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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-12-23
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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. 245/08 23.12.08
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Christofias and Talat met for the 13th timeAnkara Anatolia news agency (22.12.08) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia:
President Mehmet Ali Talat of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Greek Cypriot administration Demetris Christofias on Monday committed to try their best to achieve a solution in Cyprus soon.
Talat and Christofias met for the 13th time under the full-fledged talks aiming at finding a permanent solution to the Cyprus issue.
Alexander Downer, UN Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Cyprus, who also attended the meeting in the buffer zone in Lefkosia, read out a joint statement after 3-hour meeting of Talat and Christofias.
The statement reaffirmed determination of the two leaders to achieve a comprehensive solution in Cyprus yet noted that progress recorded in the negotiation process was insufficient and that there were still issues that needed to be negotiated.
This was the last meeting of the Cypriot leaders for 2008. They are scheduled to meet on January 5, 2009.
The Turkish Cypriot newspapers (23.12.08) covered yesterdays meeting as follows:
KIBRIS: It is difficult but possible. Talat and Christofias had yesterday their last meeting in 2008.
YENI DUZEN: A joint statement from Talat and Christofias after the last meeting in 2008: The soonest the solution.
ORTAM: A promise for solution from the leaders.
HALKIN SESI: More zeal in 2009
BAKIS: The leaders gave hopes.
VATAN: More efforts for the outcome.
KIBRISLI: Solution light from the leaders
STAR KIBRIS: Fruitful meeting.
AFRIKA: Talat distributed the new year gifts
VOLKAN: Talat: our aim is to solve the Cyprus problem in 2009
GUNES and SOZCU papers do not report on the meeting.
 Avci accuses President Christofias that he denies the existence of the Turkish Cypriot peopleTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.12.08) reports that the so-called deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister Turgay Avci, in a written statement, said that President Demetris Christofias is trying to remove the sovereignty and political equality of the Turkish Cypriots by denying the historic realities in the island and the existence of the Turkish Cypriot people. Avci also added that Christofias is trying not to take in account the TRNC which was constituted by the Turkish Cypriot people using their right of self-determination.
 Soyer said that more decisive control will be carried out in the crossing pointsTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.12.08), under the title A decisive control of the shopping from the South, reports that there will be control at the crossing-points for Turkish Cypriots shopping goods from the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus worth more than 135 euro. The self-styled prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer, in a statement at the so-called TRNC assembly, said that the occupation regime will apply the necessary procedure within the framework of regulations for shopping more than 135 euro. He also added that meat, meat products, milk and dairy products are forbidden to be transferred to the occupied areas. Soyer noted that on this matter they will carry out a careful but decisive control at the crossing points.
 Ankara welcomes consensus reached at the European Council Meeting on 11-12 DecemberAnkara Anatolia news agency (22.12.08) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that Turkey welcomed the understanding of consensus reached on issues such as the completion of the ratification process of Lisbon Treaty by the end of 2009 and importance of the continuation of the Middle East Peace Process, during the European Council meeting held on December 11-12.
Releasing an information note, the ministry said that the European Council convened at the end of the French Presidency of EU, in a period of significant developments in the globe and in Europe.
The note said that Turkey attached importance to the decisions adopted during such summit.
We welcome the understanding of consensus reached during the European Council regarding the completion of the ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of 2009. This is also important for the robust continuation of the enlargement process, the ministry said.
The ministry also said Turkey found it important that the Heads of States endorsed a declaration emphasizing that the Middle East Peace Process would continue to be an issue of priority in 2009.
Turkey, as well known, supports the efforts to find a fair and long-lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of the vision of two-states living side by side within secure and recognized borders. Turkey's initiatives regarding the Syria-Israel indirect peace talks that have been re-launched after an 8-year-break in May 2008 will continue, the ministry added.
 Erdogan to visit Brussels in January. The EU has high expectations from Turkey regarding its commitments on the Cyprus problemUnder the title PM rediscovers route to Brussels Turkish daily HurriyetDailyNews.com (23.12.08) reports from Ankara the following:
It has been four years since PM Erdogan last visited Brussels. In January, however, he will stage a grand return to show a renewed interest in EU accession talks. Concerned of Turkish sincerity about achieving full membership, European officials hope his visit signals the beginning of increased effort toward reform. After a four-year suspension of all trips to the European Union capital Brussels, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is readying for a landmark visit at the beginning of 2009.
Erdogan, who has been criticized for his lack of presence on the European scene and reluctance toward reforms, will mark his return to the EU agenda as a priority for 2009 with his visit to Brussels.
Erdogan will pay a two-day visit January 19 upon the invitation of the European Commissions President Jose Manuel Barosso, the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review has learned. Erdogans visit will include high-level talks with top names from all European institutions, including the EUs Foreign Policy and Security Chief Javier Solana and the European Parliaments President Hans-Gert Pottering. Erdogan will also deliver speeches at meetings organized by prominent think tanks, the European Policy Center and the Friends of Europe. Although preparations have begun, the Prime Ministers program is not yet finalized and doors have been left open for last-minute changes.
Erdogans weak presence in Europe coupled with the governments declining reform momentum have been major sources of criticism by the EU. The last time Erdogan visited Brussels was for the European Summit on December 17, 2004, when Turkey was given an accession date for talks. Barosso, who came to Ankara in April, invited Erdogan to Brussels during their meeting on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.
Erdogans timing for the long-awaited visit, however, comes as a result of in-depth assessments for the year 2009, which was recently announced as a litmus test for Turkeys accession talks by the EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn. After one or two years of domestic difficulties, we would expect Turkey now to shift into a new gear and seriously start to pursue the reforms again, Rehn was quoted as saying by Reuters on Sunday.
Lack of unified stance for EU
Despite President Abdullah Guls commitment to firm messages about Turkeys EU path and Foreign Minister Ali Babacans work as chief negotiator, the country lacks a solid and unified stance due to Erdogan giving the cold shoulder to reform, according to EU diplomats.
The EU champions Erdogans involvement in the process as the countrys top executive because there is an urgent need to re-vitalize enthusiasm. Erdogans controversial statement "Love it or leave it," his lack of tolerance of criticism, increased reports of torture, the launching of a war against the media and underestimating the global credit crisis have all been sources of concern in Europe. Although Erdogans presence in Brussels after a long period will mark an important step in re-assuming the EU perspective, Erdogan will have to support this move with his actions during 2009.
Expectations from Ankara are not only limited to areas concerning religious freedoms, minority rights or judicial reform, but also extend to long-standing commitments on the Cyprus problem. The EU wants Turkey to take a stronger stance in support of a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus in 2009.
In its progress report in 2009, the European Commission will assess Turkeys progress toward implementing the Additional Protocol, which requires the opening of ports and airports to Greek Cyprus.
Despite the rejection of the UN-led Annan Plan for reunification of the island, Greek Cyprus was let into the 27 nation-bloc in May 2004, providing obstacles in Turkeys entry talks ever since.
The EU suspended talks on eight chapters in December 2006, due to Ankara's refusal to open ports to Greek Cyprus.
EU officials have said privately that progress in Cyprus reunification talks next year will be essential for Turkey to move forward in EU accession talks. Rehn said, in an interview, next year should be the year of a settlement in Cyprus, urging all parties, and in particular Turkey, to step up efforts.
 Statements of the French ambassador to Ankara on Turkeys EU courseTurkish daily HurriyetDailyNews.com (23.12.08) reports the following from Ankara:
While France readies to deliver the EU presidency to the Czech Republic, top French envoy to Ankara says Turkey should be grateful to French presidency as it resulted in the opening of the two chapters despite pessimistic expectations.
With 10 days left until the end of the presidency term of the European Union, a top French envoy in Ankara said Turkey should be grateful to the French presidency, for the opening of two chapters despite pessimistic expectations six months ago.
You have to consider deeds and facts. If you look at what has been achieved, I think Turkey should be grateful to the French presidency, Bernard Emie Frances ambassador to Turkey told the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review in an interview yesterday.
I guess some people in Turkey were surprised that the French presidency behaved as it did to move forward on many issues. That is exactly where we are. We made some commitments and we fulfilled those commitments, Emie said, adding that the French presidency had kept its promise to be fair, neutral and impartial during the six-month period.
Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, is known for his opposition to Turkeys full membership of the EU. France has already blocked the opening of five chapters directly related to full membership status. Public opinion in France is also not very warm to the idea of Turkeys accession to the EU. France carried out the presidency term under conditions that worried Ankara about the future of talks.
We just feel we have done the utmost to work for this brilliant result of the opening of two chapters. Let me be very frank. The French system pushed extremely hard and we had to lobby here in Ankara for certain decisions to be made. Otherwise it would have been more difficult to consider opening those two chapters, Emie said.
We were extremely proactive, which has meant success at the end of the presidency.Reforms not pushed enough
When asked about his assessment of the pace of reforms in Turkey, Emie said messages had been given to Turkey by various European institutions about the reform process not being pushed through enough by authorities and that was clearly reflected in the European Commissions annual progress report and in other key EU documents. I realize the official position of this country is to continue boldly and swiftly in the direction of negotiations, but we are disappointed because we feel that there should and could be more. That is not only a French assessment, but all the members assessment, he said. Due to the continuous political crisis and elections in the country, the government could not focus on the reform process to speed up negotiations with the EU. Olli Rehn, EUs commissioner responsible for enlargement, openly urged Turkey to proceed with reforms after local elections.
Similarly to Rehn, Emie said, The pace of the negotiation process will continue to depend on reforms, especially in the political field, but also on the establishment of good neighborly relations and the implementation of an additional protocol to the association agreement.
There is no alternative. If there is no reform and progress, then it will be difficult to progress with negotiations, he said. Among the priorities Turkey should pursue are to continue judicial reform, establish an anti-corruption strategy, ensure effective protection of citizens rights, full implementation of zero tolerance toward torture, ensure freedom of religious expression, strengthen cultural rights and implement measures for social and economic development in the Southeast.
Better climate between Turkey and France
According to Emie, the presidency term has also had a positive impact on Turkish-French bilateral ties. "The atmosphere is not perfect but it is much better," he said, adding that the French parliament made a decision not to vote on a law that would punish those who denied the Armenian genocide. Turkish public opinion should listen to this, he said.
Asked about his expectations from Turkeys non-permanent membership to the UN Security Council, Emie said they were happy about Turkeys election to the prestigious seat. Turkey will be in the European group that is why we expect Turkey to be a very active and close partner, and to take the initiative, he said.
It is going to be huge responsibility for this country because when you are in the Security Council you have to think about the interests of the international community. You are not there to defend your own interests. You have to play an important role in all issues. So we are sure Turkey will behave accordingly.
 Israeli Premier to hold contacts with Gul and Erdogan on bilateral issues and Middle East talksAnkara Anatolia news agency (22.12.08) reported the following from Ankara:
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has arrived on a working visit in Ankara. Olmert was welcomed at Ankara's Esenboga Airport by Ankara Governor Kemal Onal, Israeli Ambassador to Ankara Gabi Levy, Turkey's Ambassador to Tel Aviv Namik Tan, and other officials.
In a brief statement to reporters upon his arrival in Ankara, Olmert expressed his pleasure at visiting Turkey.
Olmert, who will be received by President Abdullah Gul this evening, will meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He will depart Ankara later tonight following his meetings.
Bilateral relations and regional issues focusing on the Middle East peace process will be discussed during the Erdogan-Olmert talks.
Olmert is paying farewell visits to world leaders with whom he worked during his term in office. He is serving as the prime minister until a new government is established in the wake of the elections to be held in his country in February.
 Iraqi President alleges that PKK era of violence and terror was overAnkara Anatolia news agency (22.12.08) reported the following from Ankara:
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani commented on Monday on PKK terror and said the era of violence and terror was over.
In an exclusive interview with private TV channel, CNN Turk, Talabani said a new era of political dialogue, peaceful struggle and diplomacy had begun.
Talabani referred to Democratic Society Party (DTP) chairman Ahmet Turk's recent visit to Iraq noting that they supported their approach seeking a peaceful solution to the issue.
He said with the help of the Kurdish population in Iraq, they were ready to exert efforts to urge terrorists on mountains to lay down their weapons and help the political process in Turkey to flourish.
Talabani said unlike the past there was a political party (DTP) representing the Kurds in Turkey, at the Parliament, noting that the way to struggle with the issue was through politics and not violence.
He said Kurds in Turkey needed to understand that their problems could not be solved with PKK's, but DTP's methods.
Commenting on Turkish President Abdullah Gul's recently postponed visit to Iraq, Talabani said it would have served to enhance the relations between the two countries and increase the efficiency of the strategic agreement signed by prime ministers of the two countries.
He said the Kurdish leaders in Iraq were enthusiastic about enhancing relations with Turkey, noting that Iraqi Kurds were starting to grasp the importance of good neighborly relations with Turkey.
We favor boosting our relations with Turkey in the areas of economy, politics, fuel oil, natural gas and commerce, said Talabani.
 Turkey to purchase 32 strike helicopters from RussiaTurkish daily HurriyetDailyNews.com (22.12.08) reported the following:
Turkey plans to buy 32 Mi-28 strike helicopters from Russia after its request to buy Cobra and Super Cobra helicopters from the United States was turned down, Turkish and Russian media reports said on Monday.
Turkey will pay nearly $1 billion for the helicopters, the reports said.
The Turkish armed forces had planned to buy ten second-hand Cobras from the U.S. while waiting the production and adoption of the first T-129 helicopters, they added.The U.S. Department of State however declined the Turkish request citing the absence of available helicopters of this type, and offered as a substitute, AH-64 Apache helicopters from Boeing.
Media reports said command of the ground forces of Turkey had earlier rejected Mangusta helicopters offered by Italy as a provisional substitute, despite their being chosen for joint production. According to the command, A-129 helicopters of current configuration do not comply with the requirements of the ground forces of Turkey.
According to sources, the Turkish authorities finally negotiated with Rosoboronexport on the urgent purchase of 32 Mi-28 helicopters.
 Turkey retrieves from Germany a number of historical artifactsAnkara Anatolia news agency (22.12.08) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkey has retrieved a number of stolen historical artifacts, a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Monday.
The artifacts, including oil lamps, ancient cups, bronze women figure, which were stolen from the southern province of Didim in 2002 and smuggled abroad, were retrieved in Bremen by the efforts of the Turkey's Chief Consulate in Hannover, the statement said.
 Parliament archives to be opened to public accessTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (23.12.08) reports that roughly 11,500,000 pages of parliamentary archives will become available on the Internet to ensure easy public access.
The archives, which until now have only been open to researchers, will be made available online and subsequently opened to public access. The archives include official documents regarding legislative activities since Parliaments inception as well as the official records of the assemblies before the republic was established in 1923. All bills and decisions promulgated and adopted so far are preserved in the archives, which include about 11,500,000 pages. The minutes of closed sessions of the legislature are kept in secret archives.
The archives have been transferred to electronic media through an agreement with a private company. The transfer was completed in four months; final checks are currently being run on the archives, which have been scanned onto computers. Following the final check process, the electronic archives will be available to computers in Parliament via an intranet and subsequently opened for access by the general public over the Internet.
The building hosting the archives has been renovated in consideration of the new system. Fireproof doors, a sensitive climate control system and steel shelves were used in the building. The sun-proof archive building is designed to minimize the impact of external climactic conditions. Air conditioning will keep the temperature and humidity under control inside the building. The building was designed to be fireproof, featuring a gas-operated fire extinguishing system that will put out fires by reducing the level of oxygen inside the building to make sure that the archives will not be harmed.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press of 22 December 2008Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 22 December:
a) Kurdish Conference:
An article by Fatih Cekirge of Hurriyet says that Democratic Society Party (DTP), Chairman Ahmet Turk and Iraqi Kurdish leader Barzani have agreed to hold an international "Kurdish Conference." The columnist cites Turk as saying: Barzani believes that the Kurdish problem cannot be solved through military measures. A democratic formula must be found and a dialogue must be established between the Turkish and Kurdish sides to resolve the issue. According to Cekirge, an international Kurdish conference to be held under the leadership of the DTP and Barzani will mean the start of a "new era."
Yeni Safak publishes a front-paged report entitled "They Sacrificed Kucuk," which quotes Mehmet Elkatmis, who served as chairman of a commission set up to investigate the Susurluk scandal, as saying that the Ergenekon investigation would fail to reveal anything if it were to be taken over by a military court. This story is expanded into an interview with Elkatmis.