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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-12-05
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 234/08 05.12.08
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Talat evaluates the developments on the Cyprus problemUnder the title It is difficult in 2009, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.12.08) reports that in statements to illegal TAK news agency, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat said yesterday that reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem by the end of 2009 or in mid-2009 is difficult. He noted that the year 2009 might also pass without a solution. Mr Talat said that the negotiating process, which is being carried out for three months, is advancing slowly because it started without a basis. He noted:
When the Greek Cypriot side did not accept the Annan Plan as basis, we started almost from zero except for the general agreements. We have even faced proposals which had not come to the agenda in any other process until today. For example, proposals on the issue of how the executive power will be and how its organs will be elected. The President and the Vice President to enter into the elections on the same list and if a percentage higher than 50 % is not secured on the first round, a second round to be held in the entire island. Such a proposal, which ignores the will of the Turks of Cyprus and opens a debate on its legitimacy, has not come onto the table until today and, to tell you the truth, I was not expecting that it would come.
Mr Talat said that this and similar proposals and approaches take a lot of time at the negotiating table. Asked whether reaching a solution until the elections for the European Parliament in June 2009 is a realistic target, Mr Talat replied: We have set as target the middle of next year and no objection came from the other side. However, now with this pace, this target is also difficult. In addition to starting without a basis, the meetings are held with many intervals. I said: Let us leave all our affairs and give all our energy to continuous negotiations. If needed, let us meet every day. Christofias objected to this and said: I have other obligations. He is continuously holding visits abroad. It is difficult to achieve the target we have set with this speed.
Asked to comment on the view that they are discussing for the sake of the discussion, Mr Talat replied: No, this is an unfair comment. There is a will for a solution in our side. My feeling is that they also have a will.
He noted that in spite of the fact that the negotiations are advancing slowly, some progress has been achieved, even if this is limited, and there are many issues on which agreement was reached. He said that progress was achieved in more than half of the issues under the chapter of Governance and Power Sharing. He said that there is no clear process on when the issue of Property, which is second after the Governance and Power Sharing, will be discussed.
He added: Christofias is against time tables. Therefore, the time is not known, but I estimate that we shall pass into the other chapter before completing this one. The issues agreed upon and the issues on which no agreement was reached will be kept in the baskets and we shall proceed with the next one.
Elaborating on a previous statement he had made that there are two peoples in Cyprus, not only one, Mr Talat said: This is not an issue to be disputed. Of course there are two peoples. May be, in time a single Cyprus people, speaking two different languages, will be formed. However, today two peoples exist, with different languages, religion, joy, sorrow and everything. Their area is different, their economy is different. When the one feels happy, the other is sad. There are two peoples who could have the same feelings only during an airplane accident or an earthquake. This is undisputable. In any case, there is no UN decision which says that there is one people. Prove that there is one people in Cyprus, I said to Christofias and he said nothing. Even if God comes down to earth, they cannot substantiate this.
Mr Talat reiterated that the fact that the Greek Cypriot side refers to one people derives from its phobia from the separation right and added: I did not understand what this has to do with it. This is a comical approach. We have not supported separation at all. We said that we are against it. If we were not, what are we doing at the table? We have also taken decisions which make separation impossible.
When asked if President Christofias is different from the Christofias he knew in the past, Mr Talat said: He is different from what I expected. From time to time I am disappointed.
Referring to the obsession of President Christofias with Turkey, Mr Talat noted: As if somebody taught him this, he is searching for Turkey under every trouble and he is relating it to Turkey. He could make statements such as wean and come. He insults [us] in order to criticize Turkey. Statements and approaches, which describe us as puppets, are very annoying.
Referring to President Christofias visit to Greece, Mr Talat alleged that Greece is using President Christofias in its competition with Turkey and argued that because Greece cannot form a group against Turkey, it uses the Greek Cypriot leadership.
Mr Talat accused some circles in the Turkish Cypriot community for having contributed to the fact that President Christofias and other Greek Cypriot officials say that Turkey is behind everything in the occupied areas of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriots are puppets. They are trying to make opposition continuously, but in reality they insult me, he noted and added that in spite of the fact that he never supported the solution of confederation, those who criticize him write that he does.
Asked whether he believes a final solution could be reached, Mr Talat said: If we think that we could agree on every issue, we are wrong. Issues will remain open. Here the contribution of the international community will be needed. If we have this contribution, the solution will come. He argued that the expression that the Cypriots will solve the problem and the foreigners should not interfere, is nothing more than a slogan. He added that the international powers should definitely get into action and that the foreigners are expecting to see the issues on which the sides agree and on which they do not agree.
Asked who will abandon the table first if there is no agreement, Mr Talat replied: This question is like a soothsaying. I have no intention to abandon the table. Christofias says the same. However, given that it could not last forever, a driving force could make the process advance. And this is the international community.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (05.12.08) refers to Mr Talats statements under the title Christofias has an obsession with Turkey.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (05.12.08) writes that Talat is pessimistic. Next year is also difficult.
Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (05.12.08) covers the statements under the title We have started from zero, we are proceeding slowly.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (05.12.08) publishes these statements under the title The issue of the two peoples is indisputable.
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (05.12.08) covers the issue under the title I was disappointed.
Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (05.12.08) covers the issue under the title We are advancing slowly, but there is progress.
 Samani: Talat should give up making statements that serve separatismUnder the title Samani: Talat should give up making statements that serve separatism, Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (05.12.08) reports that the general secretary of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), Dr. Meltem Onurkan Samani has described as very serious blunder the statement by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat regarding the existence of two people in Cyprus and his effort to give a definition about the people based on a single language, religion and culture. Mrs Samani stated that such expressions remind of conservative, ultra nationalist and even fascistic approaches and not the modern world, the international law and policies.
 Babacan conveyed to Olli Rehn Turkeys disturbance over the Republic of Cypruss search for oilIllegal Bayrak television (04.12.08) broadcast the following:
The 16th Council of Ministers meeting of the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has begun in the Finnish capital Helsinki.
The Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan is among 49 foreign ministers attending the meeting.
Meeting with the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn before the meeting, Babacan conveyed Turkeys disturbance on the Greek Cypriot Administrations search for oil in its so-called Exclusive Economic Zone.
Speaking before the summit, the Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb said that the Cyprus problem was not on the agenda of CSCE.
 The breakaway regime distributes plots of land in occupied Morfou areaUnder the title 400 plots of land to 400 persons, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (05.12.08) reports that on the eve of the discussion on the property issue at the negotiations for reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem, the Turkish side is organizing an urgent operation regarding plots of land in Morfou, very hastily and agitatedly. The paper writes, inter alia, the following: According to last minute information which came to our newspaper, every single person to whom plots of land will be distributed received a telephone call yesterday and was called to take his plot. According to statements made by an official of the Ministry of Interior to our paper, the lots will be distributed as rural plots of land. It was known that the plots which will be distributed are in an area near the campus of the Middle East Technical University (ODTU).
 British businessman who invests in the occupied areas addressed YAGA organized conference in LondonTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.12.08) reports that the Cyprus Turkish Investment Development Agency (YAGA) has organized a conference in London with the aim of promoting investments in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The participants in the conference were mostly Turkish Cypriot businessmen who live in London and British businessmen.
The chairperson of YAGA, Ayse Donmezer called on the investors to invest in the occupied areas of Cyprus where big investment opportunities exist. She promised that the climate for investments in the occupied areas will be developed.
Addressing the conference, British businessman David Lewis who has made large investments in the occupied areas of Cyprus, said the most important element which attracted him to the occupied part of the island is the large number of vacant places that are appropriate for tourism, the magnificent climate, the hospitality of the people and the long summer period. He alleged that the occupied northern part of the island remained virgin and it is in the same condition it was 40 years ago because of the embargoes and the isolation.
Lewis alleged that the dispute on the territorial issue is considered one of the few negative characteristics of the island and claimed that this actually would not be a real problem. He said that the issue will be settled in the framework of a possible solution to the Cyprus problem and alleged that if a solution is not reached, this will anyway cease to be a problem.
 Adal said only one of their proposals was accepted by FIFA officialsTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.12.08) reports that Omer Adal, chairman of the so-called Turkish Cypriot football federation returned yesterday to the island from Zurich where he held meetings with FIFA officials.
Mr Adal said that the Turkish Cypriot delegation submitted to FIFA three proposals for a solution and that only one of these proposals was seen positively by the FIFA officials. He noted that the committee which is dealing with the issue will submit a report with their proposals to the FIFA general assembly on 18 December.
 British light-heavyweight boxer who settled in occupied Kazafani declares determined to promote the TRNCIllegal Bayrak television (04.12.08) broadcast the following:
A reception was given in honor of David Haye, the world champion in light-heavyweight boxing, who won a recent fight with his short with the TRNC flag on it.
The world-famous British boxer, who arrived in the TRNC a year and a half ago, trained himself for the last 3 competitions at a training site he established in Ozankoy [occupied Kazafani], to the east of Girne [occupied Keryneia].
The latest victory came at the London Millenium Dome World Light-Heavyweight Boxing Championship.
Speaking to reporters during the reception given by the Cyprus Turkish Travel Agencies Union, Haye said the North Cyprus weather and the close interest of Turkish Cypriots very much contributed to his victory.
Voicing his support for the removal of the unjust international isolation on Turkish Cypriots in sports, Haye said he had received messages of threat on that.
They want me to remove the TRNC flag on my short; and my reply is that: if they are disturbed by that, then they should come and remove it themselves.
Haye noted that he will continue his training in the TRNC. The boxers next race will be at the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship which is to take place in the United States next year.
 Cyprus Peace Platform will hold contacts in BrusselsUnder the title Representatives of the Cyprus Peace Platform will hold contacts in Brussels, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.12.08) reports that a delegation of the Cyprus Peace Platform will hold contacts in the Belgian capital between 9 12 December in order to support further action on the negotiation process taking place between the two leaders in Cyprus and to freely express the political will of the Turkish Cypriots which is oppressed.
The delegation will convey its thoughts to representatives of the EU and the European Parliament on a series of issues, such as the fundamental chapters of the Cyprus problem, the legislative, executive and judicial power sharing, territorial and property issues, the situation of the Turkish settlers who have been given the citizenship of the breakaway regime, security and guarantees. The Platforms contacts in Brussels were announced yesterday by the Chairman of Turkish Cypriot Teachers' Trade Union (KTOS), Guven Varoglu during a press conference organized at KTOS headquarters.
 Bulutoglulari met with the High Commissioner of Australia to CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Bakis newspaper (05.12.08) reports that Cemal Bulutoglulari, the self-styled mayor of occupied Lefkosia held a meeting yesterday with Evan John Williams, the High Commissioner of Australia to Cyprus. Mr Bulutoglulari briefed Mr Williams about the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and the works and projects which are being implemented in the occupied Nicosia municipality.
Speaking during the meeting, the self-styled mayor stated that Australia means a lot for the TRNC since many Turkish Cypriots live there. Referring to the Cyprus problem, he alleged that the occupation regime has always good intentions and is helpful as regards the negotiations. However, the Greek Cypriot side is putting obstacles to the negotiations, he claimed.
On his part, Mr Williams stated that it is the first time he is visiting the municipality and expressed his pleasure with the meeting he had with Mr Bulutoglulari. He also congratulated the self-styled mayor for the building of the municipal palace.
 Pertev accused the judicial system in the occupied areasTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (05.12.08) reports that in statements to Ada TV television, Rasit Pertev accused the judicial system in the occupied areas of Cyprus and said: There is a so-called judicial system in the country. The difference of a developed country from the developing one is seen in the judicial system. He noted that embezzlement of many millions of pounds sterling has been conducted and added that the works regarding the electricity power plant has been made without inviting tenders but only with a decision of the council of ministers. He said that not even technical contracts exist in these tenders.
 Statements by Prime-Minister and the French Transportation Minister during an agreement signed between TAI and AirbusTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (05.12.08) publishes the following:
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkeys aviation industry and the civil aviation sector had made remarkable progress over the last few years, a statement that comes on the heels of an agreement signed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Airbus valued at $500 million.
Speaking at the signing ceremony of the TAI Airbus A350 Partnership Agreement at TAI facilities in Ankara, Erdogan said the $500 million agreement would open for TAI new windows of cooperation with the European aviation industry.
Our aviation technology has made a giant leap with projects such as aircraft modernization and unmanned aircraft, completely carried out by Turkish engineers, to bring the Turkish defense and aviation industry to the level of an internationally recognized player, Erdogan said.
Erdogan also said the countrys civil aviation sector had made significant progress, with Turkeys main carrier, Turkish Airlines (THY), having become one of the major airlines in Europe with its fleet, passengers numbers and profitability. This also shows that Turkey has great potential in the aviation market in its region, Erdogan said.
Also attending the ceremony, Turkish Industry and Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan said the agreement showed the competitive capabilities of the Turkish real sector in a cruel world of international competition.
French Transportation Minister Dominique Bussereau said he considered the TAI-Airbus agreement a symbol of a partnership and alliance between Turkey and Europe in the industrial arena.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Bussereau said a big step had been made in the aviation sector with this agreement between TAI, the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) and Airbus. With the agreement signed today, TAI has joined the Airbus family, he added.
German State Minister for Europe GŁnter Gloser said this step, made between Europe and Turkey, shows the confidence in Turkish technology. He noted that with this agreement TAI became a strategic partner for Germany and indicated that Germany is now willing to boost its relations with Turkey in the aviation and space industry. Turkey has come closer to integration with the European Union after todays agreement, Gloser said.
Airbus President Thomas Enders said TAI had become a full Airbus partner and noted that TAI would be a partner in the commercial area under this $500 million project. We have obtained 500 orders for the A350XWB so far. This plane will start to fly in 2012. EADS President Louis Gallois described the agreement as a historic event, noting that todays signing ceremony was an important step in strategic cooperation with Turkey.
The A350XWB agreement is the first big civilian project TAI is contributing to with its own technological design.
 Six million new voters in Turkey thanks to the new registration systemTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (05.12.08) reports the following:
Six million more people will be eligible to vote in the March 29 local elections than in the July 2007 general elections, thanks to a new address-based registration database known as AKS, being used for the first time to confirm voter registration, the Supreme Election Board (YSK) announced this week.
YSK chief Muammer Aydin said the new system, which uses information about citizens' addresses to register them as voters, is functioning and will finally register individuals who were not counted in the 1997 national census and who have not since registered themselves as voters.
In the July 22, 2007 general elections, Turkey had 42,533,041 eligible voters, which has gone up to a possible 48,265,644 voters for next year's local polls, according to YSK data. The difference of 6 million comes from the revoking by the Constitutional Court of a law that made it possible to announce a national curfew on national census day. Since 1997, Turkey has not had a population count based on home visits. But the count was also the main method to register most voters. The new AKS system, which automatically finds voters based on information registered with the identity card database, was installed last year.
YSK officials explained: For example, someone who has just come back from his military service but has failed to register himself in the voter directory would not show up in the directory [since individuals on military service are dropped automatically from the directory]. Thousands go to fulfill their service every year, adding up to millions of voters lost from the directory. Before the AKS system was used, the identity numbers of voters could not be identified. Now the electoral rolls prepared using the AKS automatically lists everyone over 18 as of March 29 as voters. Nothing goes unrecorded."
 Turkish intellectuals launch apology campaign for deportations of ArmeniansIstanbul Vatan newspaper (04.12.08) reported the following:
A group of intellectuals, which includes university faculty members and journalists, is launching a signature campaign regarding the Armenian deportations of 1915. The name of the campaign, which will begin on the internet at the New Year, is I apologize.
The things that took place during the 1915 Armenian deportations, which the Armenians term the Medz Yeghen, or Great Catastrophe, are coming onto the agenda once again with the signature campaign. Led by Professor Ahmet Insel, Professor Baskin Oran, Dr Cengiz Aktar, and journalist and writer Ali Bayramoglu, the campaign, which will begin on the internet with the New Year, is named I apologize. The text of the campaign includes the following: My conscience does not accept indifference toward the Great Disaster that the Ottoman Armenians suffered in 1915, nor its denial today. I reject this injustice, share for my own part the feelings and the pain of my Armenian brothers, and I apologize to them. A different path from the usual campaigns will be followed in the campaign, upon which agreement was reached only after lengthy debate. The goal is to secure as much participation as possible on the internet over a year. Professor Insel, from Galatasaray University, describes the campaign as an individual stance in the face of historical responsibility. Professor Insel said: We citizens have the right, independent of official policy, to express our own views regarding the history of Turkey. The campaign should not be turned into grist for politics. Dr Cengiz Aktar, a faculty member in the Economic and Administrative Sciences Faculty of Bahcesehir University, also spoke with Vatan regarding the campaign.
Q. How did the campaign come about?
A. We set out on the basis of the view that the time had come, and indeed was overdue, for a campaign that stressed the individual, and individual sensitivity. We aim at making it a very broad campaign, probably at the New Year.
Q. What is the goal of the campaign?
A. The things that befell the Armenians are phenomena that are very little known in Turkey, but were incited, and then people have been made to forget them. Turks have generally heard about these issues from their elders, from their grandparents. But the issue has never been able to become an objective historical narrative. For this reason, a great many people in Turkey today believe in complete good faith that nothing happened to the Armenians. The view that this was a very secondary issue, and indeed proceeded in the form of reciprocal massacres, and was a sort of "normal affair" explained by the conditions of World War I, has been repeated endlessly for years now by official history. But the realities are, unfortunately, very different. Perhaps there is one sole fact, and that is that, in the final analysis, there are no longer any Armenians in Anatolia, but the other elements, the Turks and the Kurds, are still here. The subject of this campaign is individuals. This is a voice coming from the conscience of the individual. Those who are sorry will apologize, while those who are not will not.
Q. Why is an apology being made?
A. An apology is being made because throughout all this time, and it will be almost 100 years, it has been impossible to mention this topic or speak of it openly.
Subtitle: A first from France: Armenian draft not being brought before Senate
The government in France has, for the first time, openly come out against a draft law being put onto the agenda of the Senate that would count rejection of the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 events as a crime. The Minister Responsible for Local Administrations, Alain Marleix, responding to an oral parliamentary question from Socialist Party Deputy Rene Rouquet in the Assembly, said that the government does not want to put the draft law, which was passed in the Parliament in 2006, onto the agenda of the Senate. The French Minister called for "parliamentary deputies to avoid interfering in the work of historians" and pointed out that Turkey would react if the draft were to be adopted.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Columnist Sener Levent says that the acceptable definition in Cyprus is a single people, two national communitiesSener Levent, columnist in Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (05.12.08), under the title Singapore people does not have language and religion, writes the following commentary:
Talat continues to draw the people trump card in order to make fuss about trifles.
According to him, in Cyprus there is no single people but there are two peoples. And when Christofias insists on the one people, he asks him: What is the language and the religion of this people? As if they play the game of cat and mouse.
What do you say? Is it the American people, or the American peoples? Have you ever heard people to say the American peoples? However, America is the most cosmopolitan country in the world... People live there from one thousand and one different nations... They have different religion and language among them... But again, they are not called American peoples... They call them people of American...
At a time the situation in the Soviet Union was no different... There were 102 nations inside its borders... But they were all called from the top to the bottom Soviet people... Like there is not nearly a single country in the world that the people live always from the same nation, language, religious and race... If there is tell me... But the concept is always the same in every place... The people of France... The people of Belgium... The people of Spain... This expresses the community of people who live within the same borders... If thats the case what is the objection in calling people of Cyprus?
The issue is not that, but... The issue is the issue of self-determination... What does self-determination mean? The right to determine your own destiny... According to the United Nations, this right is recognized only to peoples... Right to self-determination is not recognized to the national communities... I mean the people who want to take a vital decision regarding itself goes to a referendum and can determine its destiny. For example, if it wants, it joins with another country... If it wants it breaks off from the country it belongs to... If we do not count the referendum on the Annan plan, only once has this right been used until now in Cyprus...
In 1950... With the initiation of the Orthodox Church... It organized a plebiscite... This plebiscite was a plebiscite of Enosis (Union) The people was asked whether they want to be united with Greece or not. Approximately 97% voted for yes... Lets be united, they said. This was only the political will of the Greek Cypriots and certainly not of the Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriots did not participate in the plebiscite.
Britain did not permit this decision to be put into practice... And after this plebiscite in order not to lose sovereignty on this island, they fan the flames of nationalism... They mobilized Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots for taksim (division). The real starting-point of the disagreements hanging until today is this...
The Turkish Cypriot side, in order to guarantee the right to self-determination, insists on the fact that there are two peoples in the island and not one.
The Greek Cypriot side is aware of the dangers of recognizing of this right to the Turkish Cypriot side.
For this reason, they (Greek Cypriot side) say single people.
In reality, the most acceptable definition for Cyprus is single people and two national communities.
For example, the Cyprus people is identical to the people of Singapore, of course it is not a nation.
There is no Cypriot nation.
There is also no Singaporian nation.
Neither the expression Cypriot nor the Singaporian defines a nation. It defines the country. We are Cypriots and belong to people of Cyprus.
Why should one be afraid of expressing this?
The game on the negotiation table is like the cat-mouse game...
This cannot be a reason to fight forever.
However, if the Turkish Cypriot side insists on it and the solution depends only on this, there is a solution for this as well.
The Greek Cypriot side accepts this, with a single annotation on the agreement;
The right of the self-determination cannot be used unilaterally.
In this way, the secession from the federal republic or joining to another country can be stopped...
Like a new plebiscite as that of 1950...
 From the Turkish Press of 04 December 2008Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 04 December 2008:
a) Local Elections:
Commenting on the controversy regarding the increase in the number of voters in an article in Vatan, Gungor Mengi stresses the impossibility of an increase of six million in the number of voters within a year, asking whether the figures in 2007 were erroneous or whether now there are voters who have been registered more than once. He asks the prime minister whether the government has initiated work to prevent the multiple casting of votes and whether the distribution according to regions of the six million additional voters will be announced by the High Election Council, YSK. Arguing that such a disgrace would not have taken place even in a banana republic, Mengi declares that our unwillingness to seek our rights is increasing our damages.
Focusing on the increased number of voters in the second section of his article in Hurriyet Daily News, Yusuf Kanli accuses the government of manipulating population records. Prior to 2007 the government was trying to prove its great economic successes by pushing the per capita income in the country close to the $10,000 mark, writes Kanli, adding that now the situation has changed.
Orhan Tahsin, in the mid-section of his article in Ortadogu, ridicules the six million increase in the number of registered voters within one year, pointing out that for the number of voters to increase by six million our population has to increase by 12 million. Recalling that a five million drop in the population was announced last year with the aim of increasing the per capita income to $10,000, Tahsin recalls a statement Suleyman Demirel made at the State Statistics Institute while he was the president. Demirel had warned against distorting the figures, saying that even then he knew that Turkey is the country that lies the most when it comes to figures.
A report by Ilhan Tasci in Cumhuriyet quotes Sabih Kanadoglu, the honorary chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, who questions the legitimacy of the elections because of the way the electoral lists are prepared.
b) Meeting of the Supreme Military Council:
Assessing the Supreme Military Council (YAS) decisions in his article in Hurriyet Daily News, Yusuf Kanli draws attention to the fact that this was the first time that the Council announced the expulsion of personnel for drug related reasons. The writer also stresses the speedy approval of the decisions by President Gul.
In an article entitled "A new YAS system", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru comments on the latest YAS meeting, which produced a decision to expel some 24 officers from the Turkish Armed Forces on disciplinary grounds. He calls on Prime Minister Erdogan and other civilian members of the YAS to stop dissenting with YAS decisions "ineffectually" and look into having Parliament pass legislation that would make those decisions subject to judicial review instead.
c) Deniz Baykals Chador initiative:
According to a report by Saliha Colak in Milliyet, Republican People's Party (CHP), Deputy Necla Arat has responded to party leader Deniz Baykal who had earlier said that the CHP members would get used to chador-wearing members. Stressing that they will not get used to it in a statement to the daily, Arat has added: "Especially, we will not get used to tendencies and initiatives that want to take women back to values left behind." The idea that everyone should live as he pleases is contrary to the Civil Law, the Constitution, Ataturk's principles and reforms, and the gains of the Republic, emphasizes Arat, adding: "Then, will we allow the legitimization of life styles that we have left behind such as honor killings and multiple wives?" Warning against the dangers of redefining the principle of secularism, Arat has accused Baykal of committing an error of political tactic.
Criticizing Baykal for using the anti-secular slogans used by those against the Republic in his article in Milliyet, Melih Asik asks what will come next. Predicting that Baykal will proceed to claim that Vahdettin, the last sultan of the Ottoman Empire, was a patriot, that Ataturk was a rebel, that the Republic was a failure, and that the people have forgotten their religion, Asik warns that only when the ballot boxes will be opened will Baykal realize what he has lost.
In an article entitled "Baykal is a very good swimmer", Vakit Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya asserts that he has come from perceiving Republican People's Party, CHP, leader Deniz Baykal's "chador initiative" as a pre-election maneuver intended to win over conservative voters to starting to believe Baykal's messages on Islamic chadors and headscarves to be sincere. Explaining why he has begun to take Baykal seriously, Karakaya cites a recent speech by the CHP leader in which he said that they could not possibly endorse the "single-party mentality," which meant that "even [Turkish minstrel] Asik Veysel was not allowed to meet with Ataturk because his dress was not appropriate."
A front-paged report entitled "Great support for Baykal's mental revolution," asserts that CHP leader's Baykal's criticisms of the single-party era in Turkish political history have met with support from all quarters.
Under the headline, "Liberals cheer CHP's Baykal but call for more action," Today's Zaman carries a front-page report which asserts that CHP leader Baykal's "much-debated new approach" on "religious attire" has met with the approval of "many Turkish observers and intellectuals, who call on the secularist politician to stand firm and build upon this move with more promising steps."
In an article entitled "Toward a mental Perestroika", Bugun columnist Ahmet Tasgetiren asserts that the dissatisfaction in the CHP with the single-party era in early Republican history indicated by Deniz Baykal's recent remarks looks set to lead to a rift over Kemalist principles within this party.
d) Kurdish Issue:
In an article in Hurriyet, Yalcin Dogan draws attention to the contradiction between the ban on the Kurdish language and Kurdish television broadcasts. Pointing out that Orhan Miroglu, former deputy leader of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), was sentenced to a six-month prison term for speaking in Kurdish during an election campaign, Dogan states that the same Miroglu was invited by the Turkish Radio and Television, TRT, director general to participate in a meeting to discuss Kurdish television broadcasts. Declaring that Sinan Ilhan, previously from the Iraqi Special Representation Intelligence Desk, has been appointed to head the Kurdish Hest TV, the writer finds it interesting that a person opposed to the Kurdish political movement has been brought to head the Kurdish TV.
Recalling the protests held in the southeast during Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to the region, Milliyet's Derya Sazak views the upcoming visit President Gul will make to Diyarbakir during the Feast of Sacrifice. Pointing out in his article that the tension in the region has subsided and Gul will be making his visit at a time when the atmosphere is returning to normal, Sazak quotes DTP leader Ahmet Turk as having said the following regarding Gul's visit: "I do not think that a stand will be adopted against President Gul. He is the head of state. He is our President. He has always shown sensitivity to the regional people. We are all exerting efforts to reduce the tension. The honorable Gul's visit will be positive from this point of view." In conclusion, Sazak writes: "President Gul is doing the right thing by visit Diyarbakir during the Feast of Sacrifice. One should not expect any problems."
In an article entitled "DTP's marriage with terrorism", Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Dogan slams DTP, for "trying to use the PKK as a means of boosting its political power." He claims that the DTP has a deeply paradoxical concept of politics that is irreconcilable with democracy, civilianization, and legality, adding that DTP Deputy Chairman Emine Ayna's remarks referring to the forthcoming local election as one that entails a choice between war and peace constitute an example of how this party perceives political competition as a war and political rivals as enemies.
Under the headline, "PKK plans attack on military using police vehicle," Zaman runs a front-page report which asserts that the Turkish police have foiled a PKK plan to steal police vehicles under maintenance or repair and use them in staging bomb attacks on military targets as part of a "sinister" effort to set the police and the military against one another.
e) Turkish-US Relations after Obamas election:
Government and security officials have indicated that they see Turkey's strategic future in maintaining good relations with the United States despite the anti-American sentiment in the public, writes Soli Ozel in an article in Sabah. The foreign policy agenda of the United States shows that opportunities for cooperation between the two countries will increase, claims Ozel, adding that, however, "it is important for Turkey to clearly explain its preferences and policies within the framework of an alliance."
In an article entitled "That fear scenario: Total destruction", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul highlights recent remarks by US President-elect Barack Obama, "the new neocon tenant of the White House," announcing his intention to "bring the full force of our power" to deal with the "threat" posed by the terrorists in South Asia. Karagul links Obama's remarks to Vice-President elect Joe Biden's earlier prediction that the United States would face a very serious international crisis in six months. He proceeds to comment on recent developments in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India that he claims give credence to the scenario of an apocalyptic four-day war involving Israel, Iran, Pakistan and the Middle East as a whole.
In an article entitled "America's fear", Zaman columnist Fikret Ertan argues that US State Secretary Condoleezza Rice's visit to India reflects the United States' concern about the implications of the tension in Indian-Pakistani relations caused by the Mumbai attacks. He asserts that Washington "fears" the consequences of a possible decision by Pakistan to relocate a 100,000-strong force in the east to its border with India, a move that he says would play into the hands of "the Taliban and al-Qa'ida forces along the Afghan border and in FATA" and work to the detriment of the US and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
In an article entitled "What are the Neocons forcing Obama to do?", Milli Gazete columnist Abdullah Ozkan cites the recent attacks in Mumbai as evidence that the neo-conservatives in Washington continue to remain in power following the US presidential elections, that they are extremely annoyed by Barack Obama's agenda of change, and that they are determined to go out of their way to force Obama to serve their "foul interests."
In an article entitled "Might it be Koc?", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak comments on recent allegations that businessman Rahmi Koc might be the "number one" of the Ergenekon network. He also claims the ruling AKP is likely to be targeted both by the terrorist PKK and Ergenekon in the days to come because of its plans on the southeast, adding that the recent bomb attack against the Istanbul branch of this party amounted to a "signal flare" in this sense.
In an article entitled "Black box, Agent of God or Deus ex machina?", Today's Zaman columnist Muhammed Cetin criticizes "efforts" to "associate" Tuncay Guney, an informant against Ergenekon, with "the scholar [Fethullah] Gulen" as "part of an ongoing campaign to water down the Ergenekon trial ..."