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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-12-12
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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. 239/08 12.12.08
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Ertugrul Apakan is holding contacts with US officials in WashingtonAnkara Anatolia news agency (11.12.08) reported the following from Washington D.C.:
Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ertugrul Apakan has held a series of talks with high-level officials and congressmen in Washington D.C. under the existing strategic dialogue between Turkey and the United States. During his stay in the U.S. capital city since the beginning of the week, Apakan met with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Dan Fried and some congressmen. All issues concerning both Turkey and the United States were high on agenda of the meetings. After completing his talks, Apakan left Washington D.C. for Ankara.
 Mehmet Ali Talat completed his visit to Brussels after meeting with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Finland and BritainTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (12.12.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, completed yesterday his visit to Brussels after meeting with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Finland and Britain, Alexander Stub and David Milliband respectively. While some newspapers write that Mr Talats meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Karel Schwarzeber, was postponed because of lack of time, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (12.12.08) reports that this meeting did take place.
 The Cyprus Peace Platform rounded up its contacts in BrusselsTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (12.12.08) reports that the delegation of the Cyprus Peace Platform rounded up its contacts in Brussels yesterday. Adnan Eraslan, current spokesperson of the Platform and chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Secondary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOEOS), said that they will organize a press conference regarding their contacts in Brussels when they return to the island and they will explain in detail the views of the EU officials and the members of the European Parliament.
 Foreign Ministry Spokesman denies reports on soured relations between the Turkish Republic and the Turkish Republic set up in occupied northern CyprusAnkara Anatolia (A.A) news agency (11.12.08) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin defined the several news stories about diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as misleading.
Ozugergin told A.A on Thursday that those news stories which were published on Wednesday, included misleading information. He said that Turkish Ambassador in Lefkosa was still pursuing his term in office.
Ozugergin added that Turkish ambassador had been on his mission without any interruption since the day he was appointed.
The news stories claimed that Turkey-TRNC diplomatic relations dropped to charge d' affairs level. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has not appointed an ambassador to Ankara for 3.5 months and Turkey has not appointed an ambassador to Lefkosa [occupied Lefkosia] for 2.5 months."
 The chairman of the Cyprus Human Rights and Freedoms Association said the human rights are violated in the occupied areas of CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (12.12.08) reports that Hasan Dede Tahran, chairman of the Cyprus Human Rights and Freedoms Association has said that the human rights are violated in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus and added that the laws regarding the human rights and freedoms should be harmonized with the EU and the international norms. In a statement on the occasion of the week for Human Rights, Mr Tarhan noted that the violations of the human rights are covered up by the institutions of the persons concerned in the occupied areas of Cyprus.
 British boxer: The embargos imposed on the Turkish Cypriot athletes is a crime against the humanityTurkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (12.12.08) under the title in its sports news pages, The embargo is a crime of the humanity, carries an interview of David Haye, the British world champion in light-heavyweight boxing who contested with the TRNC flag on his shorts. As the paper reports, the British boxer with the TRNC flag on his shorts became the voice of the Turkish Cypriots who are under political and sports embargo.
In his interview, David Haye talks about his life in the occupied areas of Cyprus and how the TRNC flag helped him to come out from invisibility. The British boxer said that he wanted to make known the existence of a country called TRNC and that when he was informed about the embargos imposed on the Turkish Cypriot athletes he thought that this is a crime of the humanity.
David Haye referring to the reactions over the TRNC flag on his shorts, stated, inter alia: Some persons complained about me to the English Boxing Federation, by saying There [the TRNC] is not a recognized country. It is an offence to get up on the ring with the TRNC flag. When the reaction went even further I said: If have the courage come and take off my shorts with the TRNC flag by yourself. No one had the courage. After the live broadcasting to the USA and the UK of the fight that I won the title, I get over ten million letters from Turks. After this gesture of mine, everybody began to talk about the TRNC. In addition, I got letters, even reaching to threats, from Greek Cypriots.
 Report in Hurriyet on the efforts of Turkish diplomats before the EU summitUnder the title Summit hard on Turkey in Europe, Hurriyet Daily News.com (12.12.2008) publishes the following report by Cansu Camlibel from Brussels:
Turkish diplomats had a rough time in Brussels during a foreign ministers meeting this week, with European Union President France refusing to call the process accession talks, which would imply the possibility of full EU membership for Turkey, as well as its harsh criticism of Turkeys relations with Cyprus and the slow pace of its reforms.
French opposition to full Turkish membership in the European Union was once again carved into an official document, as the final declaration of the summit of heads of states, which started yesterday, made no reference to "accession" as the final aim of the talks.
While Turkey has been enjoying a long holiday, Turkish diplomats in Brussels have had a tough time ahead of the summit. Due to the determination of the French presidency of the EU not to discuss enlargement issues during the summit, the conclusions concerning Turkey were sealed at the meeting of foreign ministers Monday.
The declaration, to be officially adopted today, reflects the unpleasant nature of relations between Ankara and Brussels, as well as the ongoing objection by France to the word accession, which implies membership to the EU.
France critical of Turkey
France not only avoided labeling Turkeys process accession negotiations but also used the term Intergovernmental conference instead of accession conference, to describe the event to be held next week to open two new negotiation chapters.
Admitting that the insistence to omit the word accession is the reflection of their President Nicholas Sarkozys well-known position against Turkey, French sources said hopes for a different text during the French presidency would only be unrealistic.
Although the French position is nothing new, a strong warning for Ankara to refrain from threatening Greece and Cyprus in disputed seas has added to problems. Turkeys obstruction to the oil prospects of Greek Cyprus in the Mediterranean found a considerable place in the EUs declaration. The wording conveyed a European perception of Turkish naval activities as a source of threat to its neighbors.
Ports must be opened
Turkey needs to commit unequivocally to good neighborly relations and to the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the United Nations Charter, having recourse, if necessary, to the International Court of Justice. The Union urges the avoidance of any kind of threat, source of friction or action which could damage good, neighborly relations and the peaceful settlement of disputes, the declaration read.
The Council also recalled its expectations of Turkey to open ports and airports to Greek Cypriot vessels and added that progress is now urgently awaited. The European Union, which suspended negotiation in eight chapters December 2006 due to Turkeys refusal to open its ports, will review the progress on the issue November 2009, which marks a new consequential deadline for Ankara. Disappointed by the harsh EU reaction in the document, Ankara argued Brussels should acknowledge that Greek Cypriots tried to undermine the ongoing peace talks on the island by undertaking unilateral activities, ignoring the rights of Turkish Cypriots.
Meanwhile, French sources claimed that they saved the opening of two new chapters with Turkey by penning a declaration favorable to Greek Cyprus. During the technical preparations for the chapter on free movement of capital, Ankara included an agreement signed with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, or TRNC, in the negotiation framework document sent to Brussels.
Since Greek Cypriots were outraged with the use of the term TRNC, which implies an independent state for Turkish Cypriots, they threatened to veto the opening of the chapter. France, not wishing to fail in its promises to open two chapters with Turkey before it hands the presidency to the Czech Republic, intervened with a formula to remove the agreement from the real document and annex it as a cover letter. According to French sources this incident was an example of Turkey not handling technical negotiations well.
Slow pace of reforms
Despite our efforts for a fair attitude towards Turkey during our EU presidency and our support for Turkeys temporary seat at the United Nations Security Council, all we get is nothing but complaints, a French diplomat said, on the condition of anonymity. France wants Turkish permission for the participation in military procurements and also the Nabucco pipeline project.
Ankara excluded Paris from all big-scale tenders after a lower house of the French Parliament adopted a bill making it a crime to deny Armenian genocide allegations in 2006. The European Union also noted with regret that Turkey was making very limited progress on political reform.
The Council is disappointed to note that over the year just passed Turkey has made only limited progress, particularly in regards to political reforms, read the summit declaration. Asking Turkey to redouble its efforts to implement the measures so long awaited, the European Union underlined that more needs to be done to reform the judiciary, fight corruption and torture, guarantee freedom of expression and religion, and protect minority rights.
Meanwhile, EU heads condemned all terrorist attacks and violence in Turkish territory in the strongest terms and expressed full solidarity with the people of Turkey. However, they also reiterated expectations that Turkey must conduct its fight against terrorism with due regard for human rights, fundamental freedoms and international law, while preserving regional peace and stability.
 Turkey set to reap the benefits of Guls visit to Armenia for the football match and talks with ArmeniaUnder the title Third parties must be quiet, Hurriyet Daily News.com (12.12.08) reports the following:
The Turkish Parliament urged the parliaments of third party countries not to disrupt the process of rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia with efforts to recognize the 1915-dated events as genocide. Politicians and parliaments cannot judge history, said Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan.
We have always warned the parliaments (of other countries) that such moves will not help the Turkey-Armenia talks. All responsible parliaments should now avoid hindering the ongoing process, Koksal Toptan Parliament Speaker told the Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review in an interview.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul was in Yerevan in a historic visit in September, paving the way to normalize relations between the two neighbors, who have had no diplomatic ties since the early '90s. Barack Obamas victory in the presidential race and his decision to appoint Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State worried Turkey, who fears a possible recognition of the 1915 incidents involving Armenian as genocide by the House of Representatives, because of the strong support both have voiced towards the Armenian lobby.
Toptan recalled that France decided to halt discussing historical events in their parliament and praised the move as positive. Its satisfactory to see that other parliaments have started to share our views on the matter, Toptan stated. Having already recognized the Armenian claims as "genocide", France had been discussing whether or not to prosecute those who denied the genocide for the last two years.
Turkey not prejudiced
Asked what the Turkish Parliament could do to help the reconciliation process with Armenia, Toptan said Parliament had no prejudices against Armenians and was ready to talk to them. 'We will do whatever we can do in terms of contributing to the ongoing process, Toptan said.
Though he said they were not prejudiced against Armenians, Toptan emphasized the fact that Armenia still occupied territories of Azerbaijan. I think Armenias withdrawal from the Nagorno-Karabagh will surely have a positive impact on the process, he said.
There are 70,000 Armenian people working in Turkey and many Turkish products are sold in Armenia, Toptan said, adding, If we continue in this direction, there will be no issues left for the Armenian diaspora to abuse.
Toptan also had messages for his European counterpart who relentlessly criticized Turkey for slowing down the reform process. Arguing that the 2007 general elections reduced the countrys motivation but had no negative impact on technical talks, Toptan said: We are speeding up ... But the EU is not implementing its own obligations. It would be unfair to put the blame on Turkey. This country has made enormous reforms in recent years.
The EU harmonization packet, including 130 new laws, was brought to the agenda of the Council of Ministers and Parliament discussed the Turkish Trade Law, Toptan said.
 Chechen Commanders were assassinated in IstanbulAccording to a report in Radikal Turkish daily newspaper (11.12.08), Chechen commander Islam Canibekov, who fought in the Chechen army against Russia, was assassinated in Istanbul's Umraniye District two nights ago. The report adds that another Chechen commander, Colonel Gazhi Edilsultanov was also assassinated in Basaksehir in September.
According to a report in Star Turkish daily newspaper (11.12.08), it is believed that the weapons used to kill Canibekov and Edilsultanov are the KGB-make MSP.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Vatan newspaper (11.12.08) wrote yesterday that according to Russia news agency, the Turkish police examines the possibility that the Chechen commander, Islam Canibekov was assassinated by KGB, since the weapons used for the assassination were especially made for the KGB (Committee for State Security of the Russian Federation).
The paper also writes that the same model of weapons might have been used in the murder of another Chechen commander in the past.
 Millions of new electors in the Turkish cities prior the local electionsUnder its front-page title, 1.4 million new electors in Istanbul, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (12.12.08) reports that while it is being debating that the number of the electors increased by six million prior to the local elections of March 29, 2009, in Turkey, Milliyet gathered information about the voters number in various cities.
Accordingly, there are 1.4 million new electors in Istanbul and 267,000 in Izmir. As the paper reports, the increase in Eastern Anatolia was also interesting. Specifically, the number of the electors in Sanliurfa which was 553 thousands was increased by 41% to 779 thousands. The province of Gaziantep came second with 35% increase.
 64 thousand Turks became citizens of the European UnionTurkish daily Bugun newspaper (12.12.08) under the title, 64 thousand Turks became EU citizens, reports that Eurostat, the EUs official statistics service, announced that Turks were the most who among foreigners became EU citizens during 2006.
According to the figures, among the 735 thousand people who became EU citizens in 2006, 64,000 were Turks, 48,000 Moroccans, 23,000 Iraqis, 21,000 Ecuadorians and 20,000 Serbians.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press of 11 December 2008Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 11 December 2008:
According to a survey conducted by the Political Researcher Strategy Development Center, the Turkish government has been unsuccessful in dealing with the economic crisis. A report Turkish daily newspaper (11.10.08) in Milliyet states that the survey was conducted in 26 provinces with the participation of 4,322 citizens. The results of the survey show that 72.3 percent of the participants believe that the Justice and Development Party, AKP, government has been unsuccessful in handling the crisis and 27.7 percent believe that it has been successful.
According to a report in Milliyet Turkish daily newspaper (11.12.08), a high-ranking delegation will be going on a tour of the Gulf countries in a bid to attract to Turkey Gulf funds that are estimated to be some $2.5 trillion. The report adds that the goal is to secure an annual investment of at least $10-15 billion for the telecommunication, retail, logistic, and energy sectors and especially for the Southeast Anatolian Project, GAP.
A report in Hurriyet Turkish daily newspaper (11.12.08) details the forecasts made by the World Bank regarding the growth rate of developing countries for the next few years. According to the World Bank, Turkey's growth rate will decline 1.7 percent in 2009 and will be about 3 percent, whereas in 2010 it will reach 4.9 percent.
Commenting on ongoing discussions on whether the global crisis will hit Turkey or not in Turkish Daily newspaper (11.12.08) the mid-section of his article in Milliyet, Melih Asik argues that such discussions have no meaning and that a single glance at the unemployment data will give us a picture of the economic situation in the country. Asik writes: "The number of individuals who applied to employment agencies in November 2007 was 59,000, while this number increased to 148,000 in November of this year. As for the figures for the last 11 months, 629,000 individuals applied for employment in 2007, while this number increased to 1,004,000 this year. While the number of those seeking employment has increased so much, the number of those who did find employment remains the same."
Relating a conversation he had with Agricultural Minister Mehdi Eker in an article in Hurriyet, Sukru Kucuksahin reports Eker as having said that the sector has not been affected by the global crisis and that there have been no layoffs. Eker explains that the need for food even in times of crisis is one of the primary reasons why the sector has not been affected by the global crisis. Last year's food crisis has also increased the strategic importance of the agricultural crisis, notes the minister, adding that the $24 billion annual food import in the Middle East is an opportunity for Turkey. Detailing the protocols signed with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia for investments in the agricultural sector, the minister declares that local businessmen have also begun investing in the sector in recent years because of the large profit margin.
Referring to the decrease in production in the industrial sector since August 2008 in an article in Ortadogu, Ulvi Izzet declares that the actual problem is the $98.648 billion debt the real sector has to pay in the long run. Pointing out that of this amount $24.238 billion has to be paid by September 2009, Izzet stresses: "The fact that a large section of the debt belongs to the industrial sector is important from the viewpoint of indicating the financial bottleneck to be experienced." Questioning how these debts are to be paid while industrial production is on the verge of collapsing, Izzet predicts massive unemployment, bankruptcies, and a halt in production and adds: "This is not a nightmare scenario. It is a very easy observation based on the data. The government must have seen this danger as well because it is not abandoning the gates of the IMF and is preparing the ground for allowing the IMF to strangle us in different ways." Arguing that the government has no choice but to reach an agreement with the IMF, the writer predicts that the IMF will impose difficult conditions for the loan to be extended and will not show the tolerance it has shown to other countries.
Focusing on the inflation target for 2009 that has been announced as 7.5 percent, Radikal columnist Fatih Ozatay explains that given the low domestic demand and the decreasing production this target will be easily met if the foreign exchange rates remain the same. The foreign currency exchange rates are an unknown, writes Ozatay, since the economic program to be implemented is also an unknown. Referring to the IMF request, as leaked by a high ranking bureaucrat, that the inflation target be kept at 13-14 percent in 2009, Ozatay argues that this is definitely not necessary because for the inflation to reach 13-14 percent the foreign currency rates have to jump considerably, adding that the likelihood of this happening is very low. Ozatay maintains that such information is being leaked by the government to justify the fact that it does not want to conclude an agreement with the IMF before the elections thus blaming the IMF for the lack of an agreement stemming from its unreasonable demands. In conclusion, the writer calls on the government to find more sound reasons to justify its actions.
According to a report by Fatma Kosar in Cumhuriyet, the results of a survey conducted by Ipsos KMG indicate that the public has entered a "crisis psychology." The report adds that 82 percent of the participants believe that the global crisis will adversely affect Turkey.
b) Local Elections:
Describing Prime Minister Erdogan as a "political magician" in an article in Vatan, Gungor Mengi argues that Erdogan who came to power by promising to eradicate "corruption, poverty, and prohibitions," has managed to increase them to the highest level. Erdogan might win in the upcoming local elections despite the cases of corruption epitomized in the Deniz Feneri [Lighthouse] case, despite the rampant poverty, and the bans imposed primarily on journalists, claims Mengi, adding that this will be achieved through the distribution of state funds to the needy in the form of food parcels and coal sacks in exchange for their votes. Accusing the government of spending state funds to lure votes instead of using them to increase employment, Mengi argues that the government will eventually turn Turkey into a huge soup kitchen.
Explaining the flaws in the voting procedures implemented during the last elections and the indifference of the authorities to these flaws in an article in Vatan, Ruhat Mengi criticizes the attitude of the High Election Council, YSK, to the flaws that have been pointed out with regards to the upcoming elections such as the sudden unrealistic increase in the number of voters, the inclusion of the dead and babies in the electoral lists, and the appearance of over 360 names in a single address. Arguing that the current system is also open to fraud and manipulation, Mengi asserts that one cannot hold elections under the current circumstances.
The principle of the legitimacy and integrity of the elections is being totally compromised with the help and the support of the YSK, claims Vatan columnist Suheyl Batum in his 600-word article, calling on the government, the YSK, and the Turkish Statistics Institute, TUIK, to give a reasonable explanation for the sudden 6 million increase in the number of voters. Accusing the YSK of committing incredible "mistakes" since 2002, Batum argues that the phenomenon of "just and honest elections" has been totally forgotten.
In an article entitled "Election contest to take place in a few cities", Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Dogan defines two goals for the political Opposition in the local elections in March 2009, namely gaining moral superiority over the ruling AKP by winning the municipal elections in a few important cities currently controlled by the AKP and using a possible minor decrease in the AKP's public approval rating as a means of launching a new process against the Erdogan government. Dogan also claims that as far as the Democratic Society Party, DTP, the Republican People's Party, CHP, and the Nationalist Action Party, MHP, are concerned, the elections will take place chiefly in the following provinces respectively: Diyarbakir, Izmir-Antalya, Mersin.
In an article entitled "How to save 2009", Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone asserts that Turkey's "losses" in 2008 can be used as a basis for mapping out a course of action for 2009 that would include the following goals: 1. Taking care to make sure the local elections in March gives rise to minimum political tension in the country. 2. Broadening the scope of democratic consensus as much as possible and establishing strong barriers against anti-democratic trends. 3. Addressing the "Kurdish issue" as an international human rights problem and trying to solve it on the basis of a nationwide consensus.
c) Turkish-EU Relations:
Describing Turkish-EU relations as the dialogue of the deaf in an article in Milliyet, Semih Idiz recalls the administrative reforms of 1839, pointing out that despite the fact that 170 years have passed since then we are still faced with the same dialogue with the West. Idiz writes: "So long as the concept of 'reform' is received with aversion by the sovereign forces, nothing will change." Summarizing the reforms demanded by the EU as the judicial reforms, the struggle against corruption, the effective safeguarding of citizens' rights, zero tolerance to torture, and the implementation of the freedoms of expression and religion, Idiz maintains that the fundamental goal of the government is not to sever its ties with the EU, adding that it is not at all concerned with speeding up the reform process. The government interprets the word "reform" to mean steps necessitated for the EU, claims Idiz, adding that had that not been the case, the reforms that are necessary for Turkey would have been implemented long ago.
Viewing the 13-article homework the foreign ministers of the EU member countries gave to Turkey in the aftermath of their meeting this week, Vatan columnist Mustafa Mutlu declares that while the first 12 articles incorporate principles that should be abided by in a real democracy, the last article, namely the one asking Turkey to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, is a purely political imposition. Ironically asking whether the issues over which Turkey is not harmonious with the EU criteria are limited to 12 topics, Mutlu wonders why the EU is not asking Turkey to amend its Political Parties Law or its Election Law which the writer believes is not fully democratic. Finding our education and social security systems also wanting, Mutlu claims that the discomfort of the EU vis-à-vis Turkey is not in what it expresses but in what it cannot express.