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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-08-07

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. 150/08 07.08.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkicize the Greek Cypriot properties
  • [02] Sixteen organizations visited Talat and expressed their support for the launching of negotiations
  • [03] Soyer thanked everybody who offered to help put off the fire in occupied Cyprus
  • [04] Five civilian organizations in the field of tourism called on the government to find a way out for tourism.
  • [05] FIFA asked the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation to become member of KOP
  • [06] Crisis in Turkey over new rector appointments
  • [07] US to transfer additional frigates to Turkish navy
  • [08] Turkey and Denmark signed MoU on energy
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [09] Gen. Basbugs arms acquisition approach to be watched carefully
  • [10] From the Turkish Press of 06 August 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Turkicize the Greek Cypriot properties

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (07.08.08) continues its reportages on the issue of the properties and publishes statements by Hasan Sungur, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Real Estate Agents. The paper notes that Mr Sungur made a very crucial proposal to the self-styled government in the period before the commencement of the comprehensive negotiations regarding the Cyprus problem. Mr Sungur pointed out to the importance of turning the occupied Greek Cypriot properties into Turkish properties. He also criticized the decrees issued by the government, alleging that many areas which are protected with the decrees might pass into the Greek Cypriot rule after a possible solution. Mr Sungur argued that these areas should be opened to development as soon as possible and expressed the opinion that the moratorium should be short in case of a solution.

    Moreover, he called on the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat to cooperate with the organizations concerned on the issue of the properties.

    Pointing out to the importance of the so-called Property Compensation Commission established by the breakaway regime, Mr Sungur gave the example of the Tymvios case and noted that in this case the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) referred to the above-mentioned commission. He claimed that this commission provides a strong argument which could be discussed during the peace process. He alleged that the Greek Cypriots cannot consider as non-existent a commission established under this law and recognized by the ECHR.

    Mr Sungur alleged: The experience accumulated by the fact that compensation has started to be paid to the Greek Cypriots, the fact that compensation has been paid for many Greek Cypriot properties in the north, the fact that money has been given by the compensation commission to the owners in the south for their lands here and the fact that Greek Cypriot properties have been turned into Turkish is very important. These constitute a positive step from the point of view of being a precedent for the peace process.

    He said that in the 2003-2004 period the Turkish Cypriots had no constructions, there was no real estate sector and they were poor, but now they have a constructions sector which is very strong and an established real estate sector bound by its laws.

    From the point of view of cash money, there are millions of dollars and deposits in our banks. Now we have been turned into a community at least as powerful as the Greek Cypriots, he concluded and pointed out to the advantages of being a powerful community during a possible agreement to be reached on the Island.

    (ITs)

    [02] Sixteen organizations visited Talat and expressed their support for the launching of negotiations

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (07.08.08) reports that a delegation of sixteen civil society organizations visited the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, in order to express their support for the new process which starts for the solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking on behalf of the delegation, the chairman of Turk-Sen Trade Union, Erkan Birer, stated that they visited Mr Talat in order to express their support for the negotiations and that they will pay a similar visit to President Demetris Christofias soon. As he stated, the group consists now of only sixteen organizations, but soon this number will increase. He also said that the organizations will support the continuation of the negotiations process and expressed the hope that concrete steps will be taken towards a solution.

    During the visit, the organizations presented a letter to Mr Talat which contains their common position towards a solution.

    On his part, Mr Talat stated that a positive climate was created after the election of Demetris Christofias in the presidency and added that the negotiations will start on the 3rd of September. Mr Talat continued that the negotiation will not be easy, but he hopes that it will have a positive conclusion. He also added that the Turkish Cypriot side is attending the negotiations with good will and that it will work for an agreement that will protect the interests of the two sides and will not create the conditions for a new conflict on the island.

    (CS)

    [03] Soyer thanked everybody who offered to help put off the fire in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (07.08.08) writes that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Soyer, stated that the criticisms against the government on the issue of the fire that broke out last weekend near the Voufavento Castle at Pentadaktylos mountain range are unmerciful and unfair. Mr Soyer, who made these statements yesterday before the meeting of the self-styled council of ministers, thanked everybody who offered to help put out the fire and stated that the accusations that the government remained inactive and watched the fire without doing anything are groundless. As he stated, they made contacts as soon as the fire broke out and helicopters of the British bases joined the fire fighting operation. He said that if these helicopters were not enough, they would call the helicopters of the Republic of Cyprus which were ready to help.

    (CS)

    [04] Five civilian organizations in the field of tourism called on the government to find a way out for tourism.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (07.08.08) reports that five civilian organizations in the field of tourism have called on the government to convene a meeting as soon as possible on the issue of the difficulties in the economy in the occupied areas and finding a way out for tourism. In statements at a press conference yesterday in the Dome Hotel in occupied Keryneia, the representatives of the five organizations argued that if the problems are not solved soon, the hotels will be closed down and tourism will come to the point of collapsing. They said that if the necessary work is not done, they are ready to undertake any kind of action, including not paying their tariffs to the government. The representatives of the organizations described the occupied areas of Cyprus as the most expensive country in Europe and said the recent increases of the tariffs have almost brought the economy to a complete stagnation.

    (Its)

    [05] FIFA asked the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation to become member of KOP

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (07.08.08) in its sports news pages reports that Omer Adal, the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation (KKFF) stated that FIFA, during the contacts they held in Zurich, proposed to the federation to become member of the Cyprus Football Association (KOP) of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Mr Adal made these statements yesterday, speaking at a press conference where he gave information about KKFFs contacts with FIFA and he evaluated the contacts the federation has been having with FIFA during the past year.

    Mr Adal stated that FIFA accepted that there is a football problem in Cyprus, it has prepared a common proposal package and presented these proposals to them in Zurich. Mr Adal, who stated that the FIFA officials want the Turkish Cypriots to participate in the international sporting family, announced the six main headlines of the proposal, which consist of the main principles, the steps that must be taken, the rights and responsibilities, the status and the regulations, the organizations of the tournaments and the development of football.

    Mr Adal said that the previous federation accepted in principle FIFAs proposal and added: We have discovered that for FIFA the federation that organizes Football in Cyprus is KOP and that it will not give permission for the recognition of a separate federation in Cyprus.

    (CS)

    [06] Crisis in Turkey over new rector appointments

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (06.08.08) reported the following:

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul Tuesday officially appointed the new rectors of 21 universities; a move that sparked fierce reactions from academics. Sixteen academics, including deans, resigned from three universities.

    Gul vetoed the elections of university chiefs who oppose lifting the headscarf ban in universities, although some of them won the voting among academic staff.

    Under the law, university rectors are elected in a three-phase system. Voting is held among the academic staff and the six candidates who gain the highest vote are submitted to Turkey's Higher Education Board (YOK).

    YOK then prepares a short-list of three candidates and submits it to the president who makes the final selection. Neither the president nor YOK is obliged to elect the candidate who received the highest number of votes in the university elections.

    Gul refused to appoint nine of 21 candidates who won the elections to become rectors of their universities. Instead, Gul appointed professors who were second or third in the voting.

    Among the rejected candidates was Akdeniz University chief Mustafa Akaydin, who as the head of an inter-university board opposed efforts by the government earlier this year to lift the headscarf ban.

    Akaydin said his opposition to lifting the headscarf ban was the reason for Gul's veto. The president did not make the appointment due to some ideological reasons. If he was an objective president, the result would be different... I am paying the price of the headscarf issue, Akaydin told reporters late on Tuesday.

    The Islamist-rooted Justice and Developments Party (AKP) government's attempt to lift the headscarf ban in universities was blocked by the Constitutional Court on the grounds that it violates the secularism principle.

    The government, later, survived from a closure case in the Constitutional Court, which ruled that the ruling party has constituted acts that harm secularism principles and issued a "serious warning".

    Gul also appointed Prof. Jale Sarac as rector of Dicle University in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir. Sarac, who came second in the voting at her university, had run as a candidate for the AKP in the general elections in 2007.

    The initial reaction from universities came on Wednesday when 12 professors, including a dean, resigned from Istanbul Technical University (ITU) in protest to the appointments. Observers say more reactions are likely to come.

    Academics from ITU gathered in the main campus of the university with the former rector, Prof. Faruk Karadogan, to protest Gul's appointments.

    In the elections held at ITU, Karadogan garnered 362 votes, while his competitor Prof. Muhammed Sahin got 209 votes. Gul, however, appointed Sahin as the new chief of the university.

    Our university has a tradition. It was always governed by the people who are elected by the university staff. These resignations came to protest a practice that axes this tradition. Politics had never influenced this university like this before, Karadogan told the broadcaster NTV.

    Karadogan was among the rectors who supported the stance of the inter-universities board against lifting the headscarf ban.

    In Ankara, the dean of the medical faculty at Gazi University, Prof Ayse Dursun and her deputy, as well as the executive committee of the university's hospital, submitted their resignations. Gul appointed Prof Riza Ayhan as the new rector of the university. Ayhan was vetoed by former president Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

    The chief physician of Dokuz Eylul University Hospital, Sedef Gidener has also resigned. Gidener was not appointed by Gul, although she received the highest number of votes in the elections both at Dokuz Eylul University and YOK.

    [07] US to transfer additional frigates to Turkish navy

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (07.08.08) reports the following:

    The US is getting ready to transfer two more Perry class frigates to Turkey's Naval Forces Command. The decision regarding the frigates was signed by US President George W. Bush and adopted by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

    One of the frigates will be provided to Turkey for free and the other will be sold. Maintenance will be performed by US contractors at Turkey's expense and refurbishment will be carried out in US shipyards. The US prepared a plan last year to transfer warships to allied countries under the Excess Defence Article (EDA) program and offered the two frigates to Turkey. The Turkish Naval Forces Command had previously procured eight Perry class frigates from the United States.

    The frigates are specialized in surface combat, and Turkey deploys S-70 B Seahawk naval warfare helicopters purchased from the US-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. to bolster antisubmarine capabilities. Turkey's naval forces mostly use German technology, and the United States, in an effort to boost its presence there over the past decade, has been transferring decommissioned frigates to Turkey, a move that also encourages the sale of Seahawks.

    [08] Turkey and Denmark signed MoU on energy

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (06.08.08) reported the following from Copenhagen and Ankara:

    Turkey's energy minister has invited Danish businessmen to invest in construction of wind turbine in Turkey.

    Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler, who is currently in Denmark as the official guest of Danish Climate & Energy Minister Connie Hedegaard, met officials from the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) and the Danish Confederation of Industry. He later visited some power stations and wind energy areas.

    Guler and Hedegaard signed a memorandum of understanding envisaging cooperation between Turkey and Denmark in renewable energy resources, energy productivity, oil and natural gas.

    Denmark makes 40 percent of world's turbine production on its own. Sea and wind turbines are widely used in this country. Denmark is the third country behind Japan and Germany using energy in the most productive way. I invited Danish businessmen to invest in construction of wind turbine in Turkey, Guler said.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [09] Gen. Basbugs arms acquisition approach to be watched carefully

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (07.08.08) publishes the following commentary by Lale Sariibrahimoglu:

    Turkey's military procurement policies have long been problematic, delaying the finalization of many projects that were initiated to meet the "urgent needs" of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

    Ironically, by the time a decision is made for the procurement of such "urgently needed arms," many projects are not as urgent as when they were proposed.

    Among the many examples of such cases is the recent decision to produce attack helicopters with the Italian firm Agusta Westland aimed at boosting the industrial infrastructure of Turkey's defence industry.

    Turkey's intention to buy the attack helicopters dates back to the mid-1990s, but the decision to produce them in Turkey was only made this year, which means it will be at least another five years before any new helicopters can be included in the Turkish inventory.

    The underlying reason behind this rather bizarre acquisition policy is its unaccountable nature. Acquisitions are not subject to any Parliamentary scrutiny, sometimes resulting in the purchase of arms that are not necessarily urgent or vital for the TSK.

    This unaccountable and non-transparent system of arms acquisition has also resulted in a long-standing power struggle between the TSK and the Undersecretariat for the Defence Industry (SSM), the government's main arms-procurement agency.

    However, in the past several years we witnessed the growth of more rational arms acquisition policies initiated by the SSM. Though it still lacks democratic oversight, The SSM has placed emphasis on boosting Turkey's long-neglected local defence industry infrastructure, while reducing the old power struggle between civilian and military procurement officials.

    However, as many local and Western defence analysts complain, Turkey has also been spending more money and time on procurement, sometimes just for the sake of local development. Buying defence systems that Turkey lacks the basic infrastructure to produce will be less costly and meet the military's needs in a timely manner.

    For example, many defence experts say Turkey is spending time and money unnecessarily on a tank development project recently signed with South Korea in which local firm Otokar will be the primary contractor responsible for design and development.

    Turkey will spend around $1 billion for the development of four tank prototypes for which South Korea will sell technology. Ankara could have bought the tanks off the shelf and instead concentrated on other areas for which it has already has the infrastructure to develop local technology.

    But the SSM does deserve credit for its general policy of boosting Turkey's defence infrastructure, which has long been neglected. Domestic production has been increased to around 40 percent from 25 percent in 2003.

    Yet we do not know exactly whether this 40 percent domestic production involved high-technology products or not.

    In addition to efforts to build a credible local defence industry infrastructure, civilian control over the arms procurement process, which has long been subject to military influence, has increased in the past several years.

    According to one Western defence contractor, it has been positive that both the SSM and military officials have begun to tolerate and listen to each other regarding arms purchases. But the same contractor argued that the growing power of SSM as a civilian buyer should not prevent the military from having a say in the choice of weapons. "In this sense, I am a bit disappointed with newly retired Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit. On defence procurement issues I noticed that Gen. Buyukanit retreated instead of putting his weight on weapons choice."

    There are expectations that Gen. Ilker Basbug, the new chief of general staff, will weigh in more and push for the best defence systems on the market. It is hoped that Gen. Basbug will not ignore the fact that Turkish technology in some areas is not up to standards and that there is a risk its products cannot be exported profitably.

    There is a belief that Gen. Basbug can contribute more to the selection of weapons without stirring conflict with the civilians.

    At the end of the day what matters for turning defence into a beneficial sector for the Turkish economy is the introduction of a democratic oversight mechanism, instead of relying on the behaviour of the personalities in arms procurement..

    [10] From the Turkish Press of 06 August 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 06 August 2008:

    a) Ergenekon:

    Yeni Safak´s front-paged is a report entitled "'Fabricator' Role in Ozal Assassination," which asserts that the evidence set forth in the Ergenekon indictment includes information about the attempted assassination of former President Turgut Ozal in 1988.

    In an article entitled "How the Ergenekon probe is concluded is much more important than anything else", Milli Gazete columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan warns that public confidence in the law enforcement and intelligence community and the judiciary will be seriously undermined if the Ergenekon investigation turns out to be a "flash in the pan." He also expresses suspicion that the Ergenekon probe could be a CIA and Mosad ploy to cover up their own criminal activities in Turkey.

    b) Pundit Views Economic Problems, PM Erdogan's Approach:

    Tufan Turenc challenges PM Erdogan's statements on development and economic prosperity in a column in Istanbul Hurriyet. He argues that the situation has caused confusion in the country and notes: However, the country we are living in is not what Recep Tayyip Erdogan describes when he addresses the people. The pink pictures he draws up have nothing to do with the realities. The pressure of disastrous developments has prevented our people from seeing the true state of affairs. We are becoming poor.

    In an article entitled "Government's priority target", Zaman columnist Mustafa Unal quotes State Minister Nazim Ekren as having told him that the Erdogan administration intends to turn Istanbul into a financial centre in order to enable the country to weather possible economic crises more easily and to address the southeast issue by completing several half-finished economic initiatives undertaken as part of the Southeastern Anatolian Project.

    c) CHP Deputy Comments on YAS Decision on Files on Military Personnel:

    According to a report in Istanbul Milliyet, CHP [Republican People's Party] deputy parliamentary group leader Kemal Kilicoglu reacted to the YAS [High Military Council] decision not to take up files on the military personnel who should be discharged from military service by saying "I believe that a rather warm relationship exists between the army and the government." The report quotes Kilicoglu recalling the claims that President Gul would not sign the YAS decisions if military personnel were to be discharged and says:

    What is strange is the decision to purchase a very expensive vehicle for a retired chief of the General Staff. We are confronted with a structure which seems to be opposed to the army but which actually moves in line with the military forces.

    In an article entitled "Lawyer for Ergenekon, prosecutor for YAS", Vakit columnist Ali Ihsan Karahasanoglu blasts the CHP for criticizing the YAS for not expelling any officers from the military on the grounds of conducting anti-secular activities at its latest meeting. He draws attention particularly to what he describes as the paradox that while the CHP has "undertaken to be a lawyer for the terrorist Ergenekon" in disregard of many "concrete accusations" against this group," it endorses the discharge of army officers charged with engaging in reactionary activities without a proper trial.

    EG/


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