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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-12-03

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. 232/08 03.12.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by Mehmet Ali Talat after the eleventh meeting between the two leaders within the framework of the full-fledged negotiations on the Cyprus problem
  • [02] Babacan said even if nothing changes in 2009, they expect development regarding Cyprus
  • [03] Soyer evaluated his visit to Germany; Brief comment by Afrika on Soyers call to the Europeans to lift the isolations of the breakaway regime
  • [04] KTOEOS accuses the ministry of education of having been surrendered to the army
  • [05] Reactions to the arrest of two young Turkish Cypriots for insulting Mehmet Ali Talat continue
  • [06] Oya Talat attends symposium organized by Swedish and Turkish Foundations in Istanbul
  • [07] Activity report on MITs personnel has been made public
  • [08] Turkish Energy Minister, Hilmi Guler: Turkey and EU keep holding talks on Nabucco Project
  • [09] 2,500 British Travel Agents to convene in Antalya
  • [10] DTP views Censorship in assembly refusal to recognize Kurdish language
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [11] Lesser: Crisis may have dramatic effect on Turkeys relations

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by the Mehmet Ali Talat after the eleventh meeting between the two leaders within the framework of the full-fledged negotiations on the Cyprus problem

    Under the title The Greek Cypriots do not want two separate peoples, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (03.12.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat met yesterday again with President Christofias within the framework of the full-fledged negotiations for reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem. The paper notes that the Turkish Cypriot side did not accept the arguments set forward by President Christofias.

    In statements at his office after the negotiations, Mr. Talat said that the Greek Cypriot side does not accept the existence of two peoples on the island because it is afraid of the separation. Mr. Talat added that the Greek Cypriots say that only one people exist in Cyprus because they are afraid of the peoples self-determination right and therefore they reject the discussion of the scientific aspect of the issue. He noted that there was no tension during the meeting yesterday and added that the Greek Cypriot side put forward its arguments and they discussed them.

    Mr. Talat reiterated his view that there are two peoples in Cyprus and that he asked from President Christofias to tell him the language, religion and cultural structure of this people, if there is only one people in Cyprus. He said that he told President Christofias the following: Since there is only one people describe two things which it likes and two things it hates.

    Noting that President Christofias gave him a written reply for his reaction to the declaration between the Republic of Cyprus and Russia, Mr Talat added: They have made the evaluations you know. These are evaluations we cannot accept. We put forth that generally we shall not accept the continuation of the Republic of Cyprus and that the new Cyprus state, which will be formed, will be a new state.

    Replying to a question regarding the search for oil by the Republic of Cyprus with a Norwegian vessel, Talat said he told President Christofias that these efforts are spoiling the good climate and demanded the search to be stopped. He said he called on President Christofias to stop dealing with Turkey, because Turkey supports the solution in Cyprus.

    Referring to Mr. Talats statements, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (03.12.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader said he protested against President Christofias statement that I sit at the table without taking the permission of Greece and the fact that he compared Mr. Talat with a nursling. I said that if he continues in the same manner, I will also reply, he noted.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (03.12.08) refers to Mr. Talats statements under the banner-front page title If there is one people, what is its language and religion?

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (03.12.08) covers the issue under the title Two peoples, two wills.

    Under the title There will be a new state, Turkish Cypriot daily Bakis newspaper (03.12.08) underlines Mr. Talats statement that they will not accept an agreement for the continuation of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Under the title They discussed the public services, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.12.08) reports that this was the eleventh meeting between the two leaders and that they discussed the public service.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Babacan said even if nothing changes in 2009, they expect development regarding Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.12.08) reports that Ali Babacan, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, has said that not many issues will excite them and make them anxious in the relations between Turkey and the EU in 2009. In statements yesterday in Brussels, where he is participating in the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of NATO and the EU, Mr. Babacan said that exception to this could be Cyprus in 2009. Mr. Babacan noted that even if nothing changes, they expect a development regarding Cyprus. Mr. Babacan referred also to the relations of his country with the EU and the efforts exerted by the assembly and the ministries towards the harmonization with the acquis.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Soyer evaluated his visit to Germany; Brief comment by Afrika on Soyers call to the Europeans to lift the isolations of the breakaway regime

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (03.12.08) reports that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer evaluated yesterday his visit to Germany and said that our pro-solution policy is appreciated. In statements during a television program, Mr. Soyer argued that the policy of the Turkish Cypriots for a solution in Cyprus continues to be appreciated in the world and added that he saw this stance once more and indeed in a broader manner during his visit to Germany. He noted that in Berlin he discussed the development of the relations between the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and the German Social Democrat Party (SPD) and added that the visits of officials of his government abroad improved the position of the Turkish Cypriots in Germany and in other countries.

    Mr. Soyer said he met with German businessmen and discussed the economy of the TRNC with them. Mr. Soyer alleged that as a result of their contacts abroad the realities in Cyprus have been understood and the German politicians started to say that the accession of Cyprus into the EU before the solution of the Cyprus problem was a mistake. Mr. Soyer said that the counsellor of the embassy of the Republic of Cyprus to Berlin attended his contacts in Germany and tape-recorded them in the capacity of journalist. I greeted this counsellor in front of the entire German press and said I was not feeling uncomfortable from the fact that he was there and that he could participate in the meeting with us. He was very ashamed there. The Greek Cypriots feel uncomfortable for this kind of our contacts and this makes them to commit mistakes, argued Mr. Soyer.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (03.12.08), under the title The negotiations are an excuse, the TRNC is magnificent, reports the following on Mr. Soyers statements in Germany:

    In an interview with the German Der Spiegel magazine, Ferdi Sabit Soyer called on the Europeans to exert efforts on the lifting of the isolations. When he was reminded of the ongoing negotiations, Soyer replied: Our target was to hold the elections for the European Parliament in June 2009 together in a united Cyprus. However, everything is proceeding very slowly. I am concerned that we will not be able to achieve this target. The secret meaning of this is the following: Never mind the negotiations, we shall make the TRNC live. Soyer does not have the energy to say the negotiations are an excuse, the TRNC is magnificent! God forbid, afterwards we will be the side which does not want a solution.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] KTOEOS accuses the ministry of education of having been surrendered to the army

    Under the title Adnan Eraslan: The Ministry of Education was surrendered to the army, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (03.12.08) reports that Adnan Eraslan, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Secondary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOEOS) has said that the so-called civil defence organization took over the responsibilities of the self-styled ministry of education. In a statement yesterday, Mr. Eraslan noted that the schools have absolutely no budget and that the parents associations and the school directors have been turned into beggars. He criticized the contests organized in the schools by the so-called civil defence organization.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Reactions to the arrest of two young Turkish Cypriots for insulting Mehmet Ali Talat continue

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.12.08) reports that the New Cyprus Partys (YKP) youth organization has criticized the fact that the two young Turkish Cypriots who have been arrested for insulting the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat on the Facebook are kept under custody for a long time. In a statement yesterday, the organization called on all the non-governmental organizations to contribute to making the judicial system in the occupied areas in harmony with the democratic practices. The YKP organization notes that there was a demand to keep the two young persons under custody for more than a week, while people who commit more serious crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and smuggling are most of the times kept under custody only for three days. The organization criticized the fact that some journalists supported this decision with their articles.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (03.12.08) reports that the so-called Cyprus Turkish Platform issued a statement noting that it does not approve of the insults against Mr. Talat on the Internet by some young Turkish Cypriots. The platform argued, however, that everybody should be treated in the same manner and wondered: We are asking the TRNC attorney general. Where were you when some controlled trade unions and political parties have been making calls and carrying out campaigns within the boundaries of our sovereignty to give away Varosha, which is Evkafs [religious foundation] property, to the Greek Cypriots? Why are they not acting according to the 48th article of the penal code when some local press organs and writers insult the state of the TRNC and continue their humiliating publications?

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Oya Talat attends symposium organized by Swedish and Turkish Foundations in Istanbul

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (03.12.08) reports that Mrs Oya Talat, spouse of the Turkish Cypriot Leader Mehmet Ali Talat and President of the Turkish Cypriot Womens Solidarity Council, attended a two-day symposium in Istanbul.

    The symposium under the title The women are discussing the principles of the free society is being organised with the cooperation of the [non-profit] ARI movement and the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation [of Sweden] in Istanbul.

    (EA)

    [07] Activity report on MITs personnel has been made public

    Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (03.12.08) under its front-page title, MIT activity report, reports on the 2007 activity report of the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) regarding the structure of its personnel.

    According to the figures, 2,8% of the personnel are between 23-25 years old, 38% between 26-35 and 37% between 36-45. In addition, the organisation consists of 81,5% men and 18,5% women. As the paper reports, 71% of the personnel have higher education, 27% are graduates of a lyceum and 2% are graduates of the elementary school.

    According to the paper, MITs report is published in the internet site of the organisation. ( HYPERLINK "http://www.mit.gov.tr" www.mit.gov.tr)

    (EA)

    [08] Turkish Energy Minister, Hilmi Guler: Turkey and EU keep holding talks on Nabucco Project

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.12.08) reported the following from Sungurlu:

    Turkish energy minister said on Tuesday that Turkey and EU had been holding talks in regard to the Nabucco project, a pipeline project to pump Asian natural gas to Europe via Turkey.

    Replying to questions on the Nabucco project in Sungurlu town of central Corum province, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler said that intergovernmental agreement document had been sent to the relevant parties.The 3,300-kilometer Nabucco project is a planned natural gas pipeline that will transport natural gas from Turkey to Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. It will run from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten an der March, a major natural gas hub in Austria.

    Around 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year will be transported to Europe after the Nabucco project is completed.

    Turkish energy officials said EU and Turkey could sign a transit deal by the end of this year, and the EU attached great importance to the project as EU leaders did not want to be energy dependent on Russia.

    The Nabucco project is also supported by the United States as it would be an alternative to natural gas supply from Russia, biggest supplier of Europe.

    [09] 2,500 British Travel Agents to convene in Antalya

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.12.08) reported from Antalya that:

    One of the most biggest tour operators of the world, Thomas Cook and its Turkish partner Diana Tourism will host the representatives of 2,500 British travel agencies in Antalya to promote this Turkish tourism hub.

    Speaking to the AA, the President of the Executive Board of Diana Tourism, Burak Tonbul said that the British travel agents will be hosted in Belek town of Antalya beginning on December 4.

    Hosting the British tourism experts will promote Antalya and Turkish tourism in general, Tonbul said.

    The Antalya tourism event is being supported by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Antalya Governor's Office.

    British travel agents would attend conferences and travel to sites such as Aspendos, Perge and Side to observe touristic facilities.

    As part of the Antalya function, Thomas Cook will present the Antalya Governor with a check worth 100,000 euros to help local forests that were burnt last summer.

    [10] DTP views Censorship in assembly refusal to recognize Kurdish language

    Istanbul Hurriyet Daily News.com (02.12.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    "My language is not an unknown language. Kurdish is a language which has been spoken for 10,000 years. It has its own literature, art and poetry. Currently it is spoken by 40 million people. This attitude is 'denial politics' and goes beyond illiteracy, says Osman Ozcelik.

    Whatever efforts Parliament has made on strengthening Kurdish culture, the prevailing mentality has been exposed in an official record that referred to a Kurdish greeting as, A statement made in an unknown language.

    Although the government has resumed work on establishing a Kurdish television channel, to be broadcast on state network TRT as part of efforts to strengthen cultural rights in the Southeast, the recent incident in Parliament highlights the ongoing official perception toward the Kurdish language.

    Democratic Society Party, or DTP, Deputy Osman Ozcelik prepared a greeting card, which the parliamentary printing house refused to print on the grounds it contained a statement in Kurdish. Ozcelik's greeting card celebrated the Sacrifice Feast in both the Turkish and Kurdish languages.

    After the refusal by the parliament's printing services, Ozcelik had his greeting cards printed by a private printer. However, he has still not circulated them in Parliament.

    The DTP deputy raised the issue during a discussion on a draft law last Thursday and criticized the state's attitude toward the Kurdish language. Stating Turkish names are recognized in Bulgaria and education in the Turkish language there is also free. Ozcelik said Turkey's own Kurdish citizens were denied similar recognition and treatment.

    Reading from his greeting card, Ozcelik said, "I celebrate your Sacrifice Feast and wish you success in your work," both in Turkish and Kurdish. His statements were initially recorded in the Kurdish language in Parliament's official report but later Parliament intervened in the records and the message in the Kurdish language was removed.

    Statements were made in an unknown language by the speaker, the record now states, instead of stating a message was read in the Kurdish language.

    My language is not an unknown language. Kurdish is a language which has been spoken for 10,000 years. It has its own literature, art and poetry. Currently it is spoken by 40 million people. This attitude is 'denial politics' and goes beyond illiteracy, Ozcelik told the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review. He said such attitudes did not help peace in the country.

    Ozcelik said a similar incident occurred just after he was elected as a deputy. When he wrote Kurdish and French as his foreign languages in Parliament's album, They removed the Kurdish language, but did not touch the French, he said. Ozcelik said he would submit a censorship complaint to Parliament's presidency.

    The European Union has been supportive of the use of the Kurdish language in broadcasting, schools and in the public sector. No measures have been taken to facilitate access to public services for non-speakers of Turkish. According to a law on political parties, the use of languages other than Turkish remains illegal in political life. A large number of investigations and court cases have been launched against DTP executives in this context, the EU said in its latest progress report published in November.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [11] Lesser: Crisis may have dramatic effect on Turkeys relations

    Under the above title Todays Zaman (03.12.08) publishes the following analysis:

    It is now apparent that the global economy is headed for a deep and prolonged crisis, with potentially dramatic consequences for emerging as well as developed markets.

    The crisis may also prove transforming for geopolitics and international relations. Turkey is in no sense decoupled from the effects of this global turmoil. Over the next few years, economic stress could have a dramatic effect on Turkeys internal and external scene, including regional security and the prospects for Turkish relations with the European Union and the United States.

    Subtitle: Internal dynamics, external consequences

    Much of Turkeys recent evolution, including the AKP ascendancy (Turkeys ruling Justice and Development Party), has occurred against a backdrop of high growth rates-among the highest in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) at roughly 6-7 percent per year since 2002. High growth has been accompanied and supported by dramatic increases in foreign investment of all kinds. The revival of Turkeys real economy, and especially the fortunes of small- and medium-sized enterprises in the years since 2000-2001, has played a role in the social transformation of the country, fuelling prosperity in Anatolia, and changing patterns of power and influence in diverse sectors. The influx of foreign cash has also fuelled a real estate boom and put Turkeys middle class under pressure. More visible wealth has raised awareness of Turkeys growing income distribution gap, and has put questions of social cohesion on the political agenda.

    A few months ago, many Turks were optimistic about the countrys ability to decouple itself from the deepening crisis on Wall Street. Today, observers of the Turkish scene are far less sanguine about the prospects for emerging economies, including Turkey. Growth rates of 4 percent now seem optimistic. Two and 3 percent might be closer to the mark, and well short of what is needed for job creation and revenue. Turkish exporters are especially vulnerable to the effects of a serious recession in Europe, and other facets of the economy will suffer if the recent surge of foreign capital turns to a trickle. Lower energy prices could work in Turkeys favour, but a sharp drop in oil and gas revenues coupled with financial turmoil, could mean far less money flowing to Turkey from Russia and the Gulf. Under these conditions, the trend toward closer Turkish commercial and political ties with Eurasia and the Middle East may not be sustainable.

    A recession -- or worse -- in Turkey could also spell trouble for the AKP as it seeks to maintain its dominant political position. The government will surely hope that it does not need to reach for IMF assistance, and the public spending scrutiny this would bring, before it needs to face local elections in March. In this and other ways, the populist dimension of AKP politics would be greatly complicated by economic crisis and external financial intervention. More broadly, in Turkey and elsewhere, economic trouble is also likely to reinforce the nationalist element in Turkish society and politics. The AKP can play the nationalist card, but opposition parties on the left and the right may be more adept at this game -- if they can offer a viable alternative to AKP leadership. So far, there is little sign that either the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) or the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are capable of threatening the Erdogan governments lock on mass politics in Turkey. The AKP will almost certainly face the coming economic stress in power, but may well move further to embrace the nationalist discourse, and this will not bode well for relations with Europe or the United States.

    Subtitle: A more reluctant Europe, a more assertive Russia

    Turkeys EU candidacy is already troubled, with little prospect of improvement in the near term. A deep and prolonged recession in Europe could further complicate Turkish relations with Europe. Job losses and financial stress in Europe could reinforce existing concerns over immigration and the costs of future large-scale enlargements. A poorer Europe may also be a more xenophobic Europe, with obvious and negative implications for Turkeys European aspirations. Even those European politicians willing to exercise leadership on Ankaras behalf may find themselves distracted by more pressing economic and social challenges. The business constituency for Turkey may be similarly distracted and limited in its ability to make the case for completing Turkeys European project. An atmosphere of heightened nationalism on all sides will also make a Cyprus settlement much more difficult, and ultimately, this is a sine qua non for progress toward full membership.

    Turkeys close commercial and energy security relationship with Russia gives Ankara a special stake in the future of Russias regional posture and the character of Moscows relations with the West. Lower energy prices and a brittle financial scene-even financial collapse-could well accelerate Russias shift to a more nationalistic and adversarial strategy. Turkey may not be the first target of this approach, but Turkish interests will inevitably be affected, and Ankara could face more uncomfortable choices of the kind posed by the Georgia crisis of August 2008. At the same time, the non-energy component of the economic relationship could contract, weakening the constituency for cooperation on both sides and increasing the relative weight of more contentious issues.

    Subtitle: US-Turkish relations

    The change of leadership in Washington offers an opportunity for a change of course in U.S.-Turkish relations. There will be a chance to repair at least some of the damage inflicted by the Iraq experience and the more general climate of friction and mistrust that has characterized the bilateral relationship in recent years. But here, too, the economic crisis could interfere with progress in U.S.-Turkish relations in several respects. First, the extraordinary nature of the economic challenge will make it very difficult for Ankara (and others) to get the attention of American policymakers. To be sure, Turkish cooperation will be essential on Iraq. Turkeys rotating seat on the UN Security Council will make Ankara an even more important partner in dealing with Iran and other questions. Russia policy will also be a key topic for discussion. The list of issues for bilateral discussion is long. But the outlook for developing new and more imaginative approaches to U.S.-Turkish relations will not be helped by competing domestic demands on all sides.

    Second, the crisis is already complicating the task of diversifying a relationship that has always been dominated by defence and regional security issues. In recent years, there has been considerable movement in this direction as American investors acquired a greater interest in Turkey as a promising emerging market (and with the prospects of further convergence with EU practices, however slow). Wall Street has been among the leading supporters of closer relations even as strategic constituencies in Washington debated the loss of Turkey. The collapse of key financial institutions has changed the equation dramatically. Emerging markets in general are feeling the effects of a flight from risk, and there is no shortage of perceived commercial and political risk on the Turkish scene. Moreover, as governments take larger stakes in troubled banks, they are likely to demand even more risk -- averse investment strategies, with an emphasis on national over international investments. The outlook for American economic engagement in Turkey now looks far less robust.

    Third, economic stringency will cast the budgetary and policy costs of the American presence in Iraq in even sharper relief. The Obama administration comes into office with a clear commitment to an early withdrawal of military forces. Many observers now believe that the timetable for this could well be accelerated, making the need for U.S.-Turkish coordination on Iraq even more urgent. This could be an opportunity to reshape a troubled pattern of relations over Northern Iraq, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and longer-term stability on Turkeys borders. But the stakes will be high and the window for a serious dialogue on managed disengagement will not be open indefinitely.

    Subtitle: Global consequences

    Finally, a protracted economic crisis could have a number of systemic consequences, none favourable to Turkish prosperity and security. A global retreat to protectionism and calls for the re-nationalization of trade and investment policies will work against the interests of a Turkish economy that has grown more comfortable with globalization in its various forms. The projection of Turkeys soft power -- central to Ankaras external strategy under AKP -- may be less effective and less well received when Turkeys old and new partners are under economic stress. In the worst case, Turkey and others could confront a post-modern version of the interwar scenario -- a slow moving deterioration of economic, political, and ultimately strategic relationships in which hard power becomes the leading currency. Well short of this, states under economic and social stress have a tendency to behave badly -- a tendency that could jeopardize stability in Turkeys neighbourhood and impede the reinvigoration of relations with Europe and the United States just as Ankaras need for strategic reassurance becomes more acute.

    Dr. Ian O. Lesser

    Dr. Lesser is a GMF senior transatlantic fellow in Washington, D.C., where he focuses on Mediterranean affairs, Turkey, and international security issues. Prior to joining GMF, he was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars. Dr. Lesser is also president of Mediterranean Advisors, LLC, a consultancy specializing in geopolitical risk. About GMF the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is a non-partisan American public policy and grant-making institution dedicated to promoting greater cooperation and understanding between North America and Europe. Founded in 1972 through a gift from Germany, on the 25th anniversary of the Marshall Plan, as a permanent memorial to Marshall Plan assistance, GMF maintains a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to its headquarters in Washington, DC, GMF has seven offices in Europe: Berlin, Bratislava, Paris, Brussels, Belgrade, Ankara, and Bucharest.

    *This article is published by The German Marshall Fund of the United States.

    EG/


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