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

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. 235/08 06-08.12.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Detailed news report from Ankara Anatolia cites what was discussed in the Cyprus negotiations so far
  • [02] A series of TEPAV and IPC brainstorming in Berlin concluded that the Cyprus talks are key for Turkey in 2009
  • [03] Soyer: Im not standing up for a confederation
  • [04] Talat is reportedly opposing the organization of common activities between the CTP and AKEL; Columnist says the cooperation on the top of the two parties is not serious and fruitful
  • [05] Turkish foundation is presenting at the EP a book on the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots
  • [06] New think tank to replace ASAM
  • [07] Ortam newspaper criticizes the breakaway regime for inviting only in Turkey a tender for the computerization of the lands and surveys department
  • [08] Children of Martyrs want building plots in occupied Lefkosia
  • [09] New cash incentives to tour operators, airlines and shipping companies in order to increase the number of tourists visiting occupied Cyprus
  • [10] Survey results on How the Turkish Cypriots would have voted if elections were held today
  • [11] General Staff to host journalists to the Southeast
  • [12] Figures on the population in Turkey
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] From the Turkish Press of 05, 06 and 07 December 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Detailed news report from Ankara Anatolia cites what was discussed in the Cyprus negotiations so far

    Illegal Bayrak television (06.12.08) broadcast the following on an Ankara Anatolia news agency report from occupied Lefkosia:

    As the Cyprus negotiations process progresses, the Turkish Cypriot press received yesterday for the first time detailed information regarding the process and the positions of the two sides.

    According to a news report by the Anatolia news agency, there are more issues where disagreement remains outweighs the number of issues where agreement and convergence have been reached.

    According to the news report, there is a convergence on which authorities and competencies should reside with the federal government. However disagreement remains over the implementation and exercising of the authorities concerned.

    There is also said to be a divergence between the two sides on the issue of federal executive.

    While the Turkish Cypriot side is stressing that all powers, for the exception of those under the federal state, should remain with the founding state, the Greek Cypriot Side is claiming that these remaining authorities can only be discussed once full agreement is reached on federal authorities.

    An area where there is convergence in the positions of the two sides is the solution model.

    While the Turkish Cypriot side proposes a rotational presidential council based on the Swiss model, the Greek Cypriot side also wants a similar model.On the issue of deadlock solving mechanisms, the Turkish Cypriot side proposes for the creation of a committee which will be formed by two ministers, one appointed by the President and Vice President from each community. However the proposal states that the committees powers will be limited only to an advisory role.

    According to the Turkish Cypriot sides proposals, the Presidential Council should be elected for a 5 year term by the executive.

    There will be 7 members on the council, 4 of them Greek Cypriot and 3 of them Turkish Cypriot.

    The Greek Cypriot side on the other hand envisages the formation of a federal executive made up a President and Vice President and council of Ministers that will serve a 6 year term and will be elected by popular vote.

    While there is convergence between the two sides on electing a President and Vice President from different communities, there is disagreement over competencies of the office the President and Vice President.

    The Turkish Cypriot side supports a single competent office for the Presidency while the Greek Cypriot Side insists that there should be two separate offices, one for the President and another for the Vice President.There is also a divergence between the two sides on the issue of rotational presidency.

    On the Ankara Anatolia report Istanbul Sundays Zaman in English (07.12.08) publishes the following unattributed report under the title Exercise of federal authority proves hurdle in Cyprus talks:

    Cypriot leaders apparently have a high mountain to climb before they will be able to report clear progress in ongoing negotiations as part of a concerted effort to find a permanent solution to the Cyprus issue.

    On Tuesday, Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat held their 11th session of talks since a fresh bid for peace was launched on September 3 of this year.

    The Cypriot problem erupted after the eastern Mediterranean island was granted independence from Britain in 1960, as it was soon followed by an outbreak of inter-communal clashes in 1963. The island was ethnically divided between a Greek south and a Turkish north when the Turkish military intervened in 1974 under the terms of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantees after diplomacy failed to end the unrest on the island.

    Since then, numerous attempts to reach a deal have failed, including the most comprehensive effort in 2004, when the Greek Cypriots rejected -- although Turkish Cypriots approved -- a UN-backed blueprint for reunification.

    But Christofias' coming to power in February, ousting hard-liner Tassos Papadopoulos, boosted hopes for peace, and both leaders moved quickly to restart the peace process. In April, they reopened a busy shopping street in the heart of the divided capital of Nicosia, removing barricades that symbolized the estrangement of the two communities. But the talks have not lived up to hopes of a swift agreement as both leaders confront the complexities of issues such as security guarantees and the thorny issue of property rights.

    A detailed news report earlier this week from Nicosia by the Anatolia news agency showed that disagreements over questions of governance and power-sharing are greater than the compromises reached so far between the two leaders on the same issue.

    The issues on which the two sides have agreed to a large extent that should be ruled by a federal authority are: EU relations, communications, meteorology, Cypriot citizenship, immigration, granting asylum, deportation and extradition of foreigners, dealing with terrorism, drug trade; money laundering and the fight against organized crime; authority of amnesty for federal crimes; appointment of federal officials including diplomats; intellectual property; weights and measures; economic convergence; labor rights; foreign relations and defense policy; a central bank; regulation and supervision of the banking sector; federal budget and federal finance including all indirect taxes; regulation and supervision of the financial sector; airspace and aviation including Flight Information Region (FIR); international navigation; natural resources including water resources; and competition.

    Yet, there are some fundamental disagreements concerning the exercise of federal authority. These were six main items listed:

    The Turkish Cypriot side argues that the expression of federal authority does not prejudice property or operating rights, while the Greek side insists that the expression of federal authority includes these rights. This disagreement emerges in particular when the issue is property and the operation of airports.

    Acknowledging that aviation is subject to federal authority, the Turkish Cypriot side wants a continuation of the current implementation concerning the FIR, with the new Cyprus state to have separate FIRs in the north and the south. The Greek Cypriot side fiercely objects to this argument, suggesting that asking for two FIRs is the same as asking for a separate state.

    The Turkish Cypriot side wants defense policy to be a part of foreign relations authority as was once suggested in the 2004 UN reunification plan. The Greek Cypriot side wants separation of the two issues and calls for the use of defense instead of defense policy as a term.

    Agreeing that the federal government can make international agreements, the Turkish Cypriot side wants a footnote to be included which says that the two constituent states can also make international agreements within their own spheres of authority. This is objected to by the Greek Cypriot side.

    The Turkish Cypriot side has no problem with the regulation and supervision of the banking sector, regulation and supervision of the financial sector; and the oversight of competition by the federal authority. However, arguing that these are semi-judicial institutions, it wants equal participation of the two sides in these institutions. The Greek Cypriot side says it has reservations vis--vis this proposal for the moment, adding that it will reconsider it later.

    The two sides have not been able to reach agreement on the exact content of international navigation and maritime areas, either.

    In addition, during the ongoing negotiations, the Turkish Cypriot side argues that the constituent states should be able to implement the federal government's laws in appropriate situations within the framework of the principle of subsidiarity.

    Nonetheless, objecting to the subsidiarity principle, the Greek Cypriot side says that the federal government should decide whether its laws should be implemented by the constituent states.

    [02] A series of TEPAV and IPC brainstorming in Berlin concluded that the Cyprus talks are key for Turkey in 2009

    Under the title For any good in 2009, Cyprus is key, period, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (08.12.08) publishes the following report:

    It was one of those meetings that you leave satisfied even if the subject is the gloomy state of affairs between Turkey and the European Union.

    In what looks like perfect cooperation, the Economic Policy and Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV) and Sabanci University's Istanbul Policy Center (IPC), gathered some 50 people from diplomacy, academia, think tanks and the media in a series of intense sessions.

    The December cold in Berlin helps keep you indoors, concentrating. Yet, it was largely agreed that the climate -- both in relations and in the city -- was the same. With the stalemate and the uncertainties it brought, there were many more questions than answers, even though some of the participants represented decision makers in Ankara.

    The added ingredient in the gloom is, naturally, the economic crisis. In a speech that kept listeners on high alert, a prominent representative of the German banking sector warned that the consequences of the crisis would inevitably spill onto the political map of Europe, whose effects would be seen on the European Parliament elections next June. He simply alerted the audience about the radicalization fanning anti-EU, anti-immigration and xenophobic movements. Given the same type of effects, namely unemployment in Turkey, he predicted the current state of frozen relations would remain the same -- at best.

    There were some other points that need to be highlighted:

    Paralysis in Turkish-EU relations since mid-2005 needs to be blamed not only on the Justice and Development Party (AKP) but also on others and can be traced to six factors: disappointment over the EU's Cyprus policy following the rejection of a UN reunification plan by the Greek Cypriots in 2004, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) returning to violence from mid-2004, the verdict in the so-called Leyla Sahin case at the European Court of Human Rights, the formulation open ended in the process of EU accession negotiations, negative statements by France on where Turkey belongs and a need for a referendum on its full membership and the political calculations of the AKP not to pursue the EU cause because of a belief that the membership will never be attained.

    The European Parliament perceives developments (since the 2007 elections) in Turkey as mainly negative (with the only exception being regional diplomatic efforts and initiatives with neighbors) and with increasing concern. The majority that still supports Turkish accession is being weakened. The focus is now on human rights issues and the persecution of free speech, of freedom on the Internet and of freedom of assembly adds to growing dismay. Furthermore, the European Parliament is disturbed by honor killings, forced marriages (both in Turkey and Europe involving Turks and Kurds) and the current status of women.

    In Germany, negative news stories about conservative pockets of isolated cultures (in Berlin and elsewhere) were common but were lately replaced more and more by a positive debate about diversity of Turkish communities and Islam in general. This evolution, however, was not helped by harsh debates about secularism and a closure case against the AKP. This shows that Turkey first has to reach domestic reconciliation to help create positive perceptions abroad.

    EU history is full of reconciliation stories such as French-German and Eastern-Western Europe. The EU has to come to the realization that it is only possible to reconcile with the Muslim world over the Bosporus and Turkey.

    The AKP is still to be reckoned with as the sole bearer of the reform process, though its leader, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has as of late been sending mixed signals. There is a lull in the opposition, with neither the Republican People's Party (CHP) nor the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) displaying any willingness for a change of heart. There are strong rumors that the AKP will reignite the reforms soon after local elections, due in late March 2009.

    Much precious time has been wasted since the 2007 elections, leaving Turkey in deep rifts between the government and the opposition, the AKP and the military, the AKP and the judiciary, etc. In this developing context of negative interaction, there are two external elements emerging as the promoters of change: The administration of US President-elect Barack Obama and Cyprus talks.

    For 2009, the Cyprus talks are key. They will help encourage Erdogan to talk constructively with the EU and inspire new reforms in Turkey. Also, as one French diplomat put it: If ended successfully, the Cyprus talks will leave France with no choice but to unblock five chapters. So, in order to prevent another train crash (resembling that of the 2004 referenda), the EU must work seriously to make it clear to Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat that they deliver -- for real and for good.

    Finally, the need for a new chief negotiator. There was a unanimous agreement that Turkey change the pattern and appoint a hardworking official who would devote his or her entire time to the negotiations and nothing else.

    [03] Soyer: Im not standing up for a confederation

    Illegal Bayrak television (06.12.08) broadcast the following:

    Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot ruling party leaders have voiced their views over the establishment of a confederation in Cyprus.

    Prime Minister- the Leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Ferdi Sabit Soyer and Greek Cypriot Leader-AKEL Head Demetris Christofias have both said confederation would be a wrong choice.

    A bi-communal event was organized in the South by CTP and AKEL organizations last night under the slogan We are fighting for reunification, we want a solution.

    Firstly speaking, AKEL official Nicos Ioannou said comprehensive talks between the two leaders have opened a window of optimism in the way towards reaching a bi-communal, bi-zonal settlement on the basis of political equality, single sovereignty, single citizenship and single international identity as envisaged by the UN resolutions.

    Speaking next, Prime Minister and CTP Leader Soyer expressed his support to the negotiations process from the heart and underlined the need for establishing a bi-communal, bi-zonal federal solution model in Cyprus by two constituent states.

    I am not standing up for a confederation. This land is ours, its our common land and thus we need to continue struggling for a federal Cyprus, Soyer stressed.

    Taking his turn after the Premier, the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias said the launch of negotiations is promising in a way, but also noted that the first few months of negotiations have not met their expectations.Christofias added that pessimism and fatalism would be the worst pole stars for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Despite of everything, we will stay committed to the vision that foresees the reunification of two Cyprus peoples, institutions and economies in a common land, Christofias said.

    As in response to Mr Soyers statement on the issue of confederation, Mr Christofias shared the view that confederation would not be a good choice for Cyprus as he said this would be a catastrophe for the island.

    The Greek Cypriot Leader went on to say that the Greek Cypriot side definitely rejects all offers of solution imposed by foreign forces and stressed, I strongly believe in the necessity for not leaving our own destiny into others hands.

    After the speeches, the bi-communal event then continued with a dance show performed by the Gazimagusa [occupied Famagusta] Municipalitys Folk Dancing Group.

    [04] Talat is reportedly opposing the organization of common activities between the CTP and AKEL; Columnist says the cooperation on the top of the two parties is not serious and fruitful

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (08.12.08) argues that the pro-AKEL group in the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) has been activated against the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat. The paper alleges that this group wants the implementation of the agreements signed between AKEL and the CTP. The paper reports that Mr Talat accuses AKEL of carrying out fifth column activities among the Turkish Cypriots and opposes the organization of common activities.

    The leader of the pro-AKEL group, according to the paper, is the CTP MP in Famagusta Okan Dagli, who stated that no one could prevent them from organizing common activities with AKEL.

    The leader of the CTP, Ferdi Sabit Soyer, has given his permission for the activity in Famagusta because he will be running for the presidency of the party in March and he does not want to have against him the pro-AKEL group.

    Meanwhile, writing in his daily column in Turkish Cypriot Kibris newspaper (07.12.08), Hasan Hasturer reports that he participated in the activity organized by AKEL and the CTP in Deryneia, after an invitation by Mr Okan Dagli.

    He adds, inter alia, the following: In spite of my intensive program, I went. Actually, the reason for my going there was to observe the climate in which the rank and file of the CTP and AKEL were meeting. It was obvious that in spite of the beautiful words said compulsorily, it is definite that there is no serious and fruitful cooperation on the top. In spite of what is said with the leftist expressions from the past, it is observed that AKEL and the CTP are not comrades from the point of view of concrete policies. At any rate it is said that they will direct the future by referring more to their past than to the present. I feel really uncomfortable from this as a Turkish Cypriot who wants peace to become permanent in Cyprus with a lasting solution. Even before entering the room in Deryneia I saw the closeness of the rank and file of the two parties. When I compared the Greek Cypriots who applauded Ferdi Sabit Soyer with the Turkish Cypriots who applauded Christofias, I saw that Christofias received more applaud. The following comment was interesting when I asked the reason for this: Even if the policies of AKEL and Christofias are criticized, the policies and slogans uttered in the past coincide more to todays. .

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Turkish foundation is presenting at the EP a book on the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (08.12.08) reports that Turkeys Economic and Social Studies Foundation has prepared a book on the Cyprus problem which will be presented at the European Parliament (EP) on 11 December. In the research it is argued that there is no legal ground for the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.

    In statements by the foundation to ABhaber website, it is noted that the aim of the book is the evaluation of the validity of the isolations from the legal point of view and to show that the isolations could be lifted without needing to officially recognize the TRNC, breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] New think tank to replace ASAM

    In his column in Turkish daily Zaman newspaper (05.12.08) under the title: "Which one is funnier, ASAM or AROG?" columnist Ihsan Dagi comments on the impending closure of the Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies, ASAM, following the Ulker Group's withdrawal of its financial support for this institution. Dagi refers to this development ironically as "a major loss in the name of militarism" because it means that "we will no longer have a 'think tank' that sells plans to attack this or that target or its own citizens under the guise of a grand strategy ..." He also describes allegations that the Erdogan government persuaded the Ulker Group to stop funding ASAM as a conspiracy theory that should be more amusing than a forthcoming Turkish comedy film named AROG.

    [07] Ortam newspaper criticizes the breakaway regime for inviting only in Turkey a tender for the computerization of the lands and surveys department

    Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (08.12.08), under the title What happened with the 8-trillion tender, refers to the tender, which was invited in Turkey for the computerization of the records of the title deeds, land and surveys department. The paper notes that the ministry of interior said nothing about the reactions to the fact that the firms in the occupied areas have not been trusted and the tender was opened only for firms from Turkey.

    The paper writes:

    The citizens, while asking why the TRNC firms are not trusted for the title deed records which include secrecy, are also asking if the reliability of the private firms in Turkey is higher than ours. While the minister of interior does not reveal who will pay the trillions of liras which will be given to the firms in Turkey, it cannot reply to the question why it did not assign the work to the TRNC firms, which face financial difficulties.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Children of Martyrs want building plots in occupied Lefkosia

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (06.12.08) reports that children of Martyrs from Morfou, said that in case they receive the building plots allocated to them in occupied Kapouti village then they will consider themselves unjustly treated.

    The paper reports that drawing of lots for the building plots in occupied Kapouti village started yesterday.

    The paper goes on and reports that drawing of lots did not finish because of the objections raised by the holders of the right, and the argument between the holders of right and the self-styled interior ministry people.

    The children of the Martyrs protested by saying that if they get the building plots from Kapouti they will be unjustly treated.

    The paper reports that of the 330 holders of the right only part of them took part in the draw and the rest will do so after the Bayram if they want.

    Speaking to protesters of the holders of the right, the self-styled minister of interior Ozkan Murat had admitted that some faults had happened and said that infrastructure of the plots were completed and they are in a position to give title deeds to the holders of the right.

    Mr Ozkan said that he is not in a position to provide building plots to the children of Martyrs in other areas than in Morfou. He said it is not possible to allocate them plots in Lefkosia. He went and said that until now they have given title deeds to 1500 people.

    (MHY)

    [09] New cash incentives to tour operators, airlines and shipping companies in order to increase the number of tourists visiting occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot weekly Cyprus Today newspaper (6-12.12.08) reports the following:

    The government has launched a financial incentive scheme to encourage tour operators, hotels, airlines and shipping companies to bring greater numbers of tourists to North Cyprus.

    Tour operators who are members of the Turkish Cypriots Travel Agents Union (Kitsab) will receive 40 euros for every tourist placed in a hotel which is a member of the Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers Union (Kitob) for at least five nights or longer.

    Tourists who stay more than five nights will earn travel companies and operators an additional five euros per night. However, the total incentive paid for each tourist cannot exceed 50 euros, according to the new rules.

    Tour operators who bring tourists to single, two and three star hotels for at least four nights will receive 40 euros per person.

    The incentive period covers from November 1, 2008 to December 31, 2010, says the Council of Ministers. Payments will be made for tourists from any country except Turkey.

    A sliding scale of payments will also apply to tour operators who bring in large numbers of tourists. A total of 20 euros per person will be paid to operators who attract between 2,000 and 3,999, 30 euros for those who bring in between 4,000 and 5,999, 40 euros for 6,000 to 7,999 and 45 to those who supply 8,000 to 9,999. More than 10,000 will earn operators 50 euros per person.

    Airlines will also win annual incentives on the condition that their flights are scheduled.

    Airlines which carry more than 1,000 tourists, who stay for at least seven nights in a hotel, will receive a 5,000-euro bonus.

    Those who carry between 2,000 and 2,999 tourists into the country will receive 20,000 euros. And a total of 30,000 euros will be paid to airlines every time they bring in more than 3,000 visitors.

    Shipping companies will also benefit from the scheme. Those who bring tourists into the TRNC who are subsequently found accommodation in a Kitob member hotel will receive 50 per cent of their fuel costs from the state for each return journey.

    The governments will also subsidize up to 50 per cent of the advertisement campaigns of hotels which are members of Kitob, including internet advertising.

    And incentives to tour operators which bring groups from other countries including Turkey for seminars, conferences and meetings for two nights will also be paid on the condition that these contribute to lowering ticket prices. A total of 15 euros per tourist will be paid. Twenty-five (25) euros will be paid for those staying for three nights or more.

    [10] Survey results on How the Turkish Cypriots would have voted if elections were held today

    Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (05.12.08) under the front page title No comment publishes the results of a survey conducted by the Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi internet site on the question for which party they would vote if elections were held today.

    According to Kibris Postasi, the survey was conducted on November 23rd, 2008 and following are the survey results on a sample of 2846 people:

    Republican Turkish Party (CTP) 29%

    National Unity Party (UBP) 30%

    Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) 14%

    Social Democrat Party (TDP) 7%

    Democratic Party (DP) 4%

    New Cyprus Party (BKP) 5%

    United Cyprus Party (BKP) - 2%

    None 10%

    (ML)

    [11] General Staff to host journalists to the Southeast

    Under the title Operation at -10 degrees, Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (08.12.08) reports that the Turkish military is after the terrorists despite the cold that exists in the Eastern and South Eastern mountains of Turkey. According to the paper, two terrorists have been killed after a hot encounter with the Turkish Security Forces.

    In addition, Istanbul HurriyetDailyNews.com (07.12.08) reported the following:

    Turkish military said late on Friday its air forces attacked PKK positions in northern Iraq. The army said in a statement posted on its Web site the jets bombed the targets of terror organization on the Iraq's Qandil Mountains, in which PKK leadership is hiding and the terrorists are training.

    This year Turkey has launched several air force attacks and one major ground operation against PKK bases across the border with Iraq. Earlier on Friday, the state-run Anatolian Agency reported that Iranian forces were also shelling the Qandil Mountains alongside with the bombing of Turkish war jets.

    Turkey and Iran have been long fighting against the terrorist movements operated by both the PKK and its Iranian wing Party for Free Life in Kurdistan (PEJAK). The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community, including the EU and the United States.

    Moreover, Turkish daily Sabah online newspaper (07.12.08) reports the following:

    The Turkish army has decided to go on with its operations in its struggle against terror during the religious festival. Meanwhile, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has begun to disintegrate.

    The General Staff will organize a tour for the journalists in southeastern Turkey on Sunday and Monday, the first day of the religious festival.

    On the occasion of the religious festival, Chief of the General Staff Gen Ilker Basbug and the force commanders has visited the Military Rehabilitation and Care Centre to congratulate the heroes from southeastern Turkey, who are receiving medical treatment. General Basbug asked the wounded military personnel to inform him on their problems and established their needs.

    (EA)

    [12] Figures on the population in Turkey

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (08.12.08) under the title, The population decreased in 44 cities, reports that by comparing the two latest population census in Turkey it appears that the population in 37 administrative provinces increased and in another 44 administrative provinces decreased. According to the information given by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TUIK), the city with the biggest increase was Istanbul.

    As the paper reports, the population in Turkey has risen by 2.782.329 in eight years. Specifically, the population in 2000 was 67.803.00, while in 2008 it reached 70.586.256 people. The population increase rate, which this year was estimated at 1.18%, in 2010 will regress to 1.11%, while in 2015 it will be below 1%.

    In addition, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (06.12.08) reports the following:

    More than 18 percent of the Turkish population lived below the poverty line in 2007 while around 0.5 percent lived below the hunger line, according to a recent statement released by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat).

    TurkStat released its 2007 Poverty Study yesterday. According to the study, posted on the TurkStat Web site, 18.56 percent of the Turkish population lives below the poverty line, which refers to the minimum amount a family needs in order to pay its rent and meet its basic needs, such as food, transportation, clothing and education. Another 0.54 percent of Turks live below the hunger line, the monthly cost to adequately feed a family. Around 0.74 percent of the population was below the hunger line in 2006, and the percentage of those below the poverty line was 17.81 percent.

    The hunger level for a family of four was calculated as YTL 237 in 2007, and the poverty level was YTL 619. The survey also revealed that people living in rural areas are poorer compared to those living in urban areas.

    While the amount of people in rural areas living below the poverty line was 32.18 percent in 2007, it was 10.61 percent for those living in urban areas. The rate of poverty is, understandably, directly related to the number of family members. While the poverty rate for families of three or four members was 9.28 percent last year, this figure was 42.07 percent for families with seven or more members.

    A family's economic status is also related to the sector in which the family's breadwinners work. Those working in the agricultural sector are most likely to face the risk of poverty, with 30.22 percent under the poverty line in 2007. Around 10 percent of those working in the industrial sector were living in poverty while this figure was 7.83 for those in the service sector. The rate of poverty among families whose members were in search of jobs was 26.56 percent.

    The more educated the members of a family, the more likely the family is to be prosperous, according to the survey. While 34.76 percent of families who are illiterate were below the poverty line in 2007, this figure was 14.9 for primary school graduates, 8.16 for high school graduates and 0.9 for university graduates.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] From the Turkish Press of 05, 06 and 07 December 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 05, 06 and 07 December 2008:

    a) Local Elections:

    According to a report by Sakir Aydin in Milliyet (05.12.08), the Republican People's Party, CHP, following its recent overtures to he addressed and chador-wearing women, has now chosen a retired imam to be its candidate for the local elections in Istanbul's Sultanbeyli District. After choosing former imam Osman Nuri Bedir as a candidate, CHP Deputy Secretary General Mehmet Sevigen has asked the conservative population of Sultanbeyli to pardon the party for ignoring them until now and requested the votes of everyone including "those donning the gown of imams and turbans."

    According to a report by Onder Yilmaz and Latif Sansur in Milliyet (05.12.08), CHP Izmir Deputy Ahmet Ersin has claimed that the AKP is preparing the electoral lists based on addresses in regions where its chances of winning are weak and based on surnames in regions where it wants to win, a system which the CHP claims is very difficult supervise. Accusing the AKP of tampering with the electoral lists, Ersin maintains that"the security of the elections is no longer in the hands of the High Election Council, YSK."

    Questioning the six million jump in the number of votes within 14 months, in Ortadogu newspaper (05.12.08) columnist Mustafa Ertekin expresses his doubts concerning the data that showed a decrease in the population when the GNP was being calculated as opposed to this sudden increase on the eve of the elections. In his column Ertekin asserts that if the current figures are right then the results of the 22 July elections are questionable and if the 22 July figures were right then the upcoming elections will be questionable.

    In his editorial under the title "Overture or disintegration," in Hurriyet (06.12.08) columnist Oktay Eksi say CHP leader Deniz Baykal is making controversial overtures to the Islamists fearing defeat at the local elections and subsequent loss of party leadership, adding that such overtures that blur the line between the CHP and AKP are, however, fraught with the danger of undermining the Ataturk reforms.

    Commenting on the rift among the Hurriyet columnists over Baykal's overtures to Islamists in a column entitled "Hold on brother Deniz," in Hurriyet (06.12.08) director Ertugrul Ozkok says he does not side with Oktay Eksi, Bekir Coskun, Mehmet Y. Yilmaz, and Tufan Turenc who are critical of Baykal, but rather with Ahmet Hakan, Cuneyt Ulsever, and Enis Berberoglu who support Baykal, arguing that Baykal and Erdogan must resist pressure from their street-level partisans and adopt courageous steps to bridge the social polarization and normalize the political life. Ozkok urges Baykal to remain "steadfast and not to backtrack" from his present policy of allowing headdressed women into his party. In contrast to such a courageous move by the CHP, the AKP remains averse to any creative debate inside the party declares Ozkok, adding that for there be peace in Turkey the AKP should question its "religiosity," MHP its "nationalism," DTP its "Kurdism," and CHP its "populism." Ozkok also believes Turkey needs a courageous "iconoclastic" president, lamenting that President Abdullah Gul could not visit Diyarbakir for Feast of Sacrifice greetings with Kurds because of an ear infection.

    Commenting on Baykal's endorsement of chador and rejection of unidimensionalism on attire during the one-party regime in an article entitled "Is The State Paradigm Undergoing a Change?," in Sabah (06.12.08) columnist Ergun Babahan says that this time around it seems as if the CHP, the founder of the republic, has embarked on a well-planned and comprehensive radical policy overhaul that aims at depriving the AKP of sole control of large masses, at reconciling with at least a segment of intellectuals, and at addressing the grievances of the conservative groups. Babahan believes all countries will be affected by the winds of change blowing in Washington, and Baykal might have finally grasped the fact that his party too must change. But given that this is a forced change, it will not be easy for Baykal to effectuate this reform without support from the leading party officials, especially from secular women groups inside the party.

    Under the banner headline "Right to be elected has not actually been granted," Vakit (06.12.08) carries a front-page report which highlights comments made by former MP Merve Kavakci who argues that the current regime in Turkey curtails the political rights of women covering their heads.

    A report entitled "Head of CHP Istanbul branch: 'Overture about Chador will be a lasting policy, not an election tactic" in Zaman (06.12.08) quotes Gursel Tekin, head of the CHP's branch in Istanbul as saying that they have decided to open the party's doors to Muslim women covering their heads after conducting surveys in some suburbs where conservative people live in the past 16 months. Tekin predicts that the CHP's candidate for Istanbul mayor who will be named after conducting further opinion polls will defeat the candidate to be named by the ruling Justice and Development Party in the upcoming local elections.

    In an article entitled "Deniz Baykal's critical threshold," in Zaman (06.12.08) columnist Mehmet Kamis says that CHP leader Deniz Baykal is sincere in his efforts to reach out to conservative voters, but cannot act in an unwavering manner. Pointing out that religious people in Turkey only want more freedoms and have no intention of changing the regime, Kamis comments: "Deniz Baykal will either give up because of negative reactions or tension resulting from his third overture or will earn his place in history books by pursuing that policy at any cost."

    In an article entitled "Can Baykal be Turkey's Gorbachev?" in Zaman (06.12.08) columnist Ali Bulac says that right-wing political parties deceive conservative voters by making empty promises about Islam and headscarf while exploiting their fears that their religious rights could be curtailed if the CHP comes to power. He says: "This stratagem must be foiled. Baykal has intellectual capabilities that would make him to make that analysis easily. The CHP and Baykal are capable of carrying out major reforms in Turkey just like the Communist Party and Gorbachev rebuilt Russia."

    In an article entitled "CHP and intellectuals," in Today's Zaman (06.12.08) columnist Mumtazer Turkone analyzes reasons behind Baykal's attempts to win over religious voters and says: "The CHP's new identity, born out of self-criticism, and democratic intellectuals' criticisms of the AK Party are causing a convergence between these two groups, which come from the same social class. This convergence is still very weak, although it contains important hints about future. The AK Party is the only holder of the universal liberal values advocated by these intellectuals. The CHP has a very long way to go in order to take these values from the hands of the AK Party."

    Melih Asik argues in a column in Istanbul Milliyet (07.12.08) that the administration has limited the responsibilities of the High Election Council and that the institution is now responsible only for putting up the electoral rolls, which are drawn up by the directorates of the Public Registration Offices. Claiming that many unlawful measures have been put into effect for the elections, he argues that the voting will create many questions and warns: The outcome of the elections will quickly lead to serious disputes and arguments if the Turkish Grand National Assembly [TBMM] fails to attach importance to the objections and warnings of the opposition parties and the public opinion.

    Focusing on the statements CHP [Republican People's Party] leader Deniz Baykal makes to defend his administration's decision to register women in chadors as party members, Okay Gonensin argues that he should now move to call for freedom for the use of the Islamic headdress. In a column in Istanbul Sabah (07.12.08), he notes: Baykal does not seem to be interested in freedom of thought, journalist Hrant Dink's murder and many other political crimes, and the Kurdish problem. Nor does he seem to be interested in Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. As in the case of the AKP [Justice and Development Party] and many of the pro-AKP columnists, he seems to equate freedoms only with the headdress and the chador. Claiming that Deniz Baykal has adopted the views of the AKP and the supporters of political Islam, Gonensin wonders what will happen if his new initiative fails to help the CHP achieve success in the elections.

    In an article entitled "Not without prestige!" in Yeni Safak (07.12.08) columnist Fehmi Koru says that as a result of his pro-freedom overture targeting all women who cover their heads Baykal actually removed a "tight shirt" which he had put on the CHP. He comments: "All chador-wearing women and others who cover their heads will not rush to join the CHP simply because they were delighted by Baykal's new overture. It will also not lead to a substantial increase in votes to be cast for the CHP. But, this overture will at least restore prestige to social democrats."

    According to a report entitled "AKP [Justice and Development Party] leads by wide margin in Istanbul according to Genar Poll" in Zaman (07.12.08) 50.9 percent of the respondents who were interviewed during an opinion poll conducted by Genar in Istanbul said that they intend to vote for the AKP. The ruling party was followed by the CHP with 31.6 percent and the Nationalist Action Party with 10.3 percent.

    In an article entitled "The overture should continue without losing momentum" in Zaman (07.12.08) columnist Mustafa Unal says that Baykal's overture to conservative voters should be regarded not as a move aimed at turning it into a right-wing party, but as an attempt to save his party from a possible demise by trying to reach out to all segments of society. Emphasizing that Baykal's latest overture will certainly command sympathy from the public and prompt more people to vote for the CHP, Unal comments: "The CHP has remained under the shadow of the State so far is now discovering the country's realities and the public. It was an encouraging move, albeit it has been delayed and even if it was actually an election tactic. Baykal should not retreat in the face of objections voiced by nationalists like Arat. He must continue his march toward people."

    b) Supreme Military Council Decisions:

    In an article entitled "I cannot decide whom I should look after," in Yeni Safak (06.12.08) columnist Fehmi Koru responds to allegations that he wrote an article advising Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to make reservations about Supreme Military Council or YAS decisions to expel some members of the Turkish Armed Forces due to their links with fundamentalist organizations because President Abdullah Gul's approval of those decisions opposed by politicians had made Koru feel uncomfortable. Emphasizing that he has never written an article to support or advise any politician, Koru comments: "I do not need to guide or protect President Abdullah Gul because he is actually doing his job appropriately. Thus, I wish that every new opinion that I voice and every comment I make after thinking over them night and day will prove beneficial to Prime Minister Erdogan. One of every two articles that I write is the result of that approach. My article about the recent YAS decision was also written for that purpose. They should stop expressing their reservations and demonstrate that there is accord within the YAS until a lasting solution is found or the generals are convinced."

    In an article entitled "Yasar Kemal and YAS decisions," in Yeni Safak (06.12.08) columnist Resul Tosun says that Erdogan and Minister of Defense Vecdi Gonul have done the right thing by expressing reservations about the YAS decision to expel 24 officers. Noting that the President should have vetoed the decision, Tosun says: "The President should be able to return such decisions made by the military because he is the commander-in-chief. The President expressed reservations about similar decisions during his tenure as Prime Minister and his approval of the recent decision, therefore, contradicted with his stance in the past."

    c) U.S. Turkish relations:

    In a column in Istanbul Milliyet (07.12.08), Fikret Bila narrates his talks with the students of the Wilkes University on the war in Iraq and the relations between the United States and Turkey. He notes that the students were convinced that the US intervention in Iraq was aimed at placing the oil in that country under control, guaranteeing Israel's security against Iraq and Iran, and moving closer to the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Bila says that he responded to the many questions the students put to him on Turkey and adds: The students were generally satisfied with the way I responded to their questions. However, the questions they asked showed that the foreign countries are not appropriately informed on Turkey.

    Mustafa Balbay views Ankara's relations with Washington during the Bush era and wonders how the changes in the White House will affect the two countries. Stressing in a column in Istanbul Cumhuriyet (07.12.08) that many experts believe that a favorable atmosphere will exist because Hillary Clinton is well-informed on Turkey, he notes: Obama's preferences showed that the democrats and the republicans do not dispute on US interests. We have said many times that the Turkish politicians should adopt a similar approach. We concentrate on what foreign officials think about Turkey but we fail to concentrate on what we should think about them. It seems we are convinced that is the most practical approach in our relations with the United States.

    EG/


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