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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-08-06

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. 149/08 06.08.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Ozdil Nami: Christofias and his team are honest, however
  • [02] Ercakica stated that the Turkish Cypriots are ready for full fledged, face to face, negotiations on the 3rd of September Talat will go to Tunisia for his daughters wedding and may have official contacts there if an opportunity occurs
  • [03] Emine Erk said that more than three hundred Cypriots applied to the so-called Property Compensation Commission of the breakaway regime
  • [04] The issue of the lifting of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots was included in the joint declaration on cooperation signed between Turkey and Bahrain.
  • [05] Turkey calls on Bahraini businessmen to make occupied Cyprus their investment base
  • [06] Erenkoy fighters: We will by all means go to Erenkoy (Kokkina)
  • [07] Human trafficking in occupied Cyprus takes great extensions
  • [08] Turkish Cypriot NGOs to protest against the self-styled government
  • [09] More developments on the investigation for the murder of Mustafa Akmandor
  • [10] Turkish daily interviews Portuguese FM
  • [11] Turkish-Africa cooperation summit to be held in August
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [12] Jump-starting EU reforms -- can Erdogan do it?
  • [13] From the Turkish Press of 05 August 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Ozdil Nami: Christofias and his team are honest, however

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (06.08.08) reports that Ozdil Nami, the advisor of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, gave an interview to Yeni Duzen newspaper and commended on the forthcoming launching of the negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem on the 3rd of September.

    According to me Mr Christofias and his team are involved in this process honestly. We had no other impression. However, they are not alone. Some inflexible circles, either in the coalition partnership, or in the ministry of Foreign Affairs, are trying to sabotage this process. Mr Christofias is trying to stop the policy of Papadopoulos era. We hope that he will not support them and the process will continue as it started, Mr Nami stated.

    He went on and stated that the Turkish Cypriot sides aim is for a solution to be found by the end of the year 2008.

    On the issue of the citizenship, Mr Nami said the following: From our point of view, all the TRNC citizens are our citizens without distinction. The criteria, which will determine who the citizens of the new state are going to be, must be in a shape to include this. This is an issue that is related to the human rights as well. That is to say that someone who has lived in a land for many years, was born, married and has children in this land cannot be sent by forced to another country. This is a fact which is against the human rights, he stated.

    On the issue of the single sovereignty and single citizenship and the reactions to this issue in the Turkish Cypriot side, Mr Nami stated, inter alia, that these issues were included in the Annan Plan and the Turkish Cypriot people said yes to them. Therefore as Turkish Cypriot side it is not possible to object to these principles, he stated.

    Asked to comment on the issue of the guarantees, Mr Nami said that this issue will create troubles until the end and added: It should not be expected that the Turkish Cypriot people will change its position on this issue. The Turkish Cypriot people do not feel safe without the de facto and active guarantees of Turkey. This is a fact, he said.

    (CS)

    [02] Ercakica stated that the Turkish Cypriots are ready for full fledged, face to face, negotiations on the 3rd of September Talat will go to Tunisia for his daughters wedding and may have official contacts there if an opportunity occurs

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (06.08.08) reports that Mr Ercakica stated that the Turkish Cypriot side is ready for full fledged, face to face, negotiations on the 3rd of September and noted that the Turkish Cypriot side will work hard for the success of the procedure.

    Mr Ercakica made these statements yesterday speaking at his weekly briefing to the press.

    Mr Ercakica stated that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat is convinced that the right climate exists for the negotiations to be successful.

    Referring to the issue of the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey, Mr Ercakica stated that the conclusion of the case was a positive development for the upcoming negotiations.

    Mr Ercakica also said that as Mr Talat stated before, the aim is a solution to be found by the end of the year 2008 or by the middle of the year 2009.

    Asked to say which are the easiest and the hardest issues of the negotiations, Mr Ercakica replied that it is not right to make such classification, but added that the issue of property is among the most complicated issues to be taken up during the negotiation process. However, he said that if there is political will even the most complicated issues can be solved.

    Mr Ercakica also said that the establishment of a direct hotline, agreed between the two leaders, had still not been created.

    On the issue of the fire that broke out in the northwest part of occupied Vufavento Castle in the Agios Epiktitos village area, Mr Ercakica stated that the occupation regime asked the help of the Greek Cypriots, the British Military Bases and Turkey and that because the helicopters from the British Bases joined in the operation, there was no need for further contacts and help.

    On the issue of the decision of the persons who live in Pyrgos to prevent the passage of Turkish Cypriots to Erenkoy (Kokkina village) for the celebrations of the Kokkina resistance on the 8th of August, Mr Ercakica said that they were disappointed to hear that crossings to be carried out through the Limnitis gate will be blocked by the Greek Cypriots.

    Mr Ercakica also stated that the Turkish Cypriot leader will go to Tunisia between 10-15 of August, for the wedding ceremony of his daughter, which will take place in this country, following the ceremony held in occupied Cyprus on the 31st of July. Mr Ercakica said that Mr Talat is going to Tunisia for the wedding and that no plans are made for official contacts in the country. However, if a possibility occurs, official contacts can take place.

    In addition, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (06.08.08) reports in its first page that Hasan Ercakica, the spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, confirmed that help was asked by the Greek Cypriot side for the fire which broke out at Pentadaktylos last Saturday, however, as the paper notes, Mr Ercakica did not state that the help was prevented by the army. Mr Ercakica said that they made contacts with the Greek Cypriots on the issue but after assistance of the helicopters of the British bases was offered, there was no need for the Greek Cypriot help.

    The spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader said that contacts were made with the Greek Cypriots and the British bases for help on the issue of the fire, because Turkey was not able to send a helicopter since there was a fire in the Antalya region. Mr Ercakica avoided saying why help from the British Military Bases was asked despite the fact that the Greek Cypriots gave a positive answer to the request for help, writes Afrika.

    (CS)

    [03] Emine Erk said that more than three hundred Cypriots applied to the so-called Property Compensation Commission of the breakaway regime

    Turkish daily Star Kibris newspaper (06.08.08) reports that Emine Erk, chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Foundation, has said that the number of the lawsuits filed by Greek Cypriots against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) reached 1500, while more than 300 Greek Cypriots applied to the so-called Property Compensation Commission of the breakaway regime for their properties in the occupied areas of Cyprus. In statements to the paper, Mrs Erk noted that a violation of the immovable property and proprietorship right is a matter of human rights and argued that 10-15 % of the applications of the Greek Cypriots to the so-called Property Compensation Commission of the breakaway regime have been solved.

    She noted that there is no such commission in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus and alleged that the Greek Cypriots are directly rejecting the property rights of the Turkish Cypriots and believe that for the time being the Turkish Cypriots cannot take their property in the free areas of the Republic and that they should wait for a solution to the Cyprus problem. Mrs Erk claimed that this is a violation of the human rights.

    She noted that the Turkish Cypriot Sophie Case is being discussed recently and during the next year a hearing of this case will be held at the ECHR. The Sophie Case could constitute a precedent for the Turkish Cypriots like Loizidou, she argued.

    Referring to the Orams case, Mrs Erk pointed out that it has come to the final stage and said that light will be shed to some questions with this result. She added, inter alia, the following: This case is a very big, very important case. However, it will have a psychological influence rather than a practical one. That is, the following concern will be created if the British couple is unsuccessful: There are many foreigners who bought property in the north. A great part of the property they bought is Greek Cypriot. I wonder, does this mean that each one of the Greek Cypriot owners will be able go to the south and file lawsuit and will be able to go to Britain and Germany against these foreigners and make them sell their property and take the money?

    (Its)

    [04] The issue of the lifting of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots was included in the joint declaration on cooperation signed between Turkey and Bahrain.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (06.08.08) writes that Cyprus is included in the joint declaration on cooperation signed between Turkey and Bahrain. According to the paper, in the declaration it is noted that the support of all the friendly countries on the issue of the lifting of the isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriots is indispensable and that they support the efforts for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    The declaration was signed by the Turkish President, Abdullah Gul and King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain during the latters visit to Ankara.

    (CS)

    [05] Turkey calls on Bahraini businessmen to make occupied Cyprus their investment base

    Under the title Recommendation for the GAP and the TRNC to Bahraini businessmen, Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (06.08.08) reports in its economic pages on the meeting of the Turkish Bahraini Business Forum and writes that attention has been drawn to Bahraini businessmen by Turkish trade officials on investments in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    As the paper writes, the Chairman of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), Rifat Hisarciklioglu, stressed to the Bahraini businessmen Turkeys preference for Bahrain to make occupied Cyprus their base of investment and added that they will provide to Bahraini businessmen every kind of support towards this end.

    On his part, the Turkish Minister of Industry and Trade, Zafer Caglayan, drew the attention of the Bahraini businessmen to the GAP project.

    (ML)

    [06] Erenkoy fighters: We will by all means go to Erenkoy (Kokkina)

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (06.08.08) reports in its first page that the Erenkoy fighters gave a very sharp answer to the Greek Cypriot residents of Pyrgos who are getting ready to close the Erenkoy Road, at the directions of the President of the Greek Cypriot Administration, as the paper calls President Demetris Christofias. The paper notes that the Greek Cypriot residents of Pyrgos did not change the decision they made to prevent the Turkish Cypriots from going to the Erenkoy (Kokkina) village for the celebrations of the anniversary of the Kokkina Resistance, on the 8th of August. He also said that they have already started initiatives towards the UN for overcoming the Greek Cypriot obstacles.

    (CS)

    [07] Human trafficking in occupied Cyprus takes great extensions

    Illegal Bayrak television (05.08.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Legal regulation, including the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, is needed to fight against human trafficking which is becoming more widespread in the whole world, including North Cyprus, a study has revealed.

    In a final report prepared in the light of a study on human trafficking and violations of human rights in North Cyprus by the Prologue Consulting Ltd, its been stated that a `National Action Plan` should also be prepared against trafficking in human beings.

    The report which draws attention to the loopholes in law, which it says, have turned North Cyprus a country where human trafficking can easily be made.

    Pointing to the importance of cooperation between police and civil society organizations, it says women are being exploited sexually and men are being exploited in workforce.

    The Director of the Prologue Consulting Ltd, Mine Yucel, said that the report was prepared after an evaluation of laws of many countries and organizations and problems being faced in various countries.

    Pointing to the need to protect the private lives of the victims of human trafficking, she said physical, social and legal protection should be provided to the victims.

    She noted that a care centre should be opened for the victims of human trafficking.

    She also called for the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings by the TRNC government as a first step in the fight against trafficking.

    [08] Turkish Cypriot NGOs to protest against the self-styled government

    Illegal Bayrak television (05.08.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    More than forty organizations have decided to launch a series of actions to protest the recent prices increases by the government.

    Announcing the decisions at the end of an evaluation meeting yesterday, the President of the Cyprus Turkish Secondary School Teachers Union Adnan Eraslan said that the organizations will continue their struggle until the government withdraws the recent price increases.

    Mr Eraslan said members of 41 organizations will distribute leaflets tomorrow in all big towns to provide information to the public on the issue. And on Friday, the organizations will stage a protest action in Lefkosia to call on the government to withdraw the recent price hikes.

    [09] More developments on the investigation for the murder of Mustafa Akmandor

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (06.08.08) reports in its first page that two important developments took place yesterday as regards the murder of Mustafa Akmandor, one of the suspects for the murder of the Guzelyurtlu family in 2005, who was found dead on Sunday. The self-styled police in occupied Cyprus arrested yesterday Ferhat Beyoglu who is claimed to be the last person that the victim had a telephone conversation with. The self-styled police also determined a metallic colour Mercedes which is believed to enlighten the crime and also put the cars driver under arrest.

    (CS)

    [10] Turkish daily interviews Portuguese FM

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (06.08.08) reports the following:

    Turkey is playing a vital role in the management of the complex conflicts of the Middle East, and this is not only giving Turkey visibility in the West, but also changing long-held perceptions of the country in Western eyes, according to Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Luis Amado.

    Amado was in Ankara recently for a series of meetings with Turkish officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. In an exclusive interview with Todays Zaman, Amado said Turkeys new role was not only a product of the change in the perceptions of the European people of the importance of the Middle East for their security and that of their children, but also of the active diplomacy the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government is fostering.

    Commenting on the role his government played in Turkeys accession negotiations during its term in the rotating presidency of the European Union, Amado said the very fact that the negotiations were kept alive should be counted as a great success. These new ideas [Sarkozys privileged partnership and Mediterranean union proposals] on what the place of Turkey would be in the EU appeared some months before the Portuguese presidency, he recalled, adding that despite all these difficulties two new chapters were opened during his countrys presidency.

    Foreign Minister Amado also praised Turkeys readiness to pass a legislative reform package as soon as Parliament reconvenes, as was explained to him by Babacan, his Turkish counterpart. This is certainly good news and an important signal to the European Union, he said.

    Amado, who served as the president of the Council of the European Union during Portugals July-December 2007 presidency, advised Turkey to understand that patience is a specific dimension of the EU system and that if Turkey wants to be a part of the union, it needs to be patient, too.

    Declining to comment on what Turkey needs to do first now that it has been relieved from a lengthy period of uncertainty that led to a halt in almost all EU-related reform, he reiterated Europes expectations for further reforms. It is for the Turkish government to decide what to do first.

    That is an internal problem of Turkey. And I was informed by my colleague Ali Babacan that the government has an important legislative agenda to discuss in Parliament in the next months, Amado told Todays Zaman.

    The visiting minister said Portugal would have liked to have seen many more chapters opened in Turkeys negotiations during its EU presidency but explained: We have to understand the complexity of the process and the internal balances of the EU we needed to assure so that the process can keep going on. Our major objective was to keep the process alive, and I think we succeeded in this. Minister Amado recalled that with the addition of new members and new ideas emerging about Turkeys place in the European Union, they had to maintain a balanced dynamic between different, conflicting interests in the Council of Ministers. We couldnt fall into panic with these new ideas and proposals that were disclosed several months before Portugals presidency and we managed not only to avoid that, but to also open two chapters in Brussels, he said. He stressed that maintaining the delicate balance of the EU mechanism was necessary not only to keep the process alive, but also to assure that the EU continues to work. I think we are a reliable ally for Turkey by means of our commitment to Turkeys bid to become a member of the union in the future, he added.

    Commenting on the elements of these delicate balances in the EU, the Portuguese foreign minister recalled that Europe is facing a complicated challenge that forces it to find a way out of the current consensus-based decision-making mechanism. I used to say that the European Union is a very strange animal in political terms; the way it moves, the way it adapts to new conditions, the way it relates with different partners from the world. The EU is completely different from a state, a federal state or a confederation. This is a completely new political construction, and we need to learn how to deal with this strange animal. I believe that with respect to some of the problems regarding a common constitution and a common foreign policy we have to be patient, he said. He added that waiting for the right moment to propose the decisions that need to be made by the EU is crucial.

    Asked about the future of the EUs current decision-making mechanism, Amado suggested that the new institutional apparatus provided by the Lisbon Treaty, which was approved during Portugals presidency, will both keep the principles of unanimity and consensus intact and help decisions be made easier. I think that the new apparatus responds better to the challenges we face. The Lisbon Treaty will solve our problems with regard to the functioning of the council and the existence of a foreign minister that can act and supply a face to the European Union that it still lacks. So I believe that what we approved in the Treaty of Lisbon will give much more consistency to our foreign policy independent of the rule of unanimity, he said.

    Asked about the future of the Alliance of Civilizations (AoC), in which Portugal is highly engaged due to the fact that former Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio is serving as the high representative of the program, Amado claimed that the initiative has already surpassed the expectations set for it at the beginning. The number of states cooperating with the initiative fully has increased significantly. The fact that the United Nations endorsed the initiative is another sign of its success. This is no longer an initiative co-sponsored by Turkey and Spain. I believe that the initiative is doing its part and I think it is responding to one of the challenges that face us by means of avoiding a rupture between civilizations, he said.

    Commenting on recent developments in Turkeys Cyprus policy, the Portuguese foreign minister suggested that Turkeys foreign policy activities, which are watched with the utmost interest in the EU, should not be restricted to the Cyprus case only. Noting that the active diplomacy Turkey is engaged in throughout the region is changing perceptions of Turkey and of the region in the eyes of the European people, he said that Turkey is attaining a new visibility in Europe with the active role it is playing in the region to contain conflicts. The Turkish government is fostering new dimensions to its foreign policy, and this is appreciated very much in Europe. In the end we will have a new perception of the strategic importance of Turkey, Amado said. According to him, Europes interest in Turkeys active diplomacy in the region is also boosted by the fact that the common people in Europe have understood the vital importance of the region for their security and strategic interests. Ten years ago what happened in this region was not perceived in Europe as an immediate problem of our life. But today every citizen in the society understands that the problems of the region will determine their lives in the future and the lives of their children, he explained.

    Despite the importance he gives to Turkeys active diplomacy, Amado does not share the view that Europe can be a global player only if Turkey becomes a member of the EU. Agreeing that EUs role in the world will change dramatically according to whether Turkey is a member or a non-member ally, he said that Europe is already a major player and stabilizer in world politics. I would say in a chaotic and multi-polar world Europe is already playing the role of a stabilizer, he explained.

    Commenting on the status of Turkish-Portuguese relations, Amado lamented that the level of bilateral relations is too low considering the potential level that was evident in the two countries cooperation on the issue of EU negotiations. I realized that we didnt have a prime minister of Portugal visit Turkey, ever. The relations being so good, I could not find any explanation. The world is becoming smaller and smaller, but we didnt have this top visit. I believe we need to create a new stimulus, he said. Asked whether Ankara should await a prime ministerial visit from Portugal in the near future, the Portuguese foreign minister said that his department is working on a series of visits over the next couple of years.

    [11] Turkish-Africa cooperation summit to be held in August

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.08.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey is getting prepared to host Turkey-Africa cooperation summit between August 18th and 21st in Istanbul.

    After 10 years of a gradually evolving policy of opening up to Africa, Turkey now wishes to evaluate the current state of affairs and make a leap forward in the relationship. With this understanding, Turkey decided to host the Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit in Istanbul.

    Presidents of 12 countries and many other officials are expected to participate in the summit.

    In an interview with the A.A correspondent, Murat Bilhan, deputy chairman of Turkish Asian Centre for Strategic Studies, said Africa had several important opportunities for Turkey.

    Bilhan said he considered that Turkey would also get assistance for its candidacy for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations (UN) Security Council in Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [12] Jump-starting EU reforms -- can Erdogan do it?

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (06.08.08) publishes the following commentary by Amanda Akcakoca:

    With the decision of the Constitutional Court not to ban the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) or any of its representatives, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his merry men have lived to fight another day. Although I hope that lessons have been learned and the country will never have to go through such a knife-edge drama again, I doubt that the warfare is over.

    Those opposed to the AK Party see the Constitutional Court decision as a warning to the party not to meddle with anything that could be seen as unconstitutional or anti-secular. They will be sitting patiently, ready to pounce when an opportunity that may be exploited arises. Erdogan may (and indeed should) move towards a policy of consensus building and dialogue on every issue under the sun, but unless he decides to call early elections (the only tool that effectively challenges the establishment) the AK Party is going to be kept on a very tight leash, which will make it difficult for the government to move ahead with reforms, let alone attempt anything as dramatic as creating a new and much-needed modern civilian constitution. This will obviously have an impact on developments with the European Union, which is now expecting Ankara to put its foot on the reform accelerator.

    In Brussels, the court's decision produced a massive sigh of relief. No nasty decisions will have to be made and the director-general for enlargement should now have a pretty quiet August, with just the annual progress reports for the candidate countries (Turkey, Croatia, Macedonia) and prospective candidates (Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina) being prepared. For EU member states it also came as a relief, although there were no doubt some political elites who oppose Turkish membership in the club that may have been disappointed with the result. But overall, most heads of state and government will be pleased that they will not have to endure yet another Turkey crisis and can rather focus on other burning issues, such as the Lisbon Treaty, Iran and enjoying the Olympic games in China.

    But considering that Turkey has lost so much time, the EU has high expectations that Ankara should re-engage itself in the reform process. Considering that the prime minister, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and President Abdullah Gul have repeatedly stated their commitment to the EU path, it should not be too much to expect. After all, the EU top brass gave the party considerable support through this last drama. The EU will have a big to-do list for Ankara: acceleration of the modernization and liberalization of the country; continued economic and political reforms, including judicial reform, religious freedom, freedom of expression, minority rights and increased efforts to wipe out torture and abuse. The EU would like Turkey to give greater attention to the situation in the Southeast, to education, women's rights and social issues. They would also like to see the role of the Turkish military further reduced and become more like EU armed forces with regards to relations with government. They also want the government to understand that reforms must not just stay on paper; they actually have to be implemented. A new constitution is also high on the list. And finally, as a last request, the EU would also like Turkey to play a very constructive role in resolving the Cyprus problem, particularly once direct talks kick off between the leaders of the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities on Sept. 3. It would also be good if some of these requests could be filled sooner rather than later, as it would allow the European commission to include them in Turkey's progress report, which will otherwise be a rather depressing document. However, with the exception of the economy, most of these reforms will not be welcomed by Erdogan's adversaries, which could prove to be extremely problematic unless the AK Party is able to secure a new and strong mandate through fresh elections.

    Although Turkey may have difficulty delivering the goods in the near future, I believe the EU, which continues to have a very ambiguous and lacklustre approach towards Turkish accession, should start the ball rolling by sending Ankara a very strong and positive signal congratulating the country on resolving the recent difficulties in a democratic way, stressing that they fully support the accession of Turkey to the EU, and quickly prepare the ground for the opening of new negotiating chapters. I would really congratulate the French Presidency, which to say the least has many different voices when it comes to Turkey, if they were able to embrace Ankara in this way. After that, the rest is up to Turkey.

    [13] From the Turkish Press of 05 August 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 05 August 2008:

    a) Interests in Cyprus:

    In an article entitled "Is it Kirkuk's turn after Cyprus?", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal comments on recent developments in Kirkuk suggesting that "the Barzani-Talabani duo want to take advantage of the weaknesses of the AKP administration" to introduce a solution to the Kirkuk issue based on Kurdish and US interests. Unal also asks whether the AKP might have made concessions on Turkey's rights and interests in northern Iraq and Cyprus in return for "the foreign support it appears to have received" against the closure case heard by the Constitutional Court.

    b) Supreme Military Council Decisions:

    A report by Aydin Hasan in Milliyet states that this is "the first time in many years" that the Supreme Military Council, (YAS), has not expelled anyone from the Turkish Armed Forces, (TSK). Pointing out that YAS has been expelling military personnel for involvement in reactionary activities every year since the 90ies, the lack of such a decision this year, in which many TSK members are implicated in the Ergenekon case, is viewed as a message conveyed by the TSK. According to the report, last year 51 TSK personnel, a record number, were expelled from the army for reactionary activities.

    Praising General Ilker Basbug's combat and intellectual capacities in an article in Milliyet, Fikret Bila asserts that Basbug is not a commander that views terror incidents from a military angle alone, but one that can assess the problem and its roots from a "social" aspect.

    Commenting on the YAS decisions in a column in Hurriyet, Bekir Coskun is sarcastic about the fact that not even a single TSK member was expelled for "reactionary activities." Drawing attention to the fact that this year the prime minister has been rescued from expressing his traditional reservations regarding the decisions, Coskun ridicules the fact that no "reactionary activities" have been observed in the army this year while such activities are on the rise throughout the country.

    Vatan's Gungor Mengi also speculates on the absence of any expulsions from the TSK based on reactionary activities, arguing that it is difficult to believe that there were no such activities at a time when the ruling party has been found the focal point of anti-secular activities. Noting that many circles will suspect a bargaining given the fact that this decision coincided with the appointment of a new Chief of Staff, Mengi raises another possibility: "The preference that they be expelled through judicial instead of YAS decisions is beginning to gain weight within the military wing."

    Assessing the YAS decisions in an article in Radikal, Murat Yetkin views it as the end of the 27 May 1960 process and as the restructuring of the Armed Forces.

    Viewing the YAS decisions in an article in the Turkish Daily News, Yusuf Kanli says that General Ilker Basbug who is believed to be "a hawkish secularist" is expected to be tougher against anti-secular activities as well as in the fight against separatism.

    In an article in the Turkish Daily News, Mehmet Ali Birand states that General Basbug is taking office at a much more critical time than did his predecessors. Expressing the belief that the general has "the skills and the capacity required to steer his ship away from the storms and into calm waters," Birand describes him as a serious and realistic person who is good at assessing international balances.

    In an article entitled "Let us hope for the best", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak interprets the absence of any expulsion decisions at this year's YAS meeting as meaning either that the military has abandoned its policy of expelling officers accused of engaging in religious fundamentalist activities or that there are no officers left in the army to expel on such grounds. He proceeds to claim that "we will have to wait until the end of the year to see what kind of a chief of staff Ilker Basbug will be," asserting that several events like Ramadan, the Republic Day on 29 October, and the US presidential elections in November will serve as benchmarks by which to judge Basbug's outlook on domestic and foreign issues. He also calls attention to claims that Basbug will contribute to efforts to draw up a new constitution and make "surprise moves" to change the public image of the Turkish Armed Forces as an obstacle to democratization.

    EG/


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