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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-11-27

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. 228/08 27.11.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Hasan Ercakica: Searching for oil is a provocation
  • [02] Avci said that the Turkish Cypriot side will on the one hand continue to support the negotiating process and on the other to work for the opening of the TRNC to the world
  • [03] Turkish Cypriot paper quotes foreign diplomats as saying that the Greek Cypriot side is following delaying tactics on the Cyprus problem
  • [04] The breakaway regime is being promoted with the Travel Turkey Izmir 2008 fair
  • [05] Durduran said the threat posed by Turkish war ships to those who attempted to carry out a search for oil in the open sea of Cyprus is a play with crisis in order for the Cyprus problem to remain unsolved
  • [06] Izcan noted that the reason for the negotiating process not being fruitful and the lack of substantial progress is the divisive views of the Turkish side
  • [07] Erel called on the Turkish Cypriot leader to clearly explain the points of the declaration between Russia and Cyprus he is opposed to
  • [08] Pertev argues that President Christofias has turned the negotiating process into totally meaningless by signing an agreement with Russia
  • [09] Soyer is holding contacts in Berlin
  • [10] Turkish Cypriot economist says the occupied areas are in need of a credit of around $350 million to overcome the economic crisis in 2009; YAGA to hold a meeting in London
  • [11] Cakici criticizes the government for seeing the casinos and the night clubs as a source of income
  • [12] Increase is observed in the trade volume within the framework of the Green Line Regulation
  • [13] The Dome Hotel will reportedly be given to BEVAK company established by Ozan Ceyhun
  • [14] Self-styled UBP MPs hinted that the education of Turkish Cypriot students in the free areas of the Island should be forbidden
  • [15] Adal said that if they receive positive reply to three issues, they might become members of the Cyprus Football Association
  • [16] Former French Prime Minister praises Sarkozy for his stance towards Turkey
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [17] The next local elections in Turkey mark changes in parties traditional positions
  • [18] From the Turkish Press of 26 November 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Hasan Ercakica: Searching for oil is a provocation

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (27.11.08) reports that Mr Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, alleged yesterday that the Greek Cypriot leadership is acting contrary to the good will which is necessary during this critical process. In statements during his weekly press conference, Mr Ercakica claimed that the intensification of the Greek Cypriot sides work of searching for oil and natural gas in Eastern Mediterranean will have negative effects.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (27.11.08) refers to Mr Ercakicas statements under the banner front-page title Searching for oil is a provocation and reports that Mr Ercakica described as a provocative action the search for oil and natural gas in a period when the full-fledged negotiations continue. He argued that the most correct thing to do would be waiting until after the solution for benefiting from the natural resources of the Island. He alleged: With the efforts of unilaterally establishing domination over the natural wealth of Cyprus, the Greek Cypriot leadership is continuing to create doubts in the Turkish Cypriot side on the issue of its real intentions.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Avci said that the Turkish Cypriot side will on the one hand continue to support the negotiating process and on the other to work for the opening of the TRNC to the world

    Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (27.11.08) reports that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs of the breakaway regime, Turgay Avci has stated that the Turkish Cypriot side will on the one hand continue to support the negotiating process and on the other to work for the opening of the TRNC to the world. He alleged that the opening of placards regarding occupied Famafusta and Varosha last night during the football match between the Cypriot team of Anorthisis Famagusta and the German Werder Bremen for the Champions League is a step to sabotage the negotiating process.

    Under the title It is a disgrace of the Greeks to mix sports with politics, the paper notes that Mr Avci made these statements before the meeting of the council of ministers yesterday. Mr Avci alleged also that the fact that President Christofias will reply in writing to the statement made by the Turkish Cypriot leader during their recent meeting does not reflect good will. He said that while the negotiations for reaching a solution are being carried out, the Turkish Cypriots should continue their way especially on the economic issues. We should be strengthened economically, he said and noted that their visit to Qatar gave very positive results. Avci said that the representation offices opened abroad are nails and bricks for the TRNC.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Turkish Cypriot paper quotes foreign diplomats as saying that the Greek Cypriot side is following delaying tactics on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (27.11.08) reports that foreign diplomats and the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat complain about the slow pace of the negotiating process. It is said that in case the process is not speeded up, the negotiations may take years. The paper alleges that by carrying out the negotiations at a slow pace, the Greek Cypriots are hoping to secure an advantage in 2009 in the EU process and to be able to corner further the Turkish side.

    The paper reminds that in case solution is not found until June 2009 when the elections for the European Parliament will be held, the Turkish Cypriots will not take their two seats, which will be filled up by Greek Cypriots until the year 2014.

    Quoting European diplomats, the paper notes that neither the Greek nor the Turkish side wants to abandon the negotiating table. The diplomats said that one of the reasons for the Greek Cypriots following delaying tactics is the additional protocol, which will be examined in autumn 2009, when the eight chapters which are postponed because of the fact that Turkey does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus and does not open its ports to it, will be evaluated.

    The paper reports that the Greek Cypriot side might demand the postponement of more chapters. The paper argues that the Greek Cypriots are planning to strengthen their tramp-cards against Turkey with the strengthening of the Christian Democrats during the September 2009 elections in Germany.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] The breakaway regime is being promoted with the Travel Turkey Izmir 2008 fair

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (27.11.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat and the self-styled minister of economy and tourism, Erdogan Sanlidag are departing for Izmir today in order to open the Travel Turkey Izmir 2008 fair, together with the Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay. The paper notes that the breakaway regime will participate in the fair as partner country. Businessmen in the field of tourism from Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Georgia, India, Britain, Iran, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia and Greece will participate in the fair.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Durduran said the threat posed by Turkish war ships to those who attempted to carry out a search for oil in the open sea of Cyprus is a play with crisis in order for the Cyprus problem to remain unsolved

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (27.11.08) reports that the foreign relations secretary of the New Cyprus Party (YKP), Alpay Durduran evaluated yesterday the threat posed by Turkish war ships to those who attempted to carry out a search for oil in the open sea of Cyprus. Mr Durduran said that someone is playing with crisis in order for the Cyprus problem to remain unsolved.

    He noted, inter alia, the following:

    We are following through the press that Turkey has taken under pressure our Island. However, we heard no opinion to be expressed by the administrators. According to the news, our Island has no continental shelf. They should ask our people whether or not they accept that our Island has no continental shelf. Is this what we are providing for Cyprus? Who and when has decided this? Is this what the Cypriots deserve in the view of our administration which aims for a solution in the summer of the next year? When Mr Talat was proposing the sharing with the Greek Cypriots, was he thinking of taking the entire [Island] and give it as a present to Turkey? How shall we believe that it is possible to secure a better future even after the solution with this mentality? They are proving that they do not have the mind structure that is needed to administrate Cyprus with equal political authorities, which they somehow were not able to divide legally. They have found a new opportunity to keep the Cyprus problem in a deadlock. Surely they are satisfied. .

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Izcan noted that the reason for the negotiating process not being fruitful and the lack of substantial progress is the divisive views of the Turkish side

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (27.11.08) reports that Izzet Izcan, general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), has stated that the reason for the negotiating process not being fruitful and the lack of substantial progress is the divisive views of the Turkish side. In a written statement issued yesterday, Mr Izcan noted that the proposals submitted to the table by the Turkish Cypriot side aim at a confederation which will be formed by two separate states.

    Mr Izcan said that the separatist views of Talat at the negotiation and his demands aiming at confederation do not reflect the will of the Turkish Cypriots who have approved the bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. Invoking as pretext for tensing the climate the agreement made between the Greek Cypriot side and Russia is not right, he noted and reminded that the Republic of Cyprus has signed similar agreements with Britain, China and France.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Erel called on the Turkish Cypriot leader to clearly explain the points of the declaration between Russia and Cyprus he is opposed to

    Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (27.11.08) reports that Ali Erel, chairman of the Cyprus EU Association, has called on the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to tell the realities to the Turkish Cypriot community on the issue of the memorandum signed between the Republic of Cyprus and Russia.

    In a statement issued yesterday, Mr Erel argued that the Turkish policy is fishing in muddy waters and asked from Mr Talat to clearly explain the points of the declaration between Russia and Cyprus he is opposed to.

    He added: Those who know the EU, know very well that an EU member state cannot sign on its own documents which bind the EU, and the Republic of Cyprus has signed declarations with similar content not only with Russia but also with Britain, China and France, that is, with four of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Pertev argues that President Christofias has turned the negotiating process into totally meaningless by signing an agreement with Russia

    Under the title Christofias doesnt give a damn about Talat, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (27.11.08) reports that Rasit Pertev, chairman of the Peoples Party (HP), has argued that President Christofias has rendered the negotiating process totally meaningless by signing an agreement with Russia on the Cyprus problem, after the agreement signed with Britain.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Soyer is holding contacts in Berlin

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (27.11.08) reports that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer met yesterday in Berlin with the former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. According to a statement issued by Mr Soyers office, the Turkish Cypriot politician also gave an interview to Der Spiegel magazine. The federal MP of the German Social Democrat Party (SPD) and chairman of the Group for Coordinating Policies for Turkey (KOGRU), Gerd Andres gave a dinner last night in honor of Mr Soyer.

    Today Mr Soyer is expected to meet with the general secretary of the SPD, Hebertus Heil and the co-chairpersons of the Greens Party, Claudia Roth and Cem Ozdemir as well as with MPs members of KOGRU. On Friday he will meet with members of the organization Cyprus Youth Platform, established by Turkish Cypriot students in Germany. Tomorrow night he will attend a dinner given in his honor by the ambassador of Turkey to Berlin, Ahmet Acet.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Turkish Cypriot economist says the occupied areas are in need of a credit of around $350 million to overcome the economic crisis in 2009; YAGA to hold a meeting in London

    Under the title 350 million dollars is a condition, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (27.11.08) reports that Cengiz Alp, member of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Trade and chairman of the Economic Committee, has said that many countries have allocated more than 10 % of their GDP for overcoming the world economic crisis and added that in the occupied areas there is need for a credit of around $ 350 million. In statements to Kibris, he noted that it is estimated that bankruptcies will occur in 2009 in case the necessary amount of credit is not secured.

    Moreover, Kibris reports also that the Cyprus Investment Development Agency (YAGA) will hold a meeting under the title Meeting to Promote Investments in London, within the framework of its activities to promote the investments in the occupied areas. The meeting will take place in the London Stock Exchange on 4 December.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] Cakici criticizes the government for seeing the casinos and the night clubs as a source of income

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (27.11.08) reports that Mehmet Cakici, chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), has criticized the draft-law which provides for the lifting of the prohibition to the citizens of the TRNC to gamble in the casinos in the occupied areas. Mr Cakici noted that the government sees the casinos and the night clubs as a source of income and described the above-mentioned draft-law as legalization of the gambling.

    (I/Ts.)

    [12] Increase is observed in the trade volume within the framework of the Green Line Regulation

    Turkish Cypriot daily Bakis newspaper (27.11.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot chamber of Trade announced yesterday that the sales from the occupied to the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus within the framework of the Green Line Regulation have increased. According to the statement, the trade in October 2008 exceeded 1 million.

    Potatoes top the list of the products with the higher sales and are followed by fruits and vegetables, plastics and stone products, furniture, scrap metals and fresh fish. While the trade volume last year within the framework of the Green Line Regulation was around 4 million, this number reached 6 million until October this year.

    (I/Ts.)

    [13] The Dome Hotel will reportedly be given to BEVAK company established by Ozan Ceyhun

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (27.11.08) reports that after instructions by the self-styled prime minister Soyer, the general director of the Evkaf religious foundation, Hatice Cavlan has met in Germany with Ozan Ceyhun, a former German Member of the European Parliament of Turkish origin. During the meeting, an agreement was reached for giving the Dome Hotel to a company under the name of BEVAK established by Mr Ceyhun.

    (I/Ts.)

    [14] Self-styled UBP MPs hinted that the education of Turkish Cypriot students in the free areas of the Island should be forbidden

    Under the title Hint that surprised in the Assembly by UBP deputies: The education in the south should be forbidden, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (27.11.08) reports that during the discussion of the budget of the ministry of education yesterday at the self-styled assembly, the general secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP), Nazim Beratli and the occupied Morfou MP Kemal Durust said that they feel uncomfortable for the fact that Turkish Cypriot students study in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus and argued that this is illegal according to their laws.

    Mr Durust said that their laws will be implemented and that they will put this condition to the students within the framework of the compulsory education until the 15th year of age. The MP of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Ahmet Barcin replied that education has no race, religion, language, north or south.

    (I/Ts.)

    [15] Adal said that if they receive positive reply to three issues, they might become members of the Cyprus Football Association

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (27.11.08) reports that Omer Adal, chairman of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot Football Federation made remarkable statements before his forthcoming meeting with FIFA officials on 4 December and said that they will put forward three issues. Under the title If they say yes to three issues, we shall become members of KOP (Cyprus Football Association CFA), the paper notes that Mr Adal noted that in case these three issues are accepted they will bring to the agenda their temporary membership to the CFA.

    Mr Adal added that they discussed these three issues with FIFA and they were told that they are right. He said he is hopeful for the meeting. Mr Adal stated also that they have sent a letter to FIFA and to the President of UEFA, Michele Platini regarding the placard opened last night during the football match between the Cypriot team of Anorthisis Famagusta and the German Werder Bremen for the Champions League.

    (I/Ts.)

    [16] Former French Prime Minister praises Sarkozy for his stance towards Turkey

    Turkish daily Bugun newspaper (27.11.08) under its front-page title, Sarkozy has discovered Turkey recently, reports on statements of the former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard who is one of the members of the European Parliament Foreign Relations Committee delegation which is visiting Turkey. Mr Rocard praised the French President Nicolas Sarkozys full neutrality towards Turkey during his EU term Presidency.

    According to Mr Rocard, Mr Sarkozys vision for Turkey has changed a little. In the warm environment of the G-20 financial meeting, which took place in Washington, he [Mr Sarkozy] realised the value of Ankara. Finally, he discovered Turkey, he said. Mr Rocard stated that the fact that France has the same political line with Turkey as regards the Caucasus issues, influenced Mr Sarkozy.

    As the paper reports, as seen from his statements and actions, Mr Rocard is one of the main supporters of Turkeys EU membership, in France.

    (EA)


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [17] The next local elections in Turkey mark changes in parties traditional positions

    Under the title Major parties look to pluck up grass roots of archrivals, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (27.11.08) publishes the following article on the forthcoming local elections in Turkey to be held in March:

    A rather curious shift has taken place in Turkish politics ahead of next year's local elections in March, in which political parties appear to be changing their traditional positions in an effort to lure others' traditional grassroots voters.

    The transformation in discourse is also reflected in transfers of members between Turkey's major parties, shaking traditional balances established in the country's political scene.

    As only a few months are left before the elections, political parties have sped up preparations to gain greater support from the public. Among the groups of voters for whom new initiatives are being prepared are conservatives and Alevis, both of whom have the potential to influence the outcome of the elections. Several political parties have devised plans to win over these groups.

    Even core issues, about which political parties have had unchanging and well-known stances, are being discussed in an entirely new light by politicians from whom observers would least expect such things. The Republican People's Party (CHP), known for its unyielding stance on secularism, is recruiting women in chadors. The conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has long appealed to moderate and religious conservatives alike, is taking steps that would appeal to the country's Alevi community, whose members have overwhelmingly voted for the CHP since the establishment of the republic. Some of the new moves and unexpected initiatives by the AKP and the CHP to lure voters ahead of the local elections seem to go against the conventional norms of Turkish politics.

    It all started with CHP leader Baykal's unexpected U-turn last week from his longstanding hostility toward the Islamic headscarf when he honored women in black chadors with CHP badges. The sudden change in Baykal's attitude toward conservatives in the society was the first hint of an unusual shift in the norms of Turkish politics.

    Though criticized even by some of his own party's supporters and members, Baykal has so far stood behind the new opening up of the CHP to embrace segments of society that it has traditionally chosen to exclude.

    At his party's parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, he asserted that the chador was no longer a political symbol and that wearing it should not be seen as a form of opposition to the state. Seventy percent of the women in Turkey cover their heads. Along with this is a small number wear the chador. What's the CHP's case? As the CHP, are we at odds with covering? Is the thing that covers a woman's head our opponent? Our enemy?, he asked.

    With his new approach to covered women, Baykal received support from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said: If this is a truly genuine initiative, then I do congratulate those behind this change. This is also an awakening. They are starting to understand Turkey, with all its realities. This is a good development.

    The CHP is not stopping at the chador move, according to sources, which say the CHP has plans to appeal to religious communities that are not happy with AKP rule. Statements from CHP Chief Accountant Mustafa Ozyurek and Secretary-General Cevdet Selvi emphasize that the CHP is ready to embrace all 72 million in Turkey.

    Discourse supported with transfers

    Following his chador move, CHP leader Baykal, in a unexpected move, recruited Ercan Karakas, a former Minister of Culture, who currently heads the Social Democracy Foundation (SODEV), and Arif Sag, a folk singer to the CHP. Baykal has been criticized during the many years he has been at helm of the CHP for gradually eliminating the party's traditional left-wingers and socialists, a group which included many of his supporters, and establishing an almost totalitarian grasp over party leadership. Sources say the CHP is currently trying to convince the deputies and mayors of the Democratic Left Party (DSP) to join the CHP. The party hopes to convince at least 20 DSP mayors to run as CHP candidates in the local elections in March of next year.

    The CHP also has plans to win the mayor's office in the capital. To achieve this goal, he has recently made an agreement with former Social Democratic People's Party (SHP) leader Murat Karayalcin, who will run as a CHP candidate in the local elections. With this, the CHP is expecting to increase its share of the vote to 30 percent in local elections. The party will seek similar transfers and candidates in the cities of Izmir, Gaziantep, Kocaeli, Mersin and Antalya, sources close to the party administration say.

    Earlier this week, members from the traditionally right-wing Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) and Democrat Party (DP) joined the CHP. During the CHP's parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, several ANAVATAN mayors announced their resignations from their parties in favor of the CHP. Among them were Tasdelen Mayor Huseyin Sipahi, Guzelburc Mayor Behcet Sahutoglu, Marmara Ereglisi Mayor Ibrahim Uyan and Akcali Mayor Ali Sabahoglu. The ruling AKP's Temelli Mayor, Alattin Turkoglu, and the DSP's Esme Mayor, Ahmet Yildirim, also joined the CHP.

    However, the CHP has not been alone in its ventures into unfamiliar territory. Baykal's recent move to welcome covered women into his party was followed by the AKP's new initiative regarding Turkey's Alevi community, a religious community with an estimated 6 to 12 million adherents in Turkey. Following a Cabinet meeting last week, the ruling AKP announced that concrete steps would be taken to meet the demands of the country's Alevi citizens. As part of the new initiative, Alevi dedes (religious leaders) will be granted a monthly salary. The amount of their salary will be decided following discussions between Alevi associations and government officials. In addition, the electricity and water bills of cemevis (Alevi places of worship) will be paid for by the state. The AKP is also planning to make state-run religious courses, which tend to focus on Sunni Islam, non-compulsory. Starting from 2009, the Ministry of Education will make the necessary changes to the courses' curriculum. Alevis claim that forcing children to attend the compulsory religion courses violates individual rights and freedoms and say they should be abolished.

    The AKP aims to erase ANAVATAN and the DP -- whose traditional voters make up a significant part of the AKP's votes -- from the Turkish political scene entirely. Sources close to the AKP say the ruling party is trying to fend off a potential marriage between these two parties. The ruling party has managed to convince several DP mayors, including Elazig Mayor Suleyman Selmanoglu, Ibradi Mayor Muharrem Kaya, Karacabey Mayor Ergun Koc and Gurgentepe Mayor Selim Olmez, to join its ranks and hopes to recruit many others from these two parties.

    New figures from the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have joined the AKP, as well. These include Kirklareli Mayor Cengiz Bagdan and Eynesil Mayor Cokun Somuncuoglu. With these new transfers, AKP leader Prime Minister Erdogan is hoping for an overwhelming victory in the approaching local elections.

    [18] From the Turkish Press of 26 November 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 26 November:

    a) Economy:

    According to a report in Milliyet, Nationalist Action Party (MHP) leader, Devlet Bahceli, has described Prime Minister Erdogan as a "politically short sighted" individual because, according to Bahceli, Erdogan is unable to see the economic crisis. Referring to the remarks made by Erdogan aboard a plane on his way to India that if every member of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), employs a single person 1.3 million jobs would be created, Bahceli has responded: "The reason for this precious idea must be the physical atmosphere caused by the sudden change in the cabin pressure." The Republican People's Party (CHP) leader, Deniz Baykal, has advised the prime minister to come down to earth having freed himself from this inspiring idea he had while up in the air.

    Focusing on the data announced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in an article in Sabah, Erdal Safak says that economic predictions regarding Turkey are gradually becoming more pessimistic. Referring to Gordon Brown's rescue package for Britain, Safak says that the issue is being discussed in Ankara with possible applications in Turkey. He adds that, however, both Prime Minister Erdogan and Finance Minister Unakitan are opposed to taking similar measures in Turkey such as the reduction of the VAT. Agreeing with government officials that a reduction in VAT will not stimulate the markets that have not been stimulated even with mid-season sales reaching 50 percent, Safak maintains that the real problem is the lack of certainty and adds: "Therefore, significant steps need to be taken way before budgetary and tax measures. Primarily, the 'fear of the future' should be reduced. This is possible through strengthening the sense of confidence. Only by guaranteeing their income can a sense of confidence be restored in the people. This can be achieved by measures aimed at keeping the employment level the same if not increasing it. "

    The banking, industrial, business, and agricultural sectors are all expecting funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), writes Taraf columnist Suleyman Yasar in his column, adding that, however, Prime Minister Erdogan, addressing the Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary faction on 25 November, gave the signal that the funds to be obtained from the IMF and other funds to be secured from different sources will not go into the pockets of certain businessmen. According to Erdogan, priority will be given to low income groups and medium and small-size industries in the economic package, notes Yasar, adding that the package will be similar to the economic measures that will be taken by the Obama Administration. Questioning what the IMF will be requesting from Turkey in exchange for the precautionary stand-by agreement it is expected to sign, Yasar explains that direct funds will not be extended to Turkey as is the customary practice in a normal stand-by agreement, adding that if Turkey experiences difficulties in its balance of payments in the period ahead it will be able to use the money the IMF has allocated to it. Be it a precautionary or a normal stand-by agreement, the IMF will be requesting a financial program that is focused on a low rate of inflation and a sustainable balance of payments, argues Yasar, predicting that since the financial program envisaged by the IMF will not target a high growth rate, unemployment might rise. "The writer concludes: "Therefore, it is necessary for the government to reach an agreement on an IMF program that especially targets the growth rate. Otherwise, the IMF program might turn into another nightmare for the country."

    Declaring that export figures for November 2008 are 22.4 percent lower than the figures for November 2007 in an article in Referans, Sevket Surek believes that there is cause for concern. Asserting that Turkey's European markets are also in a recession, Surek not only notes a decrease in demand but pressure by the markets to reduce prices. Industrialist will have to pay a high price for exporting to the same markets, namely the EU, for years, predicts Surek, adding that new markets cannot be created overnight. Taking into consideration the ten-day holiday in December export figures are bound to fall further, forecasts Surek, adding that no one is arguing that 2009 will be worse than 2008. Maintaining that the government does not have the capacity to fight the economic crisis, the writer accuses the prime minister of passing his time by riling at the real sector one day and the banking sector the next. While the world is busy unveiling rescue packages to deal with the global crisis, the Turkish government is busy distributing coal, bean, and chickpea packages to citizens in a bid to win the elections not having realized that the only way to emerge from this global crisis with the least amount of damage is to increase exports, stresses Surek.

    In an article entitled "Do Not Trust the Dollar", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that economic stability in Turkey is unlikely to be achieved until October 2009 and that the financial markets will be "on tenterhooks" until June next year, when Turkey will make foreign debt payments. He claims that certain quarters might want to take advantage of the economic crisis to force the Erdogan government into a corner, adding that the Financial Crimes Investigation Board should be on the watch for manipulations starting from May 2009.

    Under the headline, "Forget About IMF, Look Into Increasing Production," Milli Gazete runs a front-page report which highlights a statement by Felicity Party (SP) leader, Numan Kurtulmus calling on the Erdogan government to refrain from signing a new agreement with the IMF and adopt measures that would promote employment and remove the obstacles to production instead.

    b) Local elections:

    Hurriyet columnist Cuneyt Ulsever in an article welcomes the initiatives taken by the various political parties toward the solution of what he describes as the country's primary problems such as the headdress ban in universities, the freedom of belief of the Alevis, and the Kurdish issue. Well aware that all these overtures are preparations for the upcoming local elections, Ulsever, nonetheless, hails them as positive developments. Praising the CHP for its current stand on the headdress issue and the Justice and Development Party, AKP, and MHP on their approach to the Alevi demands, Ulsever proposes that a joint package incorporating all these issues be prepared thus forcing all the parties to extend their support to all the issues.

    In an article entitled "To Whom Did Erdogan Signal?", Milli Gazete columnist Zeki Ceyhan asserts that Erdogan's recent statement during his visit to India announcing that he would resign as AKP leader if the AKP came second in the next elections was a message to dissidents within his own party to the effect that nobody should entertain unrealistic dreams about him standing down as AKP chairman as long as the AKP remains undefeated. Ceyhan claims that there is a group within the AKP that wants Erdogan and Abdullah Gul to swap positions as prime minister and president.

    In an article entitled "Yes Now", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru asserts that a solution to the Alevi issue has been delayed until now because Alevi citizens identify themselves with a party that behaves as though such a problem did not exist at all, namely the CHP. He praises certain recent moves and statements by Prime Minister Erdogan and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek as an indication that the ruling AKP has started to "take a close interest in Alevi rights." He also claims that Alevi woes stem from the Turkish establishment's religious mentality in the 1930s and 1940s, asserting that it is because secularism was first defined during this period irrespective of Alevi expectations that it is not possible to meet Alevi demands today. He ends by warning that "unless we solve the Alevi issue of our own free will," the EU might step in to solve it using its own methods possibly to the detriment of social unity in this country.

    c) Turkish-EU relations:

    According to a report by Bahar Bakir in Milliyet, members of an EU delegation who met with the prime minister have told him that the EU wants to see a freer press in Turkey. The members are also reported to have told Erdogan that he should not disrupt the reform agenda by focusing on domestic political issues. According to the report, Joost Lagendijk, the co-chairman of the EU-Turkish Joint Parliamentary Committee and a member of the EU delegation currently in the country, has said that there is a lot of talk about reforms but very few steps on the issue. Lagendijk has also pointed out that steps have not been taken on the issue of the freedom of expression and has shown the ban on the Youtube as an example. Commenting on the cancellation of the press accreditation of certain journalists, Lagendijk is reported to have said that "it is appalling."

    Commenting on the Democratic Society Party (DTP), closure case, Lagendijk is reported to have said: "It is very important for the DTP to remain under the umbrella of the National Assembly. If it is closed, then the cards in the hands of those opposed to Turkey's accession will get stronger. They will try to close the doors of the EU claiming that the Kurdish problem is not being solved and that the party is being closed. The EU process will be blocked." According to a 250-word report by Hazal Ates in Sabah, the EU official at his meeting with DTP leader Ahmet Turk said that he is studying the DTP's democratic autonomy project.

    d) Turkish-Armenian relations:

    According to a report by Ugur Ergan in Hurriyet, the tripartite Ankara-Yerevan-Baku talks will be held in Helsinki on 4-5 December during the summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), to take place there. The report adds that the foreign ministers of the two countries are intent on making the most of this dialogue process and solving the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Foreign Minister Babacan is expected to go to Baku in the beginning of December to ensure that his Azeri counterpart participates in the Helsinki talks.

    Predicting that Turkish-Armenian relations will be normalized in the coming months in an article in Milliyet, Sami Kohen bases his assumption on the statement made by Armenian Foreign Minister Nalbandian to the effect that there are no preconditions or obstacles to establishing diplomatic relations and opening the borders. Foreign Minister Babacan is also optimistic regarding bilateral relations, writes Kohen, quoting Babacan as having said that both sides have a strong political will regarding the normalization of relations. Recalling the progress made in the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, Kohen writes that "Ankara will normalize its relations with Yerevan in parallel with the commencement of the solution process of the problem."

    According to a report in Ortadogu, Turkey will be purchasing electricity from Armenia's Metzamor nuclear power station along the Turkish-Armenian border. The Metzamor Nuclear Power Plant, which will be proving electricity to Turkey as of 1 March, 2009, is considered to be the most dangerous nuclear power plant in the world by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the EU because it is situated on a first degree quake region, the report adds. It is reported that 150 minor accidents have already occurred at the Metzamor plant, which has yet to be close down despite repeated warnings by the IAEA and the EU. According to experts, an accident at the plant can wipe Igdir, which is at a distance of 16 kilometres from the plant, out of the map.

    In an article entitled "Brazen Intermediaries", Zaman columnist Abdulhamit Bilici accuses the Vatican of trying to prevent Turkey and Armenia from developing friendly relations with one another in issuing a statement through Cardinal Walter Kasper saying that "the Armenian genocide is a fact" at a time when the Armenian press has started to talk about preparations by Yerevan to sign a power supply agreement with Ankara.


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