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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-09-22

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. 181/08 20-22.09.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by Talat. He accuses the Greek Cypriot side of dragging its feet in the talks
  • [02] A National Consultative Council will be established in the occupied areas of Cyprus. Scenario in case the partnership does not work
  • [03] Guls statements on the Cyprus problem on his way to New York
  • [04] The average number of the illegal immigrants who come to the occupied areas of Cyprus from Syria and Turkey is estimated at 300 per month
  • [05] CTP official explains why the occupied areas economy grew after the Annan Plan process in 2004
  • [06] The TDP stated that the population in the occupied areas of Cyprus is increasing in an uncontrolled manner and this adds extra burdens to the budget
  • [07] The Turkish Cypriot Hunters Federation: We know that the projects in our country and all the works which need infrastructure are carried out by the Republic of Turkey
  • [08] Civil disobedience protest in occupied Cyprus starts. How the Turkish dailies covered the issue
  • [09] Gul met Kemal Dervis in New York in the framework of a series of contacts
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [10] From the Turkish Press of 19, 20 and 21 September 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by Talat. He accuses the Greek Cypriot side of dragging its feet in the talks

    Illegal Bayrak television (20.09.08) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that the Greek Cypriot Administration was continuing to drag its feet on the Cyprus negotiations process in an attempt to carry the Cyprus Problem to 2009.

    Speaking at a ceremony marking the start of the 2008-2009 academic year at the Middle East Technical Universitys Cyprus Campus, the President underlined the need for the Turkish Cypriot Side to show the international community, mainly the European Union and the United Nations, how the Greek Cypriot Side was trying to slow down the talks.

    The Turkish Cypriot Side needs to overcome this obstacle. If it cant then it must reveal to the European Union and the United Nations, the Greek Cypriot Sides true intentions he said.

    Reminding that the Greek Cypriot Administrations traditional policies were based on using the title of the so-called Republic of Cyprus to isolate the Turkish Cypriot people from the rest of the world, the President warned that ongoing negotiations process was filled with difficult challenges.

    Pointing out that a settlement to be found on the island will be the beginning of a new era in Cyprus, Talat said that the Turkish Cypriot people will experience a rapid economic and social growth under a new partnership based on political equality.

    The President also underlined the important role universities in North Cyprus will play in achieving a lasting solution in Cyprus.

    Meanwhile, its been announced that the meeting between President Talat and the Greek Cypriot Leader scheduled to take place on the 8th of October was postponed to the 10th of October.

    The meeting was postponed due to the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias visit to Bulgaria. The two leaders will continue their discussions on governance and power sharing at their next meeting.

    [02] A National Consultative Council will be established in the occupied areas of Cyprus. Scenario in case the partnership does not work

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.09.08) reports that Tamer Garip, CEO of the Levent Group of Companies, has stated that a National Consultative Council will be established in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The new body will be established at the initiative of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, in the direction of the reports of the Common Wisdom Forum organized by the illegal International Cyprus University (UKU).

    In an interview with Kibris, Mr Garip stated that they will further advance the results of the forum by organizing an activity under the leadership of Mr Talat and with the participation of the speaker of the assembly, Mrs Fatma Ekenoglu, the leaders of the political parties, the owners of the mass media, the active non-governmental organizations and the participants of that forum. He noted that after this activity, the scope and the composition of the National Consultative Council will be determined.

    Mr Garip said that the forum has established the trump cards of the Turkish Cypriot side and conveyed them to the Turkish Cypriot leader. He noted that they brought to light their five most important trump cards and submitted them to Mr Talat who could use them any time at the negotiations. He said that they keep these trump cards secret so that they could give a result when Mr Talat decides to use them.

    The paper writes that the forum drew the red lines of the Turkish Cypriot side and adds that for the first time they used the expression that in case the partnership does not work, the founding states should be able to execute the powers and the duties of the federal state on their own territory until agreement is reached.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Guls statements on the Cyprus problem on his way to New York

    Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (22.09.08) publishes statements made by the Turkish President, Mr. Abdullah Gul, to reporters during his trip to New York, in order to attend the 63rd session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

    Answering to the questions of reporters, Mr. Abdullah Gul referred to the recent initiatives of Turkey for the stability in Caucasus and expressed his optimism because of the positive reflection his recent visit to Armenia had on the foreign press and on the international diplomacy.

    Regarding the Cyprus problem, Mr. Gul said the following: All these had put Turkey in a completely different position. Turkey gained the image that it is the country which wants peace and solution, and not the country that quarrels. In fact, this change has started from the 2004 referendum in Cyprus, but this development has been consolidated. It is that image of Turkey that the UN wants to see, Mr. Gul said.

    (A.K)

    [04] The average number of the illegal immigrants who come to the occupied areas of Cyprus from Syria and Turkey is estimated at 300 per month

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.09.08) reports that the average number of the illegal immigrants who arrive at the occupied areas of Cyprus from Syria and Turkey in order to cross over into the free areas of the Island is estimated at 300 per month.

    The paper notes that the police, in spite of mobilizing all their capabilities, are able to arrest only 40% of the illegal migrants because of lack of radars and coastguard and insufficient coastguard vessels.

    The paper reports that the police cannot cope with the problem because of the long borders. During the four-year period 2003-2007, the police arrested 1058 persons who entered illegally in the occupied areas of Cyprus. This number reached 532 during the first eight months of 2008, writes the paper.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] CTP official explains why the occupied areas economy grew after the Annan Plan process in 2004

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (22.09.08) reports that Unal Findik, foreign affairs secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), has stated that elections will be held in the occupied areas in 2010. In statements to the private Genc TV television, Mr Findik expressed the belief that the people will support the CTP. There are no early elections for the time being, but there will be elections in case of a solution. If elections are held, the CTP will come to power again, he argued.

    Mr Findik claimed that changes have been made in the occupied areas and the gaps between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriot side have been eliminated. He added:

    In the past, our people considered working in the Greek Cypriot side as something big. This number has even reached 7-8 thousands when we opened the gates. Now, however, this number is around 3-4 thousands. The young people will be able to find jobs in any department of the state of the TRNC, because pensioners will not be employed in the state any more. In the past they were employed.

    Mr Findik said that the occupied areas economy grew after the Annan Plan process in 2004. He noted: Let us explain this issue a little bit, because it is very important. With the 2004 [process] our economy started to grow, because the people started to think that the uncertainty would be eliminated. There was an uncertainty regarding the return of the Greek Cypriots. The process in the year 2004 was aimed at eliminating this uncertainty. Investments started because the uncertainty would be eliminated. The investments brought the growth of the economy.

    Mr Findik accused the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, of pursuing a policy for 40 years with the aim of preserving the status quo and unifying the occupied part of the island with Turkey.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] The TDP stated that the population in the occupied areas of Cyprus is increasing in an uncontrolled manner and this adds extra burdens to the budget

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.09.08) reports that Ozgun Kutlamis, head of the Economic Committee of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), has expressed the view that the budget deficits are the basic reason behind the economic problems and the price increases in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    In a written statement issued yesterday, Mr Kutlamis said that astronomic budget deficits have been created as a result of the populist and partisan practices of the self-styled government. He noted that the population is increasing in an uncontrolled manner and this adds extra burdens to the budget.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] The Turkish Cypriot Hunters Federation: We know that the projects in our country and all the works which need infrastructure are carried out by the Republic of Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.09.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Hunters Federation organized a press conference on Saturday on the occasion of the beginning of the Big Hunting season which will start on 26 October 2008. According to the paper, a delegation from the federation consisting of its chairman, Nilhan Tayfunlu and the general secretary Ibrahim Onderoglu will visit Ankara for contacts with the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.

    Mr Tayfunlu said that they will discuss the increase of the capacity of the installations of the federation which are located in occupied Dikomo village. He noted that their aim is for these installations to reach a production capacity of 400.000 partridges.

    We know that the projects in our country and all the works which need infrastructure are carried out by the Republic of Turkey, he said adding that they asked for an appointment with the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forests on the issue of the installations in occupied Dikomo and they received the answer come and lets discuss it.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Civil disobedience protest in occupied Cyprus starts. How the Turkish dailies covered the issue

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (20.09.08) carries a report by Omer Bilge, the papers correspondent in occupied Cyprus, entitled "Civil disobedience in Northern Cyprus" discussing the decision of eight businessmens organizations in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus, led by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry, that their members shall not pay some taxes and utility bills in order to protest against exorbitant increases made by the illegal regime.

    The decision was announced during a press conference organized by the business organizations and, as the paper writes, the Chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry, Salih Tunar. Announcing the decision not to pay electricity bills, salary and motor vehicle license taxes, land registry transaction taxes, nor the employees social security contributions Mr Salih Tunar said that their act is a protest against the policy of the pseudo-state resulting from its failure to solve the economic problems the occupied Cyprus is suffering from and he called for structural reforms.

    On his part, the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer, stated that the pseudo-state was obliged to proceed to increases, particularly in the price of electricity supply, in order to balance the budget in the event that they could not request for an additional financial support from Turkey.

    According to Omer Bilge, the pseudo-state which during the past years has experienced a great economic development, with per capita income reaching approximately $14 thousand, is facing during the last period a cash flow difficulty. As for the products and services, these are approximately three times more expensive in the pseudo-state compared to Turkey.

    Under the title Civil disobedience protest in the TRNC and writing that the businessmens protest has started in occupied Cyprus, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (20.09.08) reports also on the issue.

    (ML)

    [09] Gul met Kemal Dervis in New York in the framework of a series of contacts

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.09.08) reports from New York that Turkish President Abdullah Gul met on Sunday with Kemal Dervis, head of the United Nations Development Programme, in New York. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan also participated in the meeting.

    Gul and Babacan are currently in the United States to participate in the 63rd session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

    The Turkish president is expected to meet UN General Assembly Chairman Miguel D' Escoto Brockmann on Monday. Gul will participate in meeting on "African Development" and deliver a speech.

    Gul is also scheduled to hold several meetings on Monday, including those with Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organization for Islamic Conference (OIC), and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [10] From the Turkish Press of 19, 20 and 21 September 2008

    Following the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 19, 20 and 21 September:

    a) Repercussions in Turkish politics from the Lighthouse court decision in Germany:

    In Cumhuriyet (19.09.08) Cuneyt Arcayurek recalls that the German court announced that Deniz Feneri's [Lighthouse] main link in Turkey is Zekeriya Karaman, owner of Kanal 7. In a commentary, the columnist affirms that Prime Minister Erdogan's and Karaman's daughters-in-law are sisters, and that Erdogan has close ties to RTUK Chairman Akman, another person implicated in the Deniz Feneri fraud case. In short, Arcayurek says, the prime minister is right in the middle of the fraud case involving the said charity organization that was active both in Turkey and in Germany.

    Radikal (19.09.08) reports that Prime Minister Erdogan has called on AKP members to boycott the Aydin Dogan newspapers. Speaking during a fast-breaking dinner oranized by his party in Ankara, Erdogan reportedly said: "The media have lost their credibility in this country, they have finished themselves off. Members of my party should carry out a campaign against the media that spread false stories; do not buy these newspapers."

    In an article entitled "What is new on the N[otorious]M[edia] front?" in Vakit (19.09.08) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak claims that Dogan Media Group owner Aydin Dogan's career will end in the same way as did that of former media barons Erol Simavi and Ercument Karacan. "Racehorses cannot serve as carthorses when they are injured. They are finished off on the spot. Remember what happened to [alleged JITEM operative] Cem Ersever? NM bosses should fear their most trusted aides rather than [Prime Minister] Erdogan in this sense." Dilipak also asserts that the Dogan news media appear to be preparing for a major campaign against the Erdogan government accusing it of religious reactionism in a bid to divert public attention away from the Ergenekon probe and undermine the ruling AKP's chances of winning the next elections.

    In an editorial entitled "It is no longer acceptable," in Hurriyet (20.09.08) columnist Oktay Eksi criticizes Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for urging people supporting the ruling Justice and Development Party, (AKP), to boycott newspapers owned by Aydin Dogan, a Turkish media mogul, on the grounds that they are waging a slander campaign against the AKP. Noting that Erdogan actually advised his supporters to turn a blind eye to facts that the Prime Minister does not want them to see, Eksi says: "I do not know whether anybody will take his call for a boycott seriously. But, I am sure that nobody would be in favor of admitting the Prime Minister's country to the EU where democracy has taken root after he has made this appeal. Actually, it may not be a problem because the Prime Minister no longer seems to be concerned with Turkey's accession to the EU."

    An editorial entitled "Milliyet's Response to the call for boycott" in Milliyet (20.09.08) says that Erdogans call for boycotting some newspapers should put his perception of democracy into question. It says: "Obviously, the Prime Minister wants to silence voices of criticism. This is an attempt doomed to fail. Our readers will give him a response that he deserves." The editorial also cautions that the current tension which, it argues, is being deliberately exacerbated by the Prime Minister, paralyzes efforts to revive the reform process in Turkey in connection with its quest to join the EU.

    In an article entitled "You must buy newspapers," in Milliyet (20.09.08) columnist Melih Asik describes Erdogan's call as the last step of a counter-revolution against Ataturk's reforms. He says: "This call is a part of a campaign which a political party which has been convicted of being an enemy of secular democracy is conducting against democracy, secular republic, and the law."

    In an article entitled "Anxieties mount within the EU," in Milliyet (20.09.08) columnist Semih Idiz quotes an EU diplomat as saying that Erdogan's call for boycotting newspapers could set the stage for a serious tension between the Turkish government and the EU. The same diplomat cautions that the EU Commission or the Council could issue a statement criticizing Erdogan if he does not change his approach to the media.

    A report entitled "Impose an embargo on Germany if you can" in Hurriyet (20.09.08) highlights comments made by Republican People's Party leader Deniz Baykal in an interview with the CNN Turk television station about Erdogan's call to boycott some newspapers. According to the report Mr Baykal described the Prime Minister's appeal as an indication of his dictatorial mentality, predicting that people will not listen to Erdogan's advice.

    According to a report entitled "He is committing a crime against democracy" in Hurriyet (20.09.08), Oktay Vural, deputy whip of the Nationalist Action Party's parliamentary delegation, accused Erdogan of resorting to blackmail and threats which, he argues, reflect his dictatorial aspirations.

    A report entitled "Journalists Associations to hold emergency meetings" in Hurriyet (20.09.08) says that the Turkish Journalists' Association invited the representatives of journalists' associations to attend a meeting scheduled for 30 September in order to discuss mounting tension between the government and the media. It also highlights comments made by the presidents of various journalists' associations who criticize Erdogan.

    In an article entitled "The Media, politics, trade, and boycott," in Sabah (20.09.08) columnist Ergun Babahan ascribes the tension between Erdogan and the Dogan Group to the latter's disappointment stemming from being deprived of privileges that it was granted by previous governments and links between its operations in both commercial field and the news and media industry. He says: "These are all true. But, it would be wrong if the prime minister of a country calls for boycotting a media group. It cannot be reconciled with democracy, pluralism, and the freedom of the press."

    In an editorial entitled "Tyranny of the Majority," in Turkish Daily News (20.09.08) columnist Yusuf Kanli describes Erdogan's call for boycott as one of the indications of what he describes as "tyranny of the majority" which can leave a country sick and weak.

    In an article entitled "It is about to be lost," in Cumhuriyet (20.09.08) columnist Cuneyt Arcayurek points out that ongoing debates over the Ergenekon and Deniz Feneri cases have overshadowed the talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders in Cyprus. Arcayurek criticizes Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat for planning to bypass principles adopted by Turkish Parliament, including a solution based on equality, maintaining Turkey's role as a guarantor, and bizonality. Noting that recent developments showed that the Turkish government and Talat are not pursuing a policy which strictly adheres to those principles, Arcayurek concludes by saying: "Some people should oppose attempts to sell Cyprus out through Ankara and Talat who serves as its tool. Otherwise, we can lose it."

    Under the headline, "CHP receives money aid from German foundation," Vakit (20.09.08) publishes a front-page report which asserts that it has turned out that the Republican People's Party, CHP, received money aid to the tune of 85,000 euros from the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation a few years ago. The report highlights former Chief Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court Sabih Kanadoglu's recent remarks saying that Article 69 of the Constitution requires political parties that accept financial aid from foreign organizations to be shut down permanently.

    In an article entitled "A reminder to the Prime Minister about his boycott call", in Vakit (20.09.08) columnist Serdar Arseven expresses support for Prime Minister Erdogan's remarks calling on the public not to buy any of the Dogan group newspapers that have "falsely" accused the AKP of being implicated in the corruption scandal involving a Germany-based charity called Deniz Feneri [Lighthouse]. Arseven proceeds to call Erdogan's attention to what he describes as the Turkish Airlines' favoritism toward "Erdogan's enemies" in the news media and its discriminatory treatment of Vakit, as exemplified by the difference between the number of Hurriyet and Vakit copies distributed gratis to Turkish Airlines passengers.

    In an article entitled "Deniz Feneri once again: Any Jewish role in the ruling?", in Vakit (20.09.08) Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya suggests the possibility that "Zionist Israel" and Masonic lodges might have played a role in the launch of an accusation campaign by the Hurriyet daily against the Kanal 7 television network in connection with the Deniz Feneri case in Germany. Karakaya bases this notion on a letter sent by "Sovereign Grand Commander" Paul Veysset to the Grand Masonic Lodge in Turkey "only one month before the 28 February process," instructing Turkish freemasons to "adopt all measures to force the ruling RP [Welfare Party] to resign."

    In a column in Milliyet (21.09.08) Kadri Gursel describes Prime Minister Erdogan's call for a boycott on the Dogan Group media organs as a serious threat to democracy in Turkey. He recalls the pressure antidemocratic forces put on the press in the 1990s and notes: Prime Minister Erdogan seems to have forgotten the Copenhagen criteria... He has significantly harmed Turkey. Stressing that boycotting the press can be seen only in undeveloped countries, Gursel accuses the prime minister of committing a crime against democracy and says: Unfortunately, some of the officials believe that they can achieve their objectives by committing crimes. They believe that they are expert tacticians. However, considering his behavior, Erdogan is far from being a skillful tactician.

    In Milliyet (20.09.08) Fikret Bila criticizes Prime Minister Erdogan's reaction to the media organs that published reports on the Lighthouse investigation in Germany, in which some of the AKP [Justice and Development Party] supporters have been involved. In a column, he argues that the prime minister should have taken steps to safeguard the rights of the Turkish citizens who have been robbed and launch an investigation into the allegations that have been made against some of the officials in Turkey. Criticizing Erdogan's call for a boycott on the Dogan Group media organs, Bila says: Obviously, the call conflicts with the requirements of the democratic regime. He has been criticized for it. Nevertheless, the call brought to light the importance of the independence of the press in the country. The newspapers that published the reports on the Lighthouse investigation are not dependent on the government. The call itself showed that people read them. Bila argues that a section of the media organs is dependent on the government and describes that as one of the main problems of the press in Turkey.

    In Hurriyet (21.09.08) Ferai Tinc focuses on Erdgoan's call for a boycott on the media organs that published reports on the Lighthouse investigation and describes it as a serious development. In his column, she claims: The call showed the kind of mentality that is in power in Turkey. You will close the door to dialogue. You will continue to use your title "co-chairman of the Intercultural Dialogue Group as if nothing has happened. Is that possible? If so, how convincing will you be?" Tinc believes that Prime Minister Erdogan's advisers encourage him to maintain an aggressive strategy and criticizes the prime minister for eulogizing his party's achievements and failing to inform the people on Turkey's agenda.

    Rahmi Turan in his column in Milliyet (21.09.08), describes Erdogan as an impatient, nervous, and rude prime minister and notes: I have been a journalist for many years now. I have not seen a prime minister like Erdogan, who does not have a democratic culture, cannot tolerate opposing views, and reacts to criticism by making threats. Such a mentality cannot move Turkey to a better position. Prime Minister Erdogan has been at the helm for six years now. But, he still maintains a stubborn approach. Let us wait and see whether his call for a boycott on the media organs will be effective. Will the people decide not to read the newspapers that have upset the prime minister? Turan concludes by warning that anger might be sweeter than honey but it will create a sad situation in the end.

    Writing in Istanbul Cumhuriyet (21.09.08), Cuneyt Arcayurek accuses Prime Minister Erdogan of being at the axis of the Lighthouse investigation in Turkey. Arguing that he will not be able to deny the factors the prosecutor in Frankfurt has outlined in his indictment, Arcayurek says in his column: The prosecutor has identified some of the main suspects as Zekeriya Karaman, owner of Kanal 7 television network, and Minister of Internal Affairs Besir Atalay. Erdogan and Karaman are closely related. Their children are married to two sisters. They have family links. Recalling the German ambassadors statement that the officials in Ankara failed to provide information on the Lighthouse group through the Interpol, Arcayurek claims that a large amount of the funds that were collected in Germany were used for political purposes in Turkey. The Lighthouse organization was established to camouflage the corrupt activities. Arcayuret concludes by accusing Prime Minister Erdogan of trying to avoid giving an account of the corrupt activities in the country.

    Gungor Mengi in a column in Istanbul Vatan (21.09.08), describes Erdogan's anger and inclination to use the state to satisfy his personal grudge as an evil approach and argues that the prime minister has not changed. Mengi recalls the refusal of President Abdullah Gul and Speaker of Parliament Toptan to comment on Erdogan's call for a boycott on the media organs and warns them as follows: A threat has been made against the freedom of the press. If you believe that you should distance yourself from such a political controversy, then you have lost everything. You will be asked to explain what you expect from occupying those positions and what you defend by doing so. You will be asked to explain how useful you are.

    Commenting on Prime Minister Erdogan's attack on the Dogan Media Group's newspapers, Ismet Berkan likens him to CHP [Republican People's Party] leader Deniz Baykal, saying that he, too, cannot tolerate a peaceful atmosphere. In his column in Istanbul Radikal (21.09.08), he accuses Erdogan of creating new capital groups in the country through the contracts his administration awards to small contractors and notes: The state does not make foreign currency allocations anymore. However, it awards contracts to the companies that are close to it. So, the reports on corruption or favoritism make the officials uneasy. Berkan argues that he does not believe the corruption cases will ever end in the country.

    In an article entitled "The boycott issue", in Yeni Safak (21.09.08) columnist Kursat Bumin criticizes Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for advising his party's supporters to boycott newspapers published by the Dogan Group on the grounds that their stories about the AKP are not true. Emphasizing that Erdogan's call was uncalled for and wrong, Bumin also notes that the Prime Minister's call for boycott was largely disregarded by pro-AKP newspapers while some others criticized it in an immoderate manner by likening Erdogan to fascists.

    In an article entitled "A boycott? Why?" in Yeni Safak (21.09.08) columnist Fehmi Koru points out that newspapers owned by the Dogan Group are gradually losing their influence over the public, adding that columnists who act as the mouthpiece of Aydin Dogan will eventually be ignored by the public. He says: "Thus, there is not a situation that could warrant uttering the word 'boycott' which may be assigned different meanings in this country. Those columnists who are no longer influential and newspapers which are not taken seriously despite their circulation cannot determine the nation's agenda. They have rivals, including us who can cope with them. Mr. Prime Minister, you should trust that facts will always prevail."

    In an article entitled "What do the boss's Yes-men say about boycotting Vakit?", in Vakit (21.09.08) columnist Ihsan Karahasanoglu accuses various journalists' organizations which criticized Erdogan's call for boycott of applying double standards to the media. Reminding that distribution of copies of Islamic newspapers, including Vakit, Zaman, and Milli Gazete is banned in military establishments, Karahasanoglu says: "Those who loudly complain because of the Prime Minister's appeal to civilians remain silent about the ban imposed by the military which exercises powers on behalf of the public on some newspapers. On the contrary, they support it."

    In an article entitled "Ensuring that the law rather than power prevails" in Milli Gazete (21.09.08) columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan says that Prime Minister Erdogan should refrain from leading a campaign against certain newspapers on the grounds that they publish slanderous reports. Pointing out that such campaigns should be conducted by non-governmental organizations, Ozkan comments: "I do not think that it would be the right solution because such campaigns fuel polarization in society and lead to formation of opposing camps. Thus, it must be ensured that laws are fully and equally applied to all. I believe that the majority of the complaints being heard today would be eliminated if the media comply with laws."

    In an article entitled "It is a pity," in Bugun (21.09.08) columnist Gulay Gokturk emphasizes that Erdogan's boycott call could be interpreted as an attempt to establish ideological hegemony through the ruling party. Analyzing possible reasons that have prompted Erdogan to take such an uncompromising stance rather than taking steps to win the hearts and minds of his critics, she says: "The key question on people's minds is whether it was a calculated outburst of anger or an uncontrolled explosion stemming from the Prime Minister's character. Clearly, I would prefer that it resulted from the Prime Minister's hot-tempered nature and intolerance for criticism because it would be a situation that could be handled more easily through common sense within the party. But, if it was a calculated outburst of anger, it was a very wrong-headed move and the AKP could pay a high price for that miscalculation soon and probably in the upcoming local elections."

    b) Closure case against the Democratic Society Party:

    In an article entitled "Why the DTP should not be shut down", in Zaman (19.09.08) columnist Ihsan Dagi argues that although "not even the Venice criteria" can readily be cited as a basis for objecting to the possible closure of the Democratic Society Party, (DTP), by the Constitutional Court given how this party "refrains from condemning violence and treats it as a legitimate tool of politics," it will still be politically the right thing not to close the DTP. He claims that shutting down the DTP would mean disrespect for the political will of voters in the southeast, that the DTP's presence in Parliament contributes to the normalization of politics in Turkey, and that "if what we want is to end violence, then everybody should see that politics is given a chance in this country no matter what."

    According to a report in Zaman (20.09.08) entitled "DTP follows AKP model in Diyarbakir", the Democratic Society Party, (DTP), is distributing food aid to the people in Diyarbakir and setting up "iftar tents" in Ramadan as part of a strategy to win the local elections in March. The report highlights former remarks by DTP leader Ahmet Turk linking the increase in the AKP's votes in the southeast in the 22 July election to this party's practice of giving out fuel and food aid to the people and accusing the AKP of treating Kurds like "beggars" and using religion as a means of breaking the public "resistance."

    In an article entitled "Apply the Venice criteria", in Zaman (20.09.08) columnist Sahin Alpay argues that a Constitutional Court decision to close down the DTP would not only be a political mistake but also a major blow to Turkey's efforts to promote democracy and the rule of law because according to internationally recognized principles of the rule of law, only political parties that defend violence could be legitimately shut down. He proceeds to claim that the DTP does not espouse or use violence and that DTP representatives have frequently voiced their objection to violence and "armed struggle."

    In a commentary entitled "Two different DTPs", in Today's Zaman (20.09.08) writer Mumtazer Turkone states as follows the "paradox" facing the Constitutional Court in the closure case against the DTP: "If the DTP is closed, it will be closed because of its connection with violence. But if it is closed, violence will escalate."

    EG/


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