is also expected to maintain his stance towards the European Union and not hesitate to show his reactions at times he deems necessary.Basbug is not expected to offer any concessions or show a softening in regard to relations with Greece. Basbug is likely to stick Turkey's formal declaration that any attempt by Greece to increase the territorial waters to 12 miles would be 'casus belli'. He also is not expected to support speedy action in regard in relations with Armenia.

    Basbug, 65, was born in Turkey's south-western province of Afyonkarahisar and is married with two children. He served as an infantry officer and is experienced in international diplomacy. He speaks English since he worked in the foreign representatives of Turkey for more than six years. He is known to be a prolific reader and closely monitors the world press daily.

    [14] Turkish problem-solving policy to boost chances at UN Security Council

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Toadys Zaman newspaper (05.08.08) publishes the following commentary by Lale Sariibrahimoglu:

    Turkey has taken a deep breath and entered into a relatively quiet period after the Constitutional Court decided not to ban the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) from politics.

    This moment should now be taken as an opportunity to handle Turkey's neglected foreign policy issues such as Armenia while lobbying for continuation of the Turkish facilitator role in Israeli-Syrian peace talks taking place intermittently in Turkey.

    The European Union's expression of relief at the court decision on the AK Party, with EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn describing it as "a good day for Turkey and for Europe," has also come as a positive sign that should encourage Turkey, in the words of Rehn, "to re-energize the reforms."

    As the time is growing near for the United Nations to vote in late September on provisional members of the UN Security Council for 2009 and 2010, Turkey's positive moves to be taken on several foreign policy issues as well as efforts to restart democratic reforms will boost its chances of winning a seat on the council, for which it has been lobbying for a long time.

    Winning a seat on the UN Security Council will not only boost Turkey's image but will also increase its weight and facilitating roles in the Middle East as well as in the Caucasus, if Turkey manages to treat all the nations in that region equitably.

    In this sense, taking the initiative on normalizing relations with Armenia will boost prosperity not only for the north-eastern regions of Turkey but also for the Armenians, who will benefit from the climate of normalizing relations.

    Turkish steps toward normalizing relations with Armenia will also help divisions to surface within the Armenian diaspora, which is powerful in the US and which is an important actor in hindering dialogue between Ankara and Yerevan. This will also remove pressure on the US administration, which has been caught in between the strong diaspora and Turkey.

    Normalizing ties between Turkey and Armenia will allow the next US administration, following the November presidential elections, to avoid having to go through a difficult period in the definition of the events of World War I that have been widely described as genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans, which Turkey categorically denies.

    Due to pressure from Turkey, the US president releases a statement in April every year to commemorate the so-called genocide of Armenians in which it avoids the use of the word "genocide" and instead uses the term "mass extermination."

    Usage of the word genocide by any US president would seriously damage relations between NATO allies US and Turkey, as Turkey would attempt to use its card of banning US flights via the Incirlik base in southern Turkey for US operations both in neighbouring Iraq as well as in Afghanistan, complicating US-led coalition forces' war efforts.

    Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan's invitation to President Abdullah Gul to watch the Turkish-Armenian friendship soccer match to be played in Yerevan on Sept. 6 has raised some expectations that this may be the first step toward normalizing relations.

    President Gul, in an interview with Sabah on Aug. 3, said he has been considering this soccer match invitation from Armenia, but didn't elaborate.

    However, in the same interview, Gul stressed that all the countries in the Caucasus should respect the territorial integrity of their neighbours.

    With that remark, Gul was likely urging Armenia to solve its dispute with Azerbaijan on the Azerbaijani enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as making a call to Georgia to solve its territorial disputes.

    In addition, Turkey has been expecting Armenia to officially abandon its policy of seeking territory from Turkey.

    There is a need for Turkey to ease away from its long-standing policy of putting conditions on normalizing its ties with Armenia, including, among other things, the condition of resolving the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh.

    It must allow its foreign policy enough flexibility to play games on all courts -- i.e., in all the countries of the Caucasus that may be able to help in a resolution of Armenian-Azerbaijani disputes once Ankara stops presenting the image that it has been a party to the dispute between the two countries.

    All in all, Turkey playing the role of problem solver in its region will increase its chances of winning a seat on the UN Security Council for a two-year period. And once it wins the seat, this will not only improve its image, but will also have the effect of mutually reinforcing ties with countries in the region.

    [15] From the Turkish Press of 04 August 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 04 August 2008:

    Editorial Views Verdict Against AKP and Ergenekon Case:

    An editorial in Istanbul Cumhuriyet argues that the developments that have taken place after the Constitutional Court's ruling on the AKP [Justice and Development Party] indicate that the ideological and political disputes will not subside in the country. Focusing on the Ergenekon case, the editorial believes that ridiculous accusations have been made against the suspects and notes: It seems that the accusations are aimed at specific targets. Wondering why Islamists have been kept out of the Ergenekon case, the editorial links the investigation to the concept of moderate Islam in the country, which, it says, has taken the form of an international plan and urges Turkey to carefully follow the developments. It notes: Care should be taken to avoid creating a pro-Islamic deep state while trying to remove the deep state that supports NATO.

    In an article entitled "Priorities from now on: A new constitution and economy", Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Aktay argues that although the Constitutional Court has not shut down the AKP, it has nevertheless indicated by attaching the "stigma" of opposition to secularism to the AKP that it will not stop trying to keep politics under control. He goes on to claim that the Constitutional Court's political intentions will not have any practical result because what the AKP will do about the Constitutional Court from now on is more important today than what the top court has to say about secularism and the AKP.

    Under the headline, "Dismiss him from office," Vakit publishes a front-page report which asserts that the Justice Platform, a non-governmental group, has sent a petition to the Justice Ministry, Parliament, the Supreme Council of Justices and Prosecutors, the Supreme Court, and the Council of State saying that Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, who filed a closure lawsuit against the AKP, should be removed as chief public prosecutor of the Supreme Court for "misusing his authority." According to the report, the petition criticizes Yalcinkaya for refraining from starting any legal action against the Workers Party, which has been "found to have links with the terrorist Ergenekon," and the Republican People's Party, "whose corruption was documented through an audit into its financial records."

    In an article entitled "A democratic breakthrough", Zaman columnist Ali Bulac asserts that rather than "relieving politics," the Constitutional Court's ruling in the closure case against the AKP has consolidated "the invisible power of the administrative/bureaucratic centre" and arranged for the AKP to become "hostage" to the Establishment. Bulac accuses the Constitutional Court of treating statements by AKP officials that should normally be considered an exercise of freedom of speech as evidence for this party's anti-secular stance. He claims that the ruling reflects a mindset that treats anything associated with Islam as a threat and pits an authoritarian form of secularism against religion. He also argues that unless the AKP increases its share of the vote to over 50 percent through an emphasis on democratization and reforms, it is bound to be replaced by more politically committed players.

    According to a column by Fatih Cekirge in Hurriyet the AKP will move to focus on the local elections in March 2009. He argues that the voting will bring to light how the people regard the AKP after the Constitutional Court's ruling on its pro-Islamic activities. Stressing that Prime Minister Erdogan will significantly gain if the AKP increases its votes in the Istanbul, Ankara, Bursa, Antalya, and Erzurum provinces, Cekirge argues that Deniz Baykal will be strongly criticized if the CHP votes decrease. Regarding the MHP [Nationalist Action Party], he says that the party has to secure the support of at least three provinces in Anatolia. Otherwise, he notes, party leader Devlet Bahceli will find himself in a difficult position.

    EG/


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