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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-11-11

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. 216/08 11.11.08 NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The so-called assembly approved the Draft Law on the acquisition and long-term leasing of property by foreigners
  • [02] Vroishia inhabitants applied to the European Court of Human Rights demanding compensations from the Republic of Cyprus
  • [03] Cyprus problem was among the issues of discussion in the 27th Book Fair of Istanbul
  • [04] Ambassador crisis
  • [05] Afrika published a paid announcement by KTOS which Kibris newspaper refused to publish
  • [06] The United Cyprus Party asks for implementation of the confidence building measures
  • [07] Turkeys Deputy Prime Minister: The EU is not Turkeys only issue
  • [08] Todays Zaman invokes sources saying Erdogan told Olli Rehn that EU should not expect much until the local elections
  • [09] Turkey counts on Nabucco project to open the energy chapter
  • [10] Turkey is exerting efforts for a meeting of Mr Erdogan at least with Joseph Biden
  • [11] Statements by Cicek on the EU progress report, relations with the US and Turkeys EU course
  • [12] Erdogan and Berlusconi to co-chair Turkish-Italian summit. Turkeys G-8 participation to be discussed
  • [13] Turkish National Defense Minister attended the Troika meeting in Brussels
  • [14] Turkeys talks with the IMF likely to be linked to Local Elections
  • [15] Former DP leader to be tried
  • [16] Over 25 million tourists to visit Turkey by the end of the year
  • [17] Figures on Turkeys industrial output
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [18] From the Turkish Press of 10 November 2008

  • [01] The so-called assembly approved the Draft Law on the acquisition and long-term leasing of property by foreigners

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.11.08) reports that the so-called assembly approved yesterday by majority the Draft Law on the acquisition and long-term leasing of property by foreigners.

    The draft-law regulates the rules to which foreigners who want to acquire or lease immovable property for a long time in the occupied areas will be subjected.

    According to the paper, the aim with this draft-law is for the law regarding the acquiring of immovable property by foreigners to be lifted and a law in harmony with the conditions of today to be enforced. The draft-law includes provisions which provide foreigners the opportunity to acquire or lease property in the occupied areas for a long time which is specified from 10 to 99 years.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (11.11.08) reports in its front page on the same issue under the title They will sell property to Greek Cypriots on the statements of Mr. Hasan Tacoy, MP of the National Unity Party who has said that with the 4th article of the law a possibility is created for the sale of properties in the occupied areas to the Greek Cypriots, Greeks and Armenians. Mr. Tacoy stated also that the draft law rescinds any restrictions and quota regarding the purchase of property in the occupied areas. He also said that in his view the law is unconstitutional.

    ()

    [02] Vroishia inhabitants applied to the European Court of Human Rights demanding compensations from the Republic of Cyprus.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.11.08) under the title Justice for the destroyed village will be sought in Europe reports that the legal battle which was started by the inhabitants of Vroishia village against the Republic of Cyprus on May 2006 accusing it for the destruction of their village and properties has taken serious dimensions.

    According to the paper, a ten-person group from the inhabitants of the village, applied on September 26, 2008 to the European Court of Human Rights in order to seek for their legal rights which derive from the European Court of Human Rights Agreement regarding the exhaustion of the internal legal means in South Cyprus.

    As the paper writes, a group of old inhabitants of the village, started a legal struggle on May 2006 against the Republic of Cyprus demanding compensations from the Republic of Cyprus for the damages occurred to their village, as the legal owners. However, as the paper reports, the ten-person group decided to apply to the ECHR after the Republic of Cyprus refused to pay to them the compensations they demanded.

    (AK)

    [03] Cyprus problem was among the issues of discussion in the 27th Book Fair of Istanbul

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.11.08) reports that the Cyprus problem was among the issues of discussion in the 27th Book Fair of Istanbul. The paper reports that the Cyprus problem was discussed within the framework of the conference which was organized in Turkey about the Greater Middle East Project.

    According to the paper, Prof. Dr. Turgut Turhan from the Faculty of Law of the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University, Kibris newspapers Editor-in-chief Mr. Basaran Duzgun and Pr. Dr. Mehmet Hasguler of the Faculty of International Relations of the University of Canakkale participated as speakers in the conference.

    Pr. Dr. Mehmet Hasguler referred in his speech to the geopolitical importance of Cyprus by stating that this connects Cyprus with the Greater Middle East Project.

    Moreover, Kibris newspapers Editor-in-chief Mr. Basaran Duzgun underlined in his speech the divide and rule policy that the United Kingdom follows and said that now the USA follows a similar policy especially in Iraq. He then said that from this point view, Cyprus has laboratory characteristics and added that those who followed the divide and rule policy in the past, are now trying to follow the same policy in Iraq. Mr. Duzgun concluded that if the Iraqi people did not show resistance, then within the framework of the Greater Middle East Project, Iraq would be divided in three parts.

    (AK)

    [04] Ambassador crisis

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (11.11.08) invoking a report of the Turkish NTV Television Channel, writes that a crisis emerged as regards the appointment of the new ambassador of the occupation regime to Ankara and the Rome and London representatives, between the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and the self-styled minister of foreign affairs Turgay Avci. According to the paper the self-styled ministry of foreign affairs proceeded with the appointments without consulting the Turkish Cypriot leader, therefore Talat refused to sign the letter of credence.

    (CS)

    [05] Afrika published a paid announcement by KTOS which Kibris newspaper refused to publish

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (11.11.08) publishes a paid announcement by the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOS) which Kibris newspaper refused to publish. Afrika protests against the censorship in the press in the occupied areas implemented against those who struggle defending our own identity and our own administration.

    According to Afrika, Kibris refused to publish the announcement in order to protect the tranquillity in the country.

    Under the title We have seen this film many times and the subtitle The UBP-TKP government played the same film in 2000, the announcement reported the following:

    -This is the government which has given away all the essential resources of the country to the capital from the Turkish Republic and to its own supporters.

    - This is the government which has emptied the Development Bank by distributing the money arbitrarily.

    - This is the government which, by saying either our package or the package of Turkey, covets the earned rights of the workers in order to be saved from the economic straits it has created.

    WE ARE HERE!

    (As regards the call made by the esteemed prime minister to the General Assembly of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce:)

    Our indispensable conditions in the name of creating a democratic state which the Turkish Cypriots will administer alone:

    - The euro will be adopted.

    - The police will be bound to the civilian authority.

    - The administrators heading our state institutions will be Cypriots.

    Issues to be discussed at the table:

    1. The Social Security Law which entered into force on 1 January 2008.

    2. The Taxation policy.

    3. The population policy and the entrance into the country.

    4. The crossings.

    5. Unconditionally everything brought up by the government.

    TURKISH CYPRIOT PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS TRADE UNION

    Kibris newspaper refused to publish this announcement.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] The United Cyprus Party asks for implementation of the confidence building measures

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (11.10.08) writes that the United Cyprus Party (BKP) asked for the confidence building measures, which aim to prepare the Turkish Cypriot community to live together with the Greek Cypriots again in the island in a solution, to be carried out.

    In a written statement the member of the administrative committee of the BKP, Abdullah Korkmazhan, stated that in the place of the statements that influence negatively the process of the negotiation, confidence building measures like the opening of the Limnitis barricade, the opening of Varosha for settlement and the withdrawal of a number of troops, must be taken. He also said that the Turkish side is responsible for the non-implementation of the confidence building measures.

    (CS)

    [07] Turkeys Deputy Prime Minister: The EU is not Turkeys only issue

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (11.11.08) reported the following:

    Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek, representing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, said yesterday the European Union is a priority for Turkey but that the country also has other issues demanding its attention.

    Speaking to the press on yesterday's Cabinet meeting, Cicek said the ministers talked about the recent progress report on Turkey that the EU released last week, Turkey's relationship with the US, the prime minister's visit to the southeastern and eastern parts of the country slightly more than a week ago and the new restructuring of domestic security units for a better and more effective fight against terrorism. During the press conference, the deputy prime minister denied criticism that the government was dragging its feet on EU reforms. He said the EU process was important and a priority issue for the government, but he said, Turkey also has other problems.

    He said the Cabinet yesterday discussed the progress report, noting that there were points to which the government would object.

    Cicek said the Third National Program, a roadmap for EU harmonization, was sent by the government to 87 relevant civil society organizations as well as all political parties. None of the political parties except the Grand Unity Party [BBP] have commented or shared their opinions, Cicek said. The ministers yesterday also talked about Foreign Minister Ali Babacan's visit last week to some EU countries. He said they expected two more chapters to open in membership talks in the near future.

    [08] Todays Zaman invokes sources saying Erdogan told Olli Rehn that EU should not expect much until the local elections

    Under the title EU about to lose hope in Erdogan Turkish daily Todays Zaman (11.11.08) reports the following:

    Despite the positive tone of the progress report on Turkey that was announced last week, the European Union is simmering with anger and discontent about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogans performance since his last election victory in July 2007.

    To many diplomats and high-level bureaucrats in Brussels, Erdogan is about to lose his once-immense respect among EU officials. Brussels has started to think that Erdogan is leaning towards old-style Ankara politics, where all the energy is focused on winning elections and smearing rival politicians, but not reforming the country. Almost all EU pundits think the report was a final chance given to Erdogans government. Turkeys European friends are concerned that an increasingly distracted Erdogan will play into the hands of politicians like French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who are pushing for a privileged partnership between Turkey and the EU instead of full membership of the bloc.

    The huge disappointment stems from the lack of action by the current government after its historic election victory on July 22, 2007. The EU, which strongly backed Erdogans government in the face of a military memorandum released in 2007 during the course of the presidential election, and a closure case this year on charges of anti-secular activities, had high hopes for a rapid return to the reform agenda after tensions at home had eased.

    But instead, EU officials think that Erdogan pushed all the wrong buttons in the wake of his enormous election victory by shelving the proposed constitutional reform and focusing on the specific issue of the headscarf ban at universities, committing a massive strategic mistake. Most EU officials emphasize that they are not against lifting the ban at universities but that the way Erdogan dealt with the issue was pure amateurism. The governments attempt to lift the ban undermined its alliance with liberals at home, who said Erdogan was being selective in his reforms, picking only issues that concerned its conservative voters.

    The attempt also failed when two constitutional changes made to allow the headscarf at universities were revoked by the Constitutional Court.

    The government's response to urgent calls by the EU to amend Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) has been another source of irritation for the EU. The changes to the infamous article, which the EU says restricts freedom of expression, came too little and too late and actually have not changed many things in practice, many EU and Turkish observers have commented.

    Erdogan has no strategy at all with what to do with the EU. The perception we have is that he has shelved all EU-related reform and, more seriously, many think that he could not care less about Turkey-EU relations, a high-level EU source told Today's Zaman. Sources also said Erdogan has told EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn that the EU should not expect much from the government until at least after the local elections.

    In recent remarks, Joost Lagendijk, the chairman of the European Parliament delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee and a fervent supporter of Turkey's accession to the EU, even expressed his worries that the Turkish government was taking the country away from membership and closer to a privileged partnership as proposed by Sarkozy and Merkel.

    My fear stems from the fact that stressing only the strategic importance of Turkey for the EU and economic cooperation between Turkey and the EU is more or less the description of privileged partnership, Lagnedijk said in an interview with the Samanyolu Haber TV station. If the Turkish government is happy to focus just on strategic ties and the economy, this would make Sarkozy and Merkel very happy because they will say 'this is exactly what we want.' What is taken out of the equation is to make Turkey a democratic country, which for me is what the accession negotiations are about, Lagendijk said.

    I'm losing patience because the Turkish government has been sidelining this issue, which is at the core of the matter, for the third year now. It makes me a little bit afraid because of what the Turkish government is doing now. They say they are aiming for membership, but if you look at what they do, they are taking Turkey towards a privileged partnership, he went on.

    The government has significantly boosted its influence in the Middle East and the Caucasus with active diplomatic engagement in recent years. But notably absent from Erdogan's foreign itinerary during the same period has been a visit to Brussels.

    Eurocrats envisage a huge crisis over Turkey in the first half of 2009 even without the deep-seated problem of Cyprus, which has marred accession negotiations between Turkey and the EU ever since they started in 2005. The EU has suspended accession talks with Turkey on eight of 35 negotiating chapters due to Turkey's refusal to open its ports and airports to traffic from Greek Cyprus. It has said it will again look at the situation in 2009 to see if Turkey has implemented a protocol that Brussels says requires Turkey to open its ports and airports. Sources say without further reform, there will be no chapters to be opened with Turkey in 2009.

    Erdogan's latest remarks on the Kurdish question have also created a great deal of unease and confusion in Brussels. Being the first Turkish prime minister since the formation of the Turkish Republic to acknowledge state wrongdoings in its Kurdish policy, Erdogan's latest remarks calling on "those who do not want to live in Turkey to leave" have created waves of shock in the diplomatic centre of Europe.

    Erdogan shocked liberals when he said citizens have the right to self-defence if their property is being attacked by violent demonstrators. He was responding to a question about a man's use of a rifle to disperse Kurdish demonstrators trying to vandalize his shop during the course of recent demonstrations. The protestors have claimed Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), faced mistreatment in prison. Tensions peaked when Erdogan toured southeastern provinces despite protests from supporters of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP). In a speech during his tour, Erdogan said Turkey is a single state and has one flag and those who do not like it should go, a remark critics said targeted Turkish Kurds.

    Sources say there could be two reasons as to why Erdogan made such a statement; the first could be electioneering ahead of municipal elections. The government is competing with the DTP for control of municipalities in southeastern Anatolia. A second reason could be that he has never had a concrete opinion on the issue and was only repeating what his advisors told him when he was speaking in Diyarbakir back in August 2005. That historic speech is widely seen as a key reason why Kurds have increasingly turned to Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AK Party), resulting in the AK Party becoming the biggest party in southeastern Anatolia as a result of last year's elections. Each of the probable reasons is worse than the other, said an EU source.

    [09] Turkey counts on Nabucco project to open the energy chapter

    Under the title EUs energy vision shadowed by Greek Cypriot hostility Turkish daily Todays Zaman (08.11.08) reports the following:

    The European Union is seeking expanded cooperation with Turkey on energy and hoping that a deal with Ankara on the planned Nabucco pipeline will be reached next year, but in Brussels energy ties between EU candidate Turkey and the 27-nation bloc are facing a stiff obstacle: objections raised by Greek Cyprus.

    The Greek Cypriots have been blocking the opening of accession talks with Turkey on the energy negotiation chapter, citing Turkish opposition to its efforts to explore for oil in the eastern Mediterranean, which Ankara says violate the sovereign rights of Turkey and Turkish Cyprus in the region. The European Commission has already completed a preparatory report for the start of energy talks with Turkey and sent it to the European Council, made up of representatives of EU member-states, for approval. That means technical preparations for the talks are finished. Although the EU hopes to open talks on this chapter in a meeting with Turkey next month, this is unlikely to happen as long as the Greek Cypriots stick to their veto.

    The opening of talks on energy is a step in the direction of institutionalizing cooperation between the EU and Turkey and creating a framework to promote energy cooperation with Turkey, which is located on important energy transit routes from the Middle East and the Caspian to Europe. European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, who met with top Turkish leaders this week in Ankara, said he hoped Europe and Turkey would reach a deal early next year on transit terms to make the planned $12 billion Nabucco gas pipeline a reality. The long-delayed project is intended to carry 30 billion cubic meters of Central Asian gas a year to Europe via Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary as part of a plan to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian gas.

    We discussed the issue of supply security for Turkey. I believe we have enough gas in the region so that everybody could be satisfied, Piebalgs said in remarks carried by Reuters. The only issue is to find a way to accommodate the interests of the EU, producer countries and Turkey.

    In remarks he made before starting his Ankara visit, Piebalgs suggested that the EU was very serious about cooperation with Turkey in the area of energy. On Wednesday, the European Commission underlined Turkey's role in energy security. Closer energy cooperation between the EU, Turkey, as well as other states in the region -- both suppliers and transit countries -- is essential, a strategy paper released together with the annual progress report on Turkey's progress in EU harmonization said. Existing and future pipeline projects are a resource for all countries through whose territory they pass, notably for Turkey. The timely completion of the Southern Gas Corridor through the swift realization of the planned projects, and notably the Nabucco gas pipeline, is among the EU's highest energy security priorities.

    EU term president France is working hard to make sure talks on energy will start at next month's intergovernmental meeting, but the Greek Cypriots are still blocking a decision to that effect, EU sources told Today's Zaman.

    Piebalgs participated in talks in Ankara with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul and Energy Minister Hilmi Guler before wrapping up his visit on Thursday. The visit was extremely productive, Guler told Today's Zaman. The EU commissioner, Guler said, has reiterated once again that the EU's support for energy projects involving Turkey will continue at an increasing rate. Asked to comment on the Greek Cypriot objections, Guler said he was confident the EU would work to help promote existing cooperation.

    In addition to talks on energy, the Greek Cypriots are also objecting to the start of talks on the negotiation chapter of education and culture. France, which had previously objected to the opening of negotiations on education and culture, later lifted its veto, leaving the Greek Cypriots and Greece as the only opponents to the start of talks. Greece and the Greek Cypriots want the EU to introduce "benchmarks," or opening criteria, for the start of talks on education and culture. Their demands include improvements in the rights of Greek foundations in Turkey.

    Piebalgs admitted that the viability of the Nabucco pipeline could be threatened by the energy deals that Russia is pursuing in the Caspian region. Hurdles to building Nabucco have included securing a deal with energy-import-dependent Turkey, which analysts say has been dragging its feet at the bargaining table to win rights to import a portion of Nabucco gas for its own use.

    Nabucco deal

    The EU commissioner said that there was no disagreement over transit fees, but that Turkey was concerned about its own energy supplies. Turkey ... doesn't want to see all the gas goes from producer countries to the European Union, he explained.

    European Commission officials had expected to reach a deal by the end of this year, but Piebalgs said Nabucco countries would now meet early next year to sign an intergovernmental agreement.

    Piebalgs, who left Turkey for Azerbaijan late on Thursday on the second leg of his trip, said he was confident Nabucco's participants would secure sufficient gas volumes to make the project viable.

    The pipeline is due to be operational by 2013, but before building can begin, its participants need commitments of at least 15 billion cubic meters of gas a year. Azerbaijan could provide at least half of that, but the Russian gas monopoly, Gazprom, has also offered to buy Azerbaijani gas at European prices. It is obvious Russia is also a very serious bidder. Russia could make a proposal that is better than ours, he told Reuters, adding: The gas is not only Azerbaijani, but in the medium term it is also Turkmen gas and Iraqi gas.

    August's war between Russia and Georgia, one of the transit countries, increased doubts about the security of investing in the turbulent region. But Piebalgs said the EU was still committed to Nabucco and another pipeline project, called ITGI. The ITGI pipeline is expected to carry 12 billion cubic meters of Caspian gas a year to Europe via Turkey, Greece and Italy. Both are key to the efforts of the 27-member bloc to reduce its reliance on Russian gas.

    [10] Turkey is exerting efforts for a meeting of Mr Erdogan at least with Joseph Biden

    Under the front page title UN ball in the 42nd Street of New York by Erdogan, Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (11.11.08) publishes a report by its correspondent in New York, Razi Canikligil, according to which the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during his visit to the United States between 13-15 November, will host in New York a dinner to celebrate Turkeys election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

    In its internal pages, the paper gives more details on the event and writes that the permanent representatives of the UN Security Council members, as well as several ambassadors of other countries will be among the guests to the dinner which will be hosted in the famous Cipriani setting in the 42nd Street of New York. Premier Erdogan will address the event.

    The report also gives details on the schedule of the Turkish Premier in the USA as follows: on November 12, Recep Tayyip Erdogan will spend the night in Washington D.C., while on November 14, he will attend a farewell dinner to the Heads of State and Governments in the US capital hosted by the outgoing US President, George W. Bush.

    On Mr. Erdogans request for a meeting with the newly elected President of the United States, Barack Obama, the paper writes that the Turkish Premier will wait for the acceptance of his request to hold a meeting with Barack Obama. Yet, no definite reply was so far sent by Mr. Obama to Ankaras request. Recep Tayyip Erdogan however, is insisting to hold a meeting with Barack Obama and therefore, this meeting is possible to be achieved, as the paper notes.

    Prime Minister Erdogan will attend the G-20 Summit on the global economic crisis on November 15 and he will return to Turkey the night of the same day.

    On the same issue, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (11.11.08) reports on the request of the Turkish Premier to hold a meeting with Barack Obama and writes that Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not succeed in arranging an appointment with the US President elect. Yet diplomats, as the paper notes, are expending their efforts for Recep Tayyip Erdogan to hold a face to face meeting at least with the US Vice-President Joseph Biden.

    (ML)

    [11] Statements by Cicek on the EU progress report, relations with the US and Turkeys EU course

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.11.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish State Minister & government spokesman Cemil Cicek said on Monday that Turkey and the United States were strategic partners, and the relations were for the interest of both parties.

    Speaking after the Council of Ministers meeting, Cicek expressed belief that the relations between Turkey and the U.S. would be pursued in a more advanced way (after the election of the new U.S. president).

    Cicek said that Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan visited several EU-member states last week, and also EU's Progress Report about Turkey was issued.

    Cicek said that they evaluated the Progress Report during the meeting, adding that two more chapter headings could be opened for Turkey during France's EU presidency.

    Cicek said that Turkey's political determination about EU membership did not weaken, but EU was not the only agenda of Turkey.

    [12] Erdogan and Berlusconi to co-chair Turkish-Italian Summit. Turkeys G-8 participation to be discussed

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.11.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    The ways of Turkey's participation in activities of G-8 comprising world's leading industrialised nations would be discussed in the Turkish-Italian Intergovernmental Summit which would take place in the western province of Izmir on Wednesday, the Italian ambassador said.

    In an exclusive interview with the A.A correspondent on Monday, Italian Ambassador in Ankara Carlo Marsili said the Turkish-Italian Intergovernmental Summit, which would be held for the first time, showed that Turkey had a significant place in Italy's foreign policy.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi would co-chair the summit and several Italian and Turkish ministers would participate in the summit, Marsili said.

    An agreement on the establishment of a Turkish-Italian university in Istanbul would be signed in the summit, he said.

    Marsili said Italy's assistance to Turkey's EU accession process would be confirmed and the ways of boosting Turkish-Italian cooperation would be taken up in the summit.

    The Turkish-Italian summit would take place ahead of the G-20 Summit to be held in Washington, D.C. on November 15 and prime ministers of Turkey and Italy would attend in G-20 Summit, he said.

    Marsili said Italy would begin holding the presidency of G-8 as of January 1, 2009 and participation of Turkey and some G-20 countries in the G8 activities would be discussed during the summit.

    Italy was eager to exert efforts in regard to Turkey's EU accession process and an EU without Turkey would have some deficiencies, he said.

    Two important elections took place in Turkey and that's why a slowdown occurred in the reforms, Marsili said.

    Replying to a question on the trial of the suspect in the murder of Italian artist Pippa Bacca, who was killed in the north-western province of Kocaeli while she was travelling from Italy to Israel, Marsili said this incident could have damaged bilateral relations, but on the contrary it strengthened relations. Both countries succeeded in turning this negative incident into friendship and cooperation, he added.

    [13] Turkish National Defence Minister attended the Troika meeting in Brussels

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.11.08) reported the following from Brussels:

    Turkish National Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul attended the EU Defence Ministers Troika's meeting with non-EU member European NATO allies and EU candidate countries in Belgium on Monday.

    Gonul stressed Turkey's determination in the fight against terrorism, and also explained Turkey's efforts within that scope.

    Gonul also said that Turkey wanted to participate in the European Security and Defence Policy more actively.

    [14] Turkeys talks with the IMF likely to be linked to Local Elections

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (10.11.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    The International Monetary Fund, or IMF, may agree to buttress Turkey's economy against crisis at the G-20 summit next week, Deputy Prime Minister Nazim Ekren said yesterday.

    Turkey and the IMF have been holding technical talks on a follow-up agreement since a $10-billion loan accord expired in May. The global credit crunch is reducing the foreign investment Turkey needs to grow, increasing pressure for a new arrangement with the fund.

    It is possible to expect some concrete developments in terms of our IMF relationship at the summit in Washington, Ekren said yesterday during a visit to the southeastern city of Mardin. Right now, it's not easy to say if we're in agreement with the fund or not. Talks are still taking place.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be among heads of state at the summit November 14 and November 15 to discuss the global credit crisis. While Turkey doesn't need IMF lending, it would welcome the market confidence an accord would bring, so long as the program matches the government's priorities, Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek said October 30.

    Turkey and the IMF are divided over the country's move to directly allocate central budget funds to local municipalities, Ekren said. Local elections are due by March 2009 and the ruling Justice and Development Party wants to win control of major cities in the predominantly Kurdish southeast and on the Aegean coast in the west of Turkey.

    If an agreement is reached it will be the third IMF support package the ruling Justice and Development Party has managed.

    With reference to the IMF, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (11.11.08) publishes statements made by the Chairwoman of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD), Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag to the Turkish media NTV/CNBC-e on the Turkish financial recourses for the year 2009.

    Mrs. Yalcindag said that Turkey would need financial resources in 2009 in order to pay back loans. "Turkey should make a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and receive new loans. Such an agreement will not hurt Turkey's honour," Mrs. Yalcindag said. Noting that Turkey lost time in its EU course, Mrs. Yalcindag said that the global crisis could become an advantage for Turkey in its course for EU membership.

    [15] Former DP leader to be tried

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (11.11.08) reports the following:

    Former police chief and politician Mehmet Agar, who is accused of establishing a criminal organization while he was police chief, will stand trial today in the Susurluk case -- so named after the site of a car crash that uncovered deep links between the Turkish state, the criminal underworld and Turkish security forces.

    Agar, a former Democrat Party (DP) leader, will be tried at the Ankara 3rd High Criminal Court. The First Chamber of the Council of State previously ordered that Agar be tried in connection with charges of founding a criminal organization, helping Abdullah Catli, [who was] sought on a warrant issued in absentia, to hide, and providing a firearms license to Catli and to Yasar Oz, another Susurluk figure who is jailed for his suspected involvement in Ergenekon.

    Upon Agars appeal, the ruling was reviewed by the Council of States administrative board, which rejected Agars appeal and sent the dossier to the Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutors Office because Agar had governor status; he was governor of Erzurum in 1992. But the Supreme Court of Appeals 8th Chamber noted that Agar was police chief at the time of the alleged crimes and sent the dossier to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutors Office.

    Agar is accused of helping Catli hide and of giving him a firearms license. With the licenses provided by police chiefs office, those sought by the state and involved in illegal acts are able to carry arms and go abroad easily.

    Agar is also suspected in the murder of Kurdish businessman Omer Lutfi Topal in 1996. Catlis fingerprints were found on the gun that killed Topal; Catli was taken into custody along with Sami Hostan and Ali Fevzi Bir. Under Agars orders, they were allegedly freed after a superficial investigation by the Ankara Police Department.

    In 1996, Catli, Sedat Bucak and a police chief were together in a Mercedes in the Susurluk area, a fact exposed by a fatal car accident. Catli and the police chief died, and Bucak said he lost his memory after the accident. The shady relations between the crime world, the state and politicians were revealed for the first time. The incident was covered up during the investigation into Susurluk.

    [16] Over 25 million tourists to visit Turkey by the end of the year

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.11.08) reported the following from London:

    Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay said he expected that more than 25 million tourists would have visited Turkey by the end of 2008.

    Despite all the setbacks that Turkish tourism sector saw in 2008, we will pass the critical threshold to reach over 25 million foreign visitors by the end of this year, Gunay told a press conference in London where he participated at the World Tourism Fair.

    Gunay said Istanbul, Turkey's main commercial hub, had hosted over 6 million tourists to date and over 8 million others had visited the southern resort city of Antalya.

    The Turkish minister also said 1.9 million British tourists had come to Turkey so far and the number was expected to reach as high as 2.3 million later in the year.

    [17] Figures on Turkeys industrial output

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.11.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey's industrial output dropped by 5.5 percent in September 2008 over the same month of 2007, the Turkish Board of Statistics (TUIK) announced on Monday.

    TUIK said that production fell by 6.4 percent in manufacturing industry and by 4.3 percent in mining industry while it increased by 1.6 percent in power, gas and water sector.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [18] From the Turkish Press of 10 November 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 10 November:

    a) AKP/Kurdish question:

    In an article, Hurriyet's Fatih Cekirge argues that by replacing Mehmet Dengir Firat by Abdulkadir Aksu, the AKP government is telling the Kurdish population in Turkey that it has stopped trying to solve the Kurdish problem that it will resume its harsh policy, a futile policy that has been pursued by the Turkish state for the past 70 years.

    In a commentary in the Hurriyet Daily News.com, Yusuf Kanli stresses the increasing "Erdogan bashing" observed in the Islamist media, quoting Fehmi Koru who recently said that Erdogan came to power like Obama but has since turned into Bush. Kanli argues that the change may have occurred after the AKP established closer ties with the army.

    In an article entitled "Resignation", Today's Zaman columnist Yavuz Baydar asserts that Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat's resignation as AKP Deputy Chairman "should not be taken lightly" because "it marks yet another significant turning point in the political course taken by the party, with local elections in sight."

    Under the headline, Is the AK Party turning its back on its Kurdish supporters? Today's Zaman runs a front-page report which asserts that recent harsh statements from PM Erdogan and his appointment of a hawkish politician as his party's deputy chairman raise concern among pundits that the AK Party might be leaving liberalism behind in its Kurdish policy.

    b) Anniversary of Ataturk's Death/His Legacy:

    In a commentary in Milliyet, Taha Akyol criticizes those who continue to portray Ataturk as a mystical and metaphysical being. Akyol argues that Ataturk was misrepresented all these years and his policies and ideas have been misunderstood. It is a widespread phenomenon in Turkey, the columnist notes, for people to consider themselves as children who cannot understand this lofty being. That is wrong and unhealthy, Akyol stresses, adding: The urge to turn him into a mystical and sublime being throws a curtain of fog on Ataturk's political and diplomatic genius and prevents us from drawing lessons from that. The way to read Ataturk well is to study him from the angle of political history.

    Penning a commentary in Sabah, Erdal Safak recalls how Ataturk's death coincided with "Kristallnacht" in Europe. From there, Safak goes on to highlight Ataturk's antifascist aspect, and the role he played in saving the lives of hundreds of Jews who had fled the Thrace to take refuge in Istanbul, his move to form an alliance with Greece, Yugoslavia and Romania against Nazi Germany, a move that led to the Balkan Pact. Furthermore, Safak writes, Ataturk invited to Turkey the Jewish academicians who were fleeing Germany, a step that bestowed great respectability to Istanbul University. The columnist also notes that when a European journalist had told him how Mussolini admired him, Ataturk had retorted angrily: How dare you place me in the same category with that hyena?

    The EU is of vital importance for Turkey's advancement, Semih Idiz argues in an article in Milliyet, because history has shown that Turkey's internal dynamics are insufficient to enable it to carry out reforms. The only time these internal dynamics were enough to push Turkey to undertake change was under Ataturk, Idiz maintains. The unfortunate outcome of this phenomenon is that certain forces in Turkey are using Ataturk to push for anti-West sentiment and policies, the columnist says. According to Idiz, the only way Turkey can advance is through the EU accession process, because that is the only existing external dynamic that can push Turkey.

    c) Alevi Rally:

    Writing in Radikal, Tarhan Erdem expresses his support for the Alevi rally held in Ankara on 9 November. Some 50,000 people attended the rally and that should be considered a great success, Erdem says in his article. The Alevis make up roughly about 10 percent of the population, the columnist states, and their demands carry weight obviously not because of their numbers but because of the legitimacy of their demands. Unfortunately, he notes, the Alevis have set up so many organizations that this decreases their power; they should try to bring together their many dispersed organizations and set up an executive body that will promote their demands in the eyes of the public, Erdem advises.

    d) Global crisis/Economy:

    Hurriyet's Erdal Saglam reports that President Gul seems to be disagreeing with the government on the way to handle the global economic crisis and wants more rigorous measures taken. In an article, Saglam views a recent meeting the president had with the Turkish Bankers Union, and quotes Gul as saying: "Under the current conditions, the government must refrain from acting with the local elections in mind." The president reportedly called for an agreement to be signed with the IMF, noting that the government should not act with short-term considerations. The bankers, on the other hand, asked the president to attend their meeting with the prime minister, but Gul declined. Saglam concludes by saying: "What the bankers maintain is probably true -- people who reach the presidency can view developments more rationally and from a wider angle compared to those in the government."

    Gungor Uras predicts that the rate of the dollar will settle at 1.5 Lira and that the growth rate will be around 2-3 percent both in 2008 and in 2009. In a 1,400-word commentary in Milliyet, Uras argues that even if it takes it some time, the government will realize the need to sign an accord with the IMF and the inflow of foreign currency will resume. It will be difficult to keep the inflation rate below 15 percent, the columnist maintains, but the prices of food, gas, electricity and public transportation will reach 25 percent, which will be very difficult for the lower and medium-income groups. Nevertheless, Uras states, civil servants will not lose their jobs because whenever it needs money to pay salaries, the government raises natural gas and electricity prices as well as the taxes. The banks in Turkey are safe, the columnist assures us, and they will cope by raising interest rates. Last but not least, Uras predicts that housing prices as well as industrial production will go down.

    EG/


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