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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-10-02

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. 188/08 01-02.10.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Extract on the Cyprus problem from the Statement by Mehmet Ali Talat, Leader of the Turkish Cypriot Community, at PACE
  • [02] How the Turkish and the Turkish Cypriot press covered Talats visit to Strasbourg
  • [03] Talat stated that the PACE report on Cyprus is one-sided
  • [04] The report on the results of the Wisdom Forum are presented to the public by Halkin Sesi
  • [05] Mustafa Abitoglu, coordinator of the Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Foundation calls on international organizations which deal with human rights matters to open branches in the occupied areas
  • [06] Polish students to visit the occupied areas for examining the educational system of the occupation regime.
  • [07] The counterproposal of the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation to FIFA was rejected
  • [08] Underwater pipeline to occupied Cyprus to be completed in 2009
  • [09] The 400 years of peaceful history of the Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus in a London exhibition
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [10] From the Turkish Press of 30 September and 1st October 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Extract on the Cyprus problem from the Statement by Mehmet Ali Talat, Leader of the Turkish Cypriot Community, at PACE

    Yeni Duzen (02.10.08) publishes the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Mehmet Ali Talats statement before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe made on (01.10.08). Following is the excerpt of his statement on the Cyprus problem:

    The Cyprus problem is a problem of cohabitation of two peoples on a small island. Unfortunately, I wont be able to say that we have been successful in doing so. However, I should say that the responsibility of the Turkish Cypriot people- that make up 20 percent of the islands population despite its separate political identity- in the creation and continuation of this problem is very little compared to the responsibility of other actors.

    The Turkish Cypriot people have had a single desire since the 1950s: and that is to participate in the governance of the island of Cyprus in a way that would allow it to determine its own future...

    I am aware that Turkey is portrayed as the perpetrator of the Cyprus problem in many speeches in this very room. However, when Turkey was forced to intervene in the island in 1974, the Cyprus problem was already there. The representatives of the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot peoples had begun talks in 1968 about how they could solve the problem, resulting from the Greek Cypriots hijacking 1960 partnership republic 1963. However, when the illegal Greek Cypriot armed forces, which had the support of the Military Junta in Greece, staged a coup against their own administrators and prepared to declare Enosis, Turkey was forced to send troops to the island fulfilling its responsibilities stemming from international agreements.

    Turkey had proposed to intervene together with Britain, which is another guarantor country, but was rejected and had to fulfill this duty by on her own.

    Because of this problem, Turkish Cypriot people are unable to take its honorable place among the free peoples of the world, and to establish adequate and effective relations with the world. We have spent our childhood and adolescence on a volcano ready to erupt any minute. Now, we are concerned with rendering secure the future of our children. And for this, we regard the establishment of a lasting peace in Cyprus as an urgent humanitarian issue.

    The fact that we have not been able to achieve solution and peace despite changing world conditions has greatly complicated the political aspects of the problem; and has imposed on the problem, the burden of decisions and attitudes of a bipolar world.

    In fact, the United Nations Resolutions on the issue since the year 1964, or the attitudes that emerged right after 1974, still have a huge influence today.

    The Turkish Cypriot people are able to deal with the difficulties imposed on it by lack of solution, leaning especially on the contributions of the Republic of Turkey. Turkey has been the main supporter of the Turkish Cypriot people and therefore, my people are rightfully grateful to the Republic of Turkey, and to the Turkish people, to whom it is related through historic and cultural bonds.

    Thanks to Turkeys support, Turkish Cypriot people are able to benefit from state services, to establish telephone connections with the world, to benefit from postal services and travel.

    If Turkey had banned direct flights as other states have, I would have been imprisoned in Northern Cyprus, instead of being here.

    In fact, if it wasnt for the support of Turkey, there would not be a Turkish Cypriot leader speaking before you, since there would not be any Turkish Cypriots left in Cyprus.

    Now, we have a new process. My dear friend Mr. Demetris Christofias took over the Greek Cypriot leadership saying that he will pursue a policy of solution and negotiations. We were, of course, pleased. And we immediately settled down to work.

    We do have various difficulties... However, these difficulties do not emanate from Turkey, as argued by Mr. Demetris Christofias. These difficulties emanate from the fact that the Greek Cypriot side is reluctant to share the sovereignty of Cyprus with the Turkish Cypriot people.

    I showed a lot of flexibility so that the Greek Cypriot side sits on the table for comprehensive solution negotiations... In order to strengthen Mr. Christofias, I gave my approval for joint statements that fulfilled their demands to create a common language, although this was not part of our procedural agreement signed on 21 March.

    Today, I regard the initiation of comprehensive settlement negotiations as a great improvement, but I have to say that the main obstacle in front of further progress is the reluctance of the Greek Cypriot side to give effect the Turkish Cypriots political equality.

    As the Turkish Cypriot side, we want to establish a new partnership state in Cyprus, based on the political equality of the two peoples, and which is composed of two constituent states of equal status. We believe that Cyprus could be unified under such a framework and that we can stand before the world with a single international identity.

    Although Cyprus has been accepted into the European Union in an unfair manner and without the approval of the Turkish Cypriot people, all our political forces agree that the new partnership state will be a member of the EU. I believe that the new partnership state can be shaped by remaining true to the founding principles of the European Union; nevertheless, the Turkish Cypriot people can be protected from threats stemming from historic problems or mistrust through certain derogations.

    We ask for your help to formulate such a structure and to bury the Cyprus problem into the past.

    The Cyprus problem has given rise to a property issue. I would like to remind you that, as the Turkish Cypriot side, we have established the Immovable Property Commission in accordance with the recommendations and suggestions of the European Court of Human Rights. Accordingly, as an interim measure for those property owners, who are unable to wait until a comprehensive solution, we have accepted as domestic remedy, the options of partial restitution, exchange and compensation and have implemented them. The establishment of this Commission has unburdened the European Court of Human Rights of its extensive work load.

    Property issue, which has been the subject of especially post-war mandatory regulations, has become a problem for many countries including European states. There are many current examples of this problem in the world. Our main target should be to share each others experiences regarding this issue, and reach solution and peace through an agreement, which includes arrangements that do not force our people to immigrate yet again.

    Reaching a comprehensive solution in Cyprus, and rendering this solution sustainable, is also related to how the young generations on both sides of the island view each other.

    I can tell you with pleasure that our Ministry of Education has reviewed the text books being used in schools, in accordance with the principles and recommendations of the Council of Europe. We are expecting the Greek Cypriot side to take action at once and eliminate language in their own text books that incite enmity and hatred against Turkish Cypriots. Our expectation from the Council of Europe is to encourage and embolden the Greek Cypriot side in this regard.

    As the Turkish Cypriot side, we view all the cultural monuments in Northern Cyprus, as the common heritage of humanity, regardless of their origin, and try to preserve them with scarce resources without any international aid. I am calling on you today to support us in our efforts to preserve cultural heritage. In this regard, I would also like to bring to your attention that there exists Turkish-Islamic cultural monuments in the Greek Cypriot side, which are in need of the Councils special interest and preservation.

    The issue of Missing Persons is not an issue that emerged in 1974, and which only concerns Greek Cypriots. Hundreds of Turkish Cypriot civilians were kidnapped on the way to home or work between the years 1963-1974 and have gone missing. It is a disappointment to see that this humanitarian issue has been portrayed as a problem that only concerns Greek Cypriots and that justice is demanded only on their part.

    Amendments adopted at the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee further consolidated the one sidedness of the draft resolution. Accepting a resolution that includes such negative and unilateral elements at a time when comprehensive negotiations are ongoing on the island, would definitely not make a positive contribution neither on the solution efforts of the UN Secretary-General, nor the efforts to create a positive atmosphere.

    The Turkish Cypriot people are under political, economic and social isolation. The most important effect of this isolation is that Turkish Cypriots are unable to voice their political views in the international arena. The developments in Cyprus are, most of the time, brought to the attention of the world unilaterally and in a way that does not reflect reality. At the end of the day, this distortion contributes to non-solution in Cyprus.

    [02] How the Turkish and the Turkish Cypriot press covered Talats visit to Strasbourg

    Under the title Historic speech Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.10.08) reports in its first page about the statement of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, yesterday at the 4th Ordinary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg. According to the paper, in his speech, which was in Turkish, Mr Talat stated, inter alia, that the Turkish Cypriot people want an early, comprehensive and just solution for the Cyprus problem and that they will put their efforts towards this direction.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (02.10.08) reports on the same issue in its first page under the title He spoke in an empty conference hall and criticizes the lack of politeness and interest on the part of the Europeans who invited Talat to address PACE, but they did not bother to go and listen to his speech. Afrika goes on and writes that only 30 out of the 315 members of the PACE were present during Talats statement which was the first speech of a Turkish Cypriot leader there and which was broadcast live by TRT 2.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (02.10.08) reports on Talats speech under the title The Greek Cypriots are unwilling.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (02.10.08) writes that president Talat addressed the PACE but the Report about Cyprus was one-sided and wrong!.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (02.10.08) reports on the same issue under the title Talat addressed the PACE in Turkish: We are ready all the time for the solution.

    Commenting on the issue Kibris columnist, Hasan Hasturer, who went to Strasbourg on behalf of the paper to cover Talats contacts, wrote in his daily column that yesterday was a historic day for all the Turkish Cypriots and Talat was aware of this. According to Hasturer, it was very important that Mr Talat had the chance to address the assembly following Demetris Christofias speech and added that this was an advantage for him because he had the chance to reply to Mr Christofias speech. Moreover, Mr Hasturer notes that while Mr Christofias referred in his speech to Mr Talat as companion, Mr Talat, on his part, referred to Mr Christofias as friend.

    Referring to Talats contacts in Strasbourg, Kibris writes that the Turkish Cypriot leader attended a dinner offered in his honor by the President of PACE, Luis Maria de Puig. The dinner was also attended, among others, by two MPs of the Republic of Cyprus, Christos Pourgourides from DISY and Andros Kyprianou from AKEL and the PACE Rapporteur on Cyprus Joachim Horster. The dinner was also attended by the two self-styled MPs of the occupation regime who went to Strasbourg for the PACE meeting. These are Mehmet Caglar of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and Huseyin Ozgurgun from the National Unity Party (UBP).

    Mr Talat also met with the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Thomas Hammarberg and later with the President of PACE, Luis Maria de Puig. Following their meeting they made statements to the press. Mr Maria de Puig thanked Mr Talat for trying to find a political solution. On his part Mr Talat, stressing that the Council of Europe is the international center of democracy, dialogue and cooperation, stated that the Turkish Cypriots are ready for a solution. Mr Talat stated that it is still early to speak positively about the solution negotiations which have started between him and Mr Christofias but, as he said, he is hopeful and he is evaluating the possibilities for a solution. Stressing the importance of the solution, he said that the Turkish Cypriot side is ready to create a peace environment. Mr Talat also expressed his happiness for the opportunity he was given to address the PACE and said that with this invitation PACE showed that it treats the Turkish and the Greek Cypriots equally. Mr Talat said that this will contribute to the solution.

    Replying to questions Mr Talat said that his priority is the finding of a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem and that the demilitarization is a step that creates confidence. However, for the time being this is not the only thing on the agenda. It will be discussed, he said. He also asked for the lifting of the obstacles for the transportation from the Famagusta port, as a step that will create confidence.

    Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (02.10.08) publishes a report by its correspondent in Strasbourg Guven Ozalp, under the title The defense of Turkey by Talat. He writes that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who addressed the general assembly of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) yesterday, noted that the Cyprus problem was not created with Turkeys military intervention. Mr Talat also added: If there was not Turkey, then the Turkish Cypriot leader, who is addressing you at this moment, would not exist because no Turkish Cypriot would have been left. Mr Talat also said the actual source of the non-solution in Cyprus is not Turkey, but Greek Cypriots' unwillingness to share sovereignty in the island. Mr Talat also criticized the report prepared by the PACE Rapporteur on Cyprus Joachim Horster. The report was adopted by 99 votes in favor and 22 votes against.

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (02.10.08) publishes a report by its correspondent Zeynel Lule in Strasbourg, under the title Let us not be fooled by the Greek Cypriot propaganda. He reports that President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Mehmet Ali Talat, addressing the general assembly of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), said: If I am here today, it is thanks to Turkey. Talat continued and said: Do not believe the propaganda of the Greek Cypriots, do not hold Turkey responsible for the problem in the island. If there was not Turkey, we could not be benefiting from post services, from trips or telephone connections with the world.

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (02.10.08), under the title They complained about the Greek Cypriots to the EU, reports that Talat, in his speech at the general assembly of the PACE, said: The Greek Cypriots are unwilling to recognize the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots.

    Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (02.10.08), under the title The PACE report is disappointing, reports that the TRNC President is disappointed regarding the provisions of the decision to lift the isolations.

    (CS/DPs)

    [03] Talat stated that the PACE report on Cyprus is one-sided

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (02.10.08) reports about the statements the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, made following his address to PACE to the Turkish NTV television and notes that Mr Talat stated in his speech that the biggest problem in the island is the fact that the Greek Cypriots do not want to share the sovereignty.

    Talat criticized Christofias who on his part criticized Turkeys red lines and said that a solution cannot be found with these statements. What are the lines set by the National Security Council (NSC)? Is it a negative approach to say that the Cyprus problem will be solved in equality? Christofias cannot explain this. The English version of the statement of the NSC is translated into Greek and he makes comments over this. The real aim is to throw the blame on the Turkish side and to gain time, he stated.

    Talat also stated that Christofias is speaking especially against Turkey and added: He does not make rude remarks about me because he knows that I will give a reply. By directing his criticism to Turkey he thinks that his questions will remain without a reply.

    Mr Talat went on and stated that the PACE report on Cyprus is one-sided and even opened issues which were closed, for example the issue of the Greek Cypriot students in Karpass. However, the issue of the Turkish Cypriot School in Limassol was not opened. Mr Talat stated that in the past there were more balanced reports about Cyprus.

    Mr Talat also stated that the Cyprus problem is an obstacle in front of Turkeys EU membership. Definitely it is a mistake of the EU the fact that the Greek Cypriot section became member of the EU before the solution of the Cyprus problem. Our side made a mistake for giving permission for this, he stated.

    Talat stated that at the meeting he will have tomorrow with the chairman of the European Court of Human Rights, he will bring in the agenda the contradictory practices of the Court. Talat stated that the applications made by the Turkish Cypriots were rejected but similar applications, made by the Greek Cypriots, were accepted.

    Mr Talat went on and stated that he is optimistic about the solution and referring to Mr Christofias he said that the presence of both of them, Mr Christofias and himself must pave the way for the solution, otherwise things will become very difficult towards this direction.

    (CS)

    [04] The report on the results of the Wisdom Forum are presented to the public by Halkin Sesi

    Under the title, Results report by the Common Wisdom Forum, Turkish Cypriot Halkin Sesi newspaper (29.09.08) republishes more comprehensively the results of a conference organised by the self-styled Cyprus International University (CIU). Moderator of this conference was Mr Tinaz Titiz, former State Minister of the Republic of Turkey and coordinator Mr Tamer Garip, member of CIUs board of trustees. The conference was held between August 23-24 and September 6, with 80 participants. The aim of the conference was to reflect and represent the views of various sectors of the Turkish Cypriot side in order to contribute to the comprehensive negotiation process started on September 11.

    The results of the Common Wisdom Forum, inter alia, underline that sovereignty, political equality, solution, peace and the creation of a new state are needed for the creation of a common understanding ground and will be achieved by the reconciliation of differences.

    They are explained as follows:

    Sovereignty:

    The sovereignty, which will be created in the partnership state, originates from two equal people.

    The central government will use the sovereign rights delegated to it at the base of political equality.

    The sovereign rights not to be used by the central government will be used exclusively by the founding states. The authorities bound to these will be able to be used in the international field, as well.

    There is no hierarchy in the use of the sovereign rights between the regions of the founding states and the central government of the founding states.

    Political equality:

    When the central government takes a decision there will be no pressure from the sides (founding states) and the decisions will be taken with consensus. In case the decisions cannot be taken, they will be taken with separate majority.

    Mechanisms ensuring and protecting the equality of the founding states must be created.

    There must be active representation and participation of the two people in all organs.

    Equality must be ensured in the representation of Cyprus; for example, the Presidency must be rotating.

    In a legislative system with two Houses where the final decision will be taken by the upper house, the unconditional equality of the sides must be considered essential.

    Solution:

    A just and permanent solution, which will be reached after the approval of separate and simultaneous referendums in both sides, and will include the sovereignty and political equality emanating from the people.

    Peace:

    For a possible solution to be viable, there must be created the right conditions to prevent new conflicts between the two people.

    The creation of the new state:

    To originate from both sides and to reflect the continuation of both existing entities in equal terms.

    An agreement will be reached regarding the representatives of the two founding states and it will be approved through simultaneous referendums.

    Moreover, the participants referred to the most desired and non-desired components which constitute the Cyprus Problem. These are:

    Safe and fearless life.

    To be equal in decision making and possession of powers.

    The sides should have equal status in every situation in the international field.

    Balance in the development of the economies of both sides and their competitiveness.

    Reconciliation of differences between the sides on culture.

    Fair ownership regime.

    Strengthening of the internal institutional structure.

    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.

    The financing needs to be created after the solution to be guaranteed by the international community.

    Numbers (1), (2), (6) and (8) were announced as their red lines.

    In case the negotiations are stopped the Turkish Cypriots will aim at their own administration.

    (EA)

    [05] Mustafa Abitoglu, coordinator of the Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Foundation calls on international organizations which deal with human rights matters to open branches in the occupied areas.

    Turkish daily Star Kibris newspaper (02.10.08) reports that Mr Mustafa Abitoglu, coordinator of the Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Foundation, speaking at the conference «the Human dimension» which was organized in Poland by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which is connected with the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe, has called on the international organizations which deal with human rights matters, to open branch offices in the occupied areas of Cyprus so that they will closely monitor the violations occurring on Turkish Cypriots human rights.

    Particularly, Mr. Mustafa Abitoglu has called on «Amnesty International» and «Human Rights Watch» organizations to come to the occupied areas and monitor very closely the developments prevailing in the occupied areas concerning the human rights field.

    (A.K.)

    [06] Polish students to visit the occupied areas for examining the educational system of the occupation regime.

    Star Kibris under the title «Polish students to visit the occupied areas» reports that between 15-22 of October, a number of Polish students are planned to visit the occupied areas of Cyprus in order to make a study about the educational system which exists in the schools in the occupied areas. According to the paper, Polish students will visit different schools in the occupied areas and watch the development of the Turkish Cypriot educational system. The paper goes on and writes that the above visit of Polish students in the occupied areas is taking place within the framework of the memorandum signed between Turkish Cypriot Trade Union (KTOS) and a Polish syndicate called Poland Solidarity Syndicate.

    The paper writes also that within the framework of the above memorandum, five Turkish Cypriot students have visited Poland in order to see the educational system which exists there. According to the paper, the students who already returned to the occupied areas, during their stay in Poland, had the opportunity to visit eight different schools, to participate in classes, and make observations and presentations. The paper adds that the aim of the exchange of visits between the Turkish Cypriots and Polish students is to examine and publish a common project about the educational system in Cyprus and how this can reach the European standards.

    (A.K.)

    [07] The counterproposal of the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation to FIFA was rejected

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (02.10.08) writes that Omer Adal, the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation stated that FIFA gave a negative reply to the counterproposal of the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation. FIFA has proposed to the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation to become member of Cyprus Football Association (CFA), in order to be able to play friendly matches abroad, but the Turkish Cypriots rejected this suggestion and made a counterproposal.

    (CS)

    [08] Underwater pipeline to occupied Cyprus to be completed in 2009

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.09.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    The Turkey-Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) underwater potable water pipeline is about to be completed.

    The majority of the water pipeline carrying potable water from Anamur Dragon River in Turkey to the TRNC has been erected.

    Once operational, the potable water pipeline would carry 75 million cubic meters of water from Turkey to the TRNC.

    15 million cubic meters out of this total amount would be for consumption while the rest 60 million cubic meters would be used in irrigation.

    The underwater potable water pipeline connecting Turkey to the TRNC would be completed by June 14th, 2009.

    The water coming from Turkey would be stored in a dam to be constructed near Girne [occupied Keryneia], TRNC.

    [09] The 400 years of peaceful history of the Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus in a London exhibition

    Illegal Bayrak television (30.09.08) broadcast that the 400 years of heritage exhibition which explains Cypruss 400 year history is being displayed in the British Capital London. The exhibition includes 50 works of art and will remain open between the 1st and 4th of October.

    The "400 Years of Heritage" exhibition displays many documents belonging to Turkish Cypriot history and culture and can be viewed at London Foreign Press Association building after a cocktail reception tonight.

    Evkaf General Manager, Hatice Cavlan, said that the exhibition aims to get passed the perception of Turkish Cypriots as a contemporary idea that is linked solely to the political issues on the island in the last 50 years, such as embargoes and conflict.

    It aims, she said, to go beyond this and show that the Turkish Cypriots have a 400 year peaceful history on the island.

    After closing its doors in London, the exhibition will then move to the Brussels parliamentary building where it will be on display between the 11th and 14th of November.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [10] From the Turkish Press of 30 September and 1st October 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 30 September and 1st October 2008:

    a) Local Elections

    A report in Ortadogu (30.09.08) describes the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government decision to double the "poverty premiums", being distributed to limited income groups, as an "election bribe." The premium that were distributed twice yearly up until now will be distributed four times a year, the report adds.

    In an article entitled "Municipal Elections" in Today's Zaman (30.09.08) columnist Dogu Ergil slams the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Action Party, (MHP), for refusing to discuss with chief EU negotiator and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan the AKP's draft proposal to speed up Turkey's efforts to join European Union. He claims that as long as the opposition retains this "archaic understanding of national interests," the Erdogan government will have its work cut out to "make Turkey a part of the wider world."

    In an article in Vatan (01.10.08), Gungor Mengi praises Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the deputy leader of the CHP parliamentary faction, for his integrity as well as his state acumen and experience, saying that he is the person who will meet the people's expectations. Commenting on speculations that Kilicdaroglu will be nominated as the CHP candidate for the position of Istanbul Mayor, Mengi believes that he is the right choice. Among the candidates who promise to fight corruption, Kilicdaroglu is the most convincing, says the writer, adding that the CHP should immediately reach a decision on the issue and send Kilicdaroglu accompanied by a team of researchers to Istanbul to begin the election preparations.

    b) Economy

    Assessing the economic situation in the country in a column in Hurriyet (30.09.2008), Erdal Saglam says: "We know that Turkey is going through a bad period in its struggle against inflation. Therefore, a high rate of inflation coupled with an economic shrinkage can have grave consequences. In countries such as Turkey, the government has a significant role in safeguarding economic stability." Pointing out that in countries such as Turkey political clashes are exacerbated in times of a deceleration in economic growth, the writer foresees that we will not only be facing economic difficulties in the period ahead of us, but we will also be facing political difficulties to be brought about by the economic ones. Accusing the government of not focusing on economic measures to ward off the crisis and of fighting with the media instead, Saglam predicts that the affects of the global crisis on Turkey will be far greater than expected.

    Vatan (30.09.08) carries an interview by Mine Senocakli with economy professor Asaf Savas Akat who believes that Turkey is facing a "difficult period" even if it will not be as devastating as the 2001 crisis. According to Prof. Akat, citizens will be affected by the slow growth and consumption will have to be curbed if foreign debts are to be paid. Noting that the growth rate fell under two percent in the second quarter of this year, Akat predicts that this speedy decline in the growth rate will create a stagnation not seen in Turkey for a very long time.

    Criticizing the indifference of the AKP officials to what he calls the "quake in the global economy" in a column in Ortadogu (30.09.08), Ulvi Izzet details the foreign trade indices for the month of August and describes them as ominous. The global economic quake will soon engulf Britain and the EU, writes Izzet, adding: "It is possible to say that this crisis will increase Turkey's problems."

    Warning the government that the price of belittling the approaching storm through speeches full of rhetoric will be very high, Izzet concludes: "Those who claim that we have developed and advanced will one day realize that we are actually going backward."

    Former Treasury under Secretary Faik Oztrak points out that Turkey is entering the world economic crisis with a high and ever increasing current account deficit, stressing that this places Turkey among countries with the highest risk in the list of rising markets. According to a report in Radikal (30.09.08), Oztrak is reported to have said that the rate of growth and as well as foreign capital will decrease.

    A report in Hurriyet (30.09.08) in English views the affects of the global financial turmoil on Turkey and the measures the government has to take to reduce the impact. According to the report, economist Burak Saltoglu says that Turkey may not be able to avoid the affects of the turmoil, but it can still take steps to lessen the damage.

    Under the headline, "A new crisis would cause an ethnic war," Milli Gazete (30.09.08) carries a front-page report which highlights remarks by "strategist" Erhan Goksel, who owns the VERSO research company, warning that the approaching crisis will be much worse than the 2001 recession in Turkey because private sector debts have reached $176 billion today where they stood at $27 billion when the AKP first came to power. The report quotes Goksel as saying that if the global financial crisis has a "tsunami effect" on Turkey, it could trigger a Turkish-Kurdish civil war.

    In an article entitled "When the US faces so much trouble", in Milli Gazete (30.03.08) columnist Hasan Unal poses such questions as whether the United States could maintain its "geopolitical" struggle against Russia in the Caucasus in the face of the latest financial crisis that has hit this country or whether it might launch new wars in order to ride out the crisis. He claims that the global recession is certain to have an impact on developments in Turkey's region, adding that under the circumstances there is no point in Ankara insisting on implementing policies based on the perception of the United States as the world's indisputable leader.

    Relating an interview he conducted with former President Suleyman Demirel on the global financial crisis in an article in Milliyet (01.10.08), Abbas Guclu finds that Demirel is more optimistic than the economists on the issue. The former president is reported to have said: "We have a budget deficit of $70 billion. We need a liquidity of $50 billion. If this balance is somehow turned from negative to positive, we should not fear the crisis." Erdogan Bayraktar, the president of the Housing Development Administration, (TOKI), whom Gulcu also consulted on the issue, believes that the liquidity problem can be resolved by selling Istanbul real estate to foreigners. In short, Demirel and Bayraktar are cautiously optimistic that the crisis can be averted if there is a will, writes Guclu.

    In an article entitled "Black America" in Ortadogu (01.10.08), Ali Oncu holds Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, responsible for the rejection of the rescue plan by the US Congress saying that she caused the world stock markets to collapse. Noting that Turkey was saved by the Ramadan holiday and the fact that the markets were closed, Oncu says that the future is unknown and the endorsement of a revised rescue package remains to be seen. Describing Turkey as a country with one of the most fragile economies with the highest interest rates, the highest current account deficit, and the biggest debts, Oncu accuses the government of ignoring the facts and not taking the required measures.

    Assessing how the financial crisis in the United States will be affecting Turkey in an article in Radikal (01.10.08), Ismet Berkan says that Turkey will first feel the effects of this crisis in the form of a credit squeeze. Pointing out that Turkish companies and banks owe over $130 billion to foreign banks, Berkan explains that the Turkish private sector is very sensitive when it comes to foreign currency exchange rates and that every increase in this rate places our companies in a more difficult position. Warning that the country will not be able to close its foreign currency deficit through foreign funds since the flow of those funds will dwindle in the coming years, Berkan accuses the government of not generating projects to decrease Turkey's energy imports in a bid to reduce this deficit.

    In an article entitled "Islamophobia fails to rescue capitalist imperialism, too", in Vakit (01.10.08) columnist Selahaddin Cakirgil criticizes "certain Muslims" for maintaining that Islam is the only answer to the latest global recession in the wake of the collapse of the capitalist and Marxist models. Cakirgil objects to this representation of Islam, a "universal religion," as an "economic remedy," adding that those who argue that Islam can provide a solution to the latest crisis are not in a position to cite any Muslim countries that could serve as a viable economic model for the world aside from not being able to formulate any feasible economic theories that would be globally applicable.

    EG/


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