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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-09-02
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 167/08 02.09.08
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Statements by Soyer to Anatolia news agency on the launching of the new negotiations process in CyprusAnkara Anatolia (AA) news agency (02.09.08) reports the following from occupied Lefkosia:
Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Ferdi Sabit Soyer, said on Tuesday that the beginning of negotiations after a period of four years is important.
In an exclusive interview with the AA, Soyer said that the TRNC and Turkey would reap the fruits of their efforts with the beginning of negotiations.
The negotiations in Cyprus would resume with the goal of finding a solution within United Nations perimeters. This is an important development for Turkish Cypriots. This is an indication that the matter is back on track, Soyer said.
The point to be reached in Cyprus must be based on the equality of the Turkish Cypriot state and Greek Cypriot one. There must be a joint administration in Cyprus with a single international identity. The point to be arrived at must be based on a vision of both leaders, equality of Turkish Cypriots and bi-zonal structure. Turkey's guarantorship would continue in all circumstances as a reality that can not be debated, Soyer added.
Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders will meet on Wednesday to set procedure for fully-fledged Cyprus negotiations.
President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias will have a meeting at the buffer zone in Lefkosia. The meeting will be attended also by Taye-Brook Zerihoun, the Special representative of the UN Secretary-General in Cyprus and head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
Alexander Downer, the UN Secretary-General's special adviser for Cyprus, will be another participant at the meeting.
The leaders will set a procedure for comprehensive talks, the spokesman for the TRNC Presidency said. Hasan Ercakica said that Turkish side was eager for an intensified negotiation process. He said, however, Greek Cypriots want an extended process. Ercakica further said that full-fledged negotiations are expected to begin on September 11th.
To date, Talat and Christofias met with each other four times, on March 21st, May 23rd, July 1st and July 25th.
On March 21st, Talat and Christofias reached a mutual agreement after which six working groups and seven technical committees were established in the island.
On May 23rd, Talat and Christofias reviewed the performance of the working groups and technical committees.
On July 1st, the two leaders met for 4.5 hours during which they agreed on "single sovereignty and single citizenship".
On July 25th, Talat and Christofias decided to begin comprehensive negotiations on September 3rd.
 Talat briefs the Turkish Cypriot political parties on the latest developments in the Cyprus problemTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.09.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, on the eve of the direct negotiations, had a meeting yesterday with the party leaders represented in the self-styled assembly of the breakaway regime. The paper reports that Mr. Talat briefed the party leaders about the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and there was an evaluation of the developments and exchange of views.
Mr. Ferdi Sabit Soyer from the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Turgay Avci from the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), Tahsin Ertugruloglu from the National Unity Party(NUP), Ertugrul Hasipoglu from the Democrat Party (DP) and Mehmet Cakici from the Social Democracy Party (TDP) took part in the meeting which started at 11 oclock and ended at 13:30 hours . The leaders expressed satisfaction and said that it was a useful meeting. The leaders also expressed the view that tomorrows meeting will have a ceremonial character and the substantial talks will start on 11 September.
 Statements by Talat on the opening of Limnitis crossing pointTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.09.08) reports that in the framework of the activities on the occasion of the World Peace Day the Turkish Journalists Union organized a tree planting day at the Unions yard. Mr. Talat attended the event and planted an olive seedling that symbolizes peace. Speaking to reports Mr. Talat referred to the direct talks to be opened tomorrow and said: I hope, tactical games will not poison and tarnish the negotiation process. This is extremely important. It is necessary that we have to sit around the negotiation table to discuss everything. It is wrong for both sides to think of acquiring something prior to the negotiations. Everything should be discussed, argued and decided on the negotiation table. While doing this one should try to conclude an agreement which will be mutually acceptable to both the Greek Cypriots and to the Turkish Cypriots. Also peoples should be prepared for this agreement.
Referring to the breakaway regimes refusal of free passage to the Pyrgos villagers from Limnitis barricade to go to Ayios Mamas Church for prayers, Mr. Talat said that this issue has been exaggerated by both the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot press. This issue has nothing to do with the opening of the Limnitis crossing-point or the negotiation process. It is an isolated issue and if this issue is exaggerated so much then it could be used by the exaggerators as an obstacle for a settlement, Mr. Talat stressed.
In addition, illegal Bayrak television (01.09.08) broadcast the following:
President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that there is no link between the new negotiations process to be launched this week and the rejection of the demand by Greek Cypriots to use the Yesil1rmak Gate [Limnitis crossing point] for the religious ceremony at Ayios Mamas in the north.
President Talat and Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias will meet on Wednesday to launch the new negotiations process with the aim of finding a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem.
Responding to reporters questions on the issue, the President criticized George Iacovou, an aide to the Greek Cypriot Leader for leaving last Fridays meeting between him and Presidential adviser Ozdil Nami after being informed of the Turkish Cypriot Sides decision. He said the Turkish Cypriot Side had faced similar situations several times in the past but hadnt left the negotiations table, adding that Mr. Iacovou should not have left the table for such a reason.
The President said the Turkish Cypriot Side had never left the table despite of the rhetoric of insult used in the Greek Cypriot press against the Turkish Cypriot Side. Mr Talat stressed that the rejection of the Greek Cypriot villagers demand has nothing to do with the talks, the new negotiations process and the opening of new crossing points between the two sides.
He explained that the decision on the issue was taken after the evaluation of the Greek Cypriot application to the United Nations on the issue. These are issues, which sometimes, we are not even informed. Because, the issue is concerning the police, security and the Foreign Ministry , the President said. He noted that the decision was taken after it was seen that a mass crossing through Yesil1rmak [Limnitis] could lead to some problems.
 Avci repeats Turkey s rights of guarantoship in CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.09.08) reports that the self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime Turgay Avci, has claimed that Turkeys effective gurantorship is vital to the Turkish Cypriots and as long as the Turkish Cypriots exist on the island this guarantee will continue. He added that every arrangement will be done so that in case of a possible settlement this guarantorship is not on paper only but to be active and effective.
Referring to the statement made by the presidential Commissioner George Iacovou to the effect that Turkeys guarantorship rights cannot be accepted, Avci said that Mr. Iacovous statement is unacceptable.
 Syrian illegal immigrants were caught in occupied Salamis areaTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.09.08) reports that 37 illegal immigrants were caught at the occupied Salamis ruins by the breakaway regimes police force. The paper reports that the illegal immigrants are Syrian nationals and they came to the occupied area by boat in order to cross into the free areas later for a better life. The paper reports that police are looking for another six illegal immigrants who are still at large.
 Romanian thieves were arrested in their effort to depart from occupied CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.09.08) reports that the self-styled police of the breakaway regime took into custody three Romanians who were trying to leave the occupied area from the illegal Keryneia port when three kilograms of jewelry in gold were found in their possession. The paper gives their names as follows: Emmanuel Trainza, Florin Catalin Dumitru and Petre Alexander. The paper further reports that there were 630 pieces of stolen imitation and real jewelry, worth 40 thousands new Turkish Lira.
 Turkey to sign MoU and build strategic dialogue with the Gulf countries. Reference to the trade offices of the TRNCTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (02.09.08) reports the following:
Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will travel to Jeddah today for a two-day visit in order to participate in the first foreign ministerial-level meeting during which a 'senior level strategic dialogue' mechanism between Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will enter into force.
In addition to Babacan, GCC Secretary-General Abdurrahman al-Attiyah as well as foreign ministers of six council members -- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, Qatar and Bahrain -- will participate in the two-day meeting.
The GCC, formed in 1981 against the backdrop of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the Iraq-Iran War, aims at boosting economic cooperation between members and, through collective security, to guard against any threat from neighbouring states and from Islamic extremism.
'The goal of the mentioned initiative -- which will be the first strategic dialogue to be regularly built between the GCC and a sole country -- is the establishment of a comprehensive and regular consultation mechanism first of all in political, economic, defence, security and cultural fields in order to further improve existing and already good relations and cooperation with the GCC countries,' the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement released yesterday.
During the meeting, Turkey and the GCC are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will provide for 'cooperation in the economic, political and security domains,' GCC Secretary-General al-Attiyah told the Cihan news agency yesterday in Cairo, highlighting that signing of the MoU would pave the way for signing of a free trade agreement between Turkey and the GCC countries.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has attached importance to both bilateral relations with Gulf countries since coming to power for the first time in November 2002 and strengthening institutional ties with the GCC. The government has also aimed to attract the Gulf business sector toward investment in Turkey. A number of reciprocal official visits have been made between Turkey and Gulf countries since then, the latest of which brought Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa to the Turkish capital, making him the first Bahraini head of state to visit Turkey. The signature of a free trade agreement between Turkey and the GCC has actually been under negotiation since 2005. In May 2005, then Foreign Minister current President Abdullah Gül and al-Attiyah signed a framework agreement in Manama to begin negotiations on a free trade agreement.
In the last few years, in a show of solidarity with Turkey in its efforts to ease international isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, several GCC countries, namely Oman, Qatar and the UAE, allowed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) to open trade offices on their soil.
During the meeting in Jeddah, ministers are expected to discuss Iran's recent decision to set up two new facilities on one of three Gulf islands disputed with the UAE. Tehran's establishment of a maritime rescue office and a ship registration office on Abu Musa Island drew a formal protest from the UAE last month. Recent developments regarding Palestine and Lebanon, problems between Israel and Arab countries as well as recent political developments in the region are other key topics expected to cover the agenda of the Jeddah talks.
 Turkish Foreign Ministry denies violation of the Montreux ConventionAnkara Anatolia news agency (01.09.08) reported from Ankara that the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that Turkey had been applying the Montreux Convention fastidiously and neutrally for 72 years.
Releasing a statement, the Ministry denied a news report claiming that the calculation of tonnage envisaged in the Convention was miscounted.
"This news report is totally baseless. Turkey has been applying the Montreux Convention, which was signed on July 20th, 1936, fastidiously and neutrally for 72 years. It has also received worldwide acceptance," the Ministry said.
 Ankara to hold talks on oil, natural gas and electricity with Turkmenistan and KazakhstanAnkara Anatolia news agency (01.09.08) reported from Ankara that the Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister, Hilmi Guler, would travel to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to hold official talks.
Minister Guler and his delegation would travel to Ashgabad, Turkmenistan on Monday night following the Council of Ministers meeting.
Guler would hold talks on diverse matters with Turkmen authorities, including issues such as oil, natural gas and electricity.
Minister Guler and his delegation would proceed to Kazakhstan on Wednesday, September 3rd.
Guler was invited to an "Energy Forum" in Astana which would take place on September 4th and 5th. Hilmi Guler would deliver the opening remarks at the forum.
Minister Guler would meet several Kazakh ministers and chairman of the Kazakh national oil company KazMunay Gas while in Astana.
Hilmi Guler would be accompanied by representatives from Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), Turkish Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS) and Turkish Electricity Trading Company (TETAS).
Guler and his delegation would return to Turkey on Friday, September 5th.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press of 01 September 2008a) Caucasus Crisis:
According to a report by Demet Cengiz in Hurriyet, the countermeasures Turkey will be implementing as of today in retaliation to the Russian trade embargo imposed on Turkish goods "will be meaningless and ineffective given the structure of the trade relations between the two countries." Detailing Turkey's oil and natural gas dependence on Russia, the report adds that the country might be facing serious problems in production and heating in the coming winter. Oguz Satici, president of the Turkish Exporters Council, is reported to have said that this crisis cannot be overcome through bureaucrats or ministers, proposing that Putin and Erdogan hold an urgent meeting to resolve the issue.
Viewing the drawbacks of Turkey's dependency on Russia in an article in Milliyet, Semih Idiz stresses the importance of the meeting Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov will be holding with his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan on 2 September not only because of the Caucasus crisis but also because of the customs embargo Russia has been imposing on Turkish goods. According to Turkish businessman, Turkey's losses have reached $3 billion, Idiz points out, adding that the main problem is actually Turkey's energy dependency on Russia. Interpreting the difficulties Moscow is creating in the import of Turkish goods to mean "you are dependent on me, I can do whatever I please," Idiz draws attention to Moscow's stand on the Cyprus issue. The writer maintains that had Russia not vetoed the Annan Report at the UN Security Council, the Turkish Cypriot side would have been in a stronger position at the forthcoming talks. Referring to the speech General Basbug delivered at the command transfer ceremony describing the relations between the Turkish and US armies as "excellent," Idiz notes that his remarks shows that the Turkish Armed Forces, TSK, have no intention of being dragged into new adventures in the East-West conflict. Idiz concludes: "In short, we can already see that Turkey's continued and increasing dependence on Russia while the West is trying to reduce its own dependence on Russia especially in the field of energy will create serious problems in the future."
Assessing whether there will be a return to the Cold War era in an article in Radikal, Cengiz Candar says that this is impossible because "Russia is not the Soviet Union; moreover, the United States is much stronger now than what it used to be vis-a-vis Russia during the Cold War era. It is 'asymmetrically' stronger." Explaining that Russia's annual military expenditure is $40 billion while that of the United States is $600 billion, Candar describes Russia as an "oil and natural gas power" if not a military power in the world. Explaining Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as part of its plan to achieve its goal of establishing its "geopolitical control over the energy transit routes," Candar argues that this Russian goal that is contrary to Turkey's "strategic interests" has placed Turkey in a dead end from the viewpoint of its "political choices" and has turned it into a "party that has a first degree involvement in the Black Sea crisis". In conclusion, Candar writes that the point reached cannot be managed through "platonic" moves such as the Caucasus Platform proposed by Prime Minister Erdogan.
Criticizing the government policies regarding the Caucasus crisis in an article in Ortadogu, Orhan Karatas maintains that the unconditional surrender of the Justice and Development Party, to the United States and its "amateurish dance" with Georgia have brought endless troubles to the country. Arguing that the violation of the Monteux Convention has exposed Turkey to new threats, Karatas bemoans that the government, instead of generating solutions, expects the circles to which it has surrendered to come up with the solutions.
Assessing the Turkish-Russian interdependence in an article in Referans, Mensur Akgun argues that Russia is as dependent on Turkey as Turkey is on Russia. Emphasizing Russia's dependence on Turkey in the field of security, Akgun writes: "Russia is well aware that a change in Turkey's view of the 1936 Monteux Convention would be a disaster. Even the discussion of the agreement would lead to its collapse, and to the unlimited passage of US war ships through the straits." Pointing out that Turkey has a strong trump card against Russia, Akgun believes that our relations with Russia can be further developed despite the United States, adding that, however, a "rapprochement with Russia" should not be realized at the expense of Turkish-US "friendship."
b) President Gul's Visit to Armenia:
According to a report in Milliyet, Republican People's Party, CHP, leader Deniz Baykal has warned against actions that might harm Azerbaijan. Commenting on a possible visit by President Gul to Yerevan, Baykal is reported to have said that a visit at the presidential level to Armenia might create serious problems in the region. Recalling that Armenia does not recognize Turkey's borders and its territorial integrity and that it continues its occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, Baykal is reported to have stressed Azerbaijan's importance for Turkey given the large oil beds in the Caspian Sea.
In a report in the Turkish Daily News, Serkan Demirtas writes that although the president has yet to make up his mind about the Yerevan visit, Ankara is preparing for his potential visit to Armenia. A delegation of diplomats will travel to Yerevan this week to assess the security measures and the topics to be discussed, the report adds. 'This visit, if it comes to pass, will have no influence on our policies toward Armenia, Turkish officials have told the daily.
Commenting on President Gul's possible visit to Yerevan in an article in Milliyet, Taha Akyol assesses that this visit will depend on whether certain issues will be included in the talks to be held between the Turkish and Armenian presidents, namely the establishment of a joint history committee that will look into the Armenian genocide allegations, the Caucasus Stability Cooperation Platform, and the Karabakh problem. If a serious discussion is to be held on these topics, then Gul will be going to Yerevan to watch the football match together with his Armenian counterpart. Recalling that Gul has invited Azerbaijani President Aliyev to Ankara, Akyol argues that this invitation extended at a time when Gul's Yerevan visit is on the agenda aims at conveying a significant political message. Explaining that Baku is not opposed to Gul's visit to Yerevan, Akyol concludes by pointing out that this visit might be a significant step in melting the ice between Turkey and Armenia.
Focusing on whether President Gul should be going to Armenia in his column in Hurriyet, Fatih Cekirge maintains that diplomats in Ankara are in favor of the visit and that the president himself has decided to go but has yet to announce it publicly in a bid to prevent the fanatics in Yerevan from getting organized to protest the visit. Predicting that Gul will be announcing his decision on the morning of 6 September, the day he is supposed to leave for Armenia, Cekirge reports on the results of a poll conducted by the daily on the issue, saying that of the 25,000 citizens who participated in the poll, 41.2 percent are in favor of the visit, while 58.8 percent are against. The writer himself is of the opinion that the hand that has been extended by Armenia should not be left hanging in the air.
Examining the pros and cons of President Abdullah Gul's visit to Armenia in an article in Sabah, Erdal Safak argues that such a visit might pressure President Aliyev to find alternative strategic choices. Pointing out that the reaction of the Azeri community to this visit is not reflected in the Turkish media, Safak explains that Vefa Kuluzade, a leading diplomat in Azerbaijan and an adviser to President Aliyev on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, is extremely opposed to the Caucasus Cooperation and Stability Platform and Turkey's policy of detente with Armenia. Not only that Kuluzade views Gul's visit to Armenia as an act of treason against the entire Turkic world, he also believes that Prime Minister Erdogan has put forth the Caucasus Platform proposal in line with Moscow's instructions, Safak explains. According to Safak, Kuluzade is reported to have said: "I would not be surprised at all if Erdogan makes Turkey a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, instead of Georgia. I want to warn our people. Turkey may again sell us to the Russians." Azerbaijan believes that Erdogan's Caucasus project is guided by Moscow and that Gul's Yerevan visit is Washington's doing, Safak notes, adding that this picture reflects the fears of our "Azeri brethren." The writer argues that the state of mind of the Azeri people should be taken into consideration not only because they are our brothers but because Azerbaijan might be forced to choose "alternatives that might deal a deadly blow on Turkey's energy policies."
Assessing the consequences of a possible Gul visit to Armenia in an article in the Turkish Daily News, Yusuf Kanli views the visit as a "good gesture," adding that, however, this good gesture is doomed to remain as such as long as Armenia does not realize that it should take some serious steps to demonstrate its will for better ties.
c) Discussion on religion:
According to a report by Elvan Ezber and Gurkan Akgunes in Milliyet, Alevi associations have staged a sit-in protest in Istanbul demanding that "compulsory classes on religion" be abolished. The report adds that a press release issued at the protest noted the demand of the Alevis for religious freedom, stating: "Legal status is being granted to mosques, churches and synagogues. When it comes to the Cem Houses, it is claimed that they are not places of worship and 20 million Alevis are being considered non-existent."
In an article entitled "You cannot even hold a ceremony without a Community", Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Aktay takes issue with General Ilker Basbug over his representation of the increasing influence of religious communities in economic an socio-political life in Turkey as a threat in his recent handover speech. Aktay argues that social scientists abandoned long ago the theory that the switch from community to society came with modernization, adding that the notion of society consisting of completely free and independent individuals was a naïve idea associated with the late 19th and early 20 centuries. "The presence or legitimacy of communities is no longer questioned. What is a matter of discussion now is whether communities are open or closed and whether they promote or restrict the mental or personal development of individuals."
A report entitled "Let Ramadan be a month of action," in Vakit newspaper highlights remarks by a number of theologians calling on Muslims to give moral and material support to Koran courses during the month of Ramadan, go to mosques, avoid extravagance and refrain from consuming "products of imperialism" like Coca Cola, buying "cartel" dailies, shopping at malls which do not have "masjids" [small mosques] and sell alcoholic beverages.
In an article entitled "A few questions to Basbug", Vakit columnist Selahaddin Cakirgil accuses General Ilker Basbug of going against the constitutional principle that nobody may be censured or blamed for their religious beliefs and convictions and of trying to impose a particular life style and worldview on society in reminding the Government of public concerns about the consequences for secularism, of an increasing emphasis on religious values and calling for measures against efforts by certain religious communities to control the economy and shape socio-political life.
Milli Gazete newspaper devotes its back page entirely to the first part of an interview entitled "Our duty is to explain Islam in a satisfactory way" with the President of Religious Affairs, Professor Ali Bardakoglu, who responds to such questions as how many additional personnel the Presidency of Religious Affairs, (DIB), needs to conduct religious services efficiently, what the DIB is doing to train competent muezzins [criers of prayers], what measures he proposes to take against mainstream media outlets that are ignorant about Islam and represent "innocent Muslims" as "ogres," etc.