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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-12-30
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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. 247/08 30.12.08
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Soyer explains why the CTP asked for early elections in the occupied areas of CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (30.12.08) reports that the self-styled prime minister and chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Ferdi Sabit Soyer has challenged the opposition parties and said that it is they that should have asked for early elections. Instead, he added, the CTP, the major coalition partner, declared that it wants early elections.
In statements yesterday during a meeting with Ahmet Kaptan, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Public Servants Trade Union (KTAMS), Mr Soyer said that his party has taken the decision for early elections in order for the Turkish Cypriot people to give their support to Mr Mehmet Ali Talat in the on-going process towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. Mr Soyer noted that they must submit their program to the people in order to promote the dynamics for a solution in this process.
Mr Soyer said that they asked from Turkey 150 million New Turkish Lira (YTL) credit and added that this credit will not be used in the budget but to minimize the effects of the global economic crisis on the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). He noted that the Turkish Cypriots should use their own resources to do something and added that they are carrying out the necessary work on this issue together with the central bank.
 Talat on the Israeli attacks in Gaza; Turkish Cypriot organizations condemn IsraelTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (30.12.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat has stated that the attacks held in Palestine during the last days of 2008 indicate that 2009 will not be a very good year and expressed his sorrow for this. In statements yesterday during a meeting with the out-going ambassador of Turkey to the occupied part of Lefkosia, Turkekul Kurttekin, Mr Talat wished for the Israeli attacks to end as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.12.08) reports that the general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (UBP), Izzet Izcan has also condemned the Israeli attacks describing them as crime.
Kibris reports that Turkish Cypriot Public Servants Trade Union (KTAMS) condemned the attacks against Gaza and called on the Turkish Cypriots to struggle against this crime.
Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (30.12.08) reports that a group of approximately 200 Palestinian students who study at the illegal universities of the occupied part of Cyprus demonstrated yesterday protesting against the Israeli attacks in Gaza Strip.
Messages condemning Israel were also issued by the Nationalist Justice Party (MAP) and the Association for a Pro-Ataturk Way of Life. Moreover, the North Cyprus Red Crescent Association has launched a campaign for medical supplies to the Palestinian people. The campaign will last until 15 January.
 Reactions to the economic measures announced by the governmentTurkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (30.12.08) reports that the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry, Salih Tunar issued a statement yesterday noting that the economic measures announced recently by the self-styled government are a positive step forward for overcoming the effects of the crisis, but insufficient to take the TRNC economy out of the crisis.
He noted that the economy in the occupied areas experienced a difficult period in 2008 because of the internal crisis caused by the decrease in the constructions sector and the effects of the global crisis. Mr Tunar said that the measures announced by the government should be taken before the 150-million YTL credit is given from Turkey.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (30.12.08) reports that Ozgun Kutlamis, chairman of the economic committee of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), issued a statement yesterday arguing that the economic measures announced recently by the government cannot create a solution for the economic crisis. He noted that the measures aim at overcoming the liquidity problem and expressed the opinion that demand should be revived as a measure for their internal crisis, in parallel to the global crisis.
 The circulation of the Turkish Lira banknotes and coins will start in the occupied areas of Cyprus and Turkey on 2 January 2009Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (30.12.08) reports that the new Turkish Lira (TL) banknotes and the coins will be distributed in the banks of the occupied areas and Turkey on 2 January 2009. The TL will substitute the New Turkish Lira (YTL). The deputy director of the TRNC central bank, Zeki Ekut said that for the first time banknotes of 200 TL will circulate in the market. The YTL and TL will be both in circulation until 1 January 2010.
 Duzgun said the government will take the final decision for the membership of the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation to the CFATurkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (30.12.08) reports that Ondac Duzgun, under-secretary at the self-styled prime ministers office, has put an end to the disputes experienced recently in the occupied areas regarding the membership of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot Football Federation to the Cyprus Football Association (CFA). Under the title The final decision belongs to the government, the paper writes that in statements to illegal Bayrak television, Mr Duzgun said the proposals submitted to the Turkish Cypriots by FIFA are so wrong that cannot be discussed and added that in case the membership to the CFA is accepted other organizations may use it as example and express the wish to be tied to the Greek Cypriot side.
 Crisis in the construction sector in TurkeyTurkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (30.12.08) in its front page under the banner headline alert for the construction sector reports that the number of Turkish contractors who went bankrupt have increased in 2008 when compared to previous years. The paper writes that 20,000 contractors in Turkey declared bankruptcy in 2008 while around 50,000 Turkish contractors are in a difficult financial position. Mr. Tahir Tellioglu, chairman of the Turkish Contractors Federation has stated that most Turkish contractors expect an action plan from the government to help the Turkish construction sector.
Mr. Tahir Tellioglu said also that during the first three quarters of 2008, the constructions sector has shown a 4.3% decrease. He then said that the decrease appearing in the construction sector is very negative for the economy and the employment as well.
Meanwhile, the paper reports that the Turkish Statistical Institute has announced the production index for the constructions sector during the first three quarters of 2008. According to this, the production index for the construction sector during the first three quarters of 2008 has declined by 3.8% compared with the same period of the previous year. Moreover, the production index for the building constructions fell to 131.3% with a decrease of 8.1%. On the other hand, in all other sectors besides the constructions sector, the production index has increased by 18.4%, thus reaching to 169.5%.
 Turkey intensifies diplomatic initiatives after the Israeli air strikes in GazaAnkara Anatolia news agency (29.12.08) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkey has sent humanitarian aid to Gaza after Israeli air offensive caused a number of casualties.
Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Sunday that the Turkish aid organization Kizilay (Red Crescent) sent ten truckloads of foodstuffs to the region. Also, 15 ambulances were sent to Palestine. Five of them arrived at the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza Strip.
Turkey is determined to keep sending humanitarian aid to the region. We have been pursuing the developments carefully. We also carry out preparatory efforts to evacuate our citizens in the region, the ministry said.
Turkey also took several diplomatic initiatives after the air strikes. President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan held telephone conversations with their counterparts in several countries to express their concerns.
Prime Minister Erdogan called United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and told him that the United Nations should immediately take action to send humanitarian aid to people in Gaza and put an end to Israeli offensive. President Gul called President Muhamed Mubarak of Egypt to exchange views over recent developments.
Foreign Minister Babacan held a telephone conversation with Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. Babacan proposed that foreign ministers of OIC-member countries should convene to discuss the developments in Gaza Strip.
Babacan also talked to Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni who telephoned to inform Babacan on events in Gaza Strip. During the conversation, Babacan expressed Turkey's concerns over the developments.
A number of civilians lost their lives in the operation and it caused an outrage both in the Turkish public opinion and in the international community. The ongoing blockade would lead to more humanitarian problems. We are concerned that recent developments could have a negative impact on security of whole region. We call on Israel to put an end to air strikes and give a chance to diplomacy, Babacan told his Israeli counterpart.
Meanwhile, demonstrations were held in several Turkish provinces to protest Israeli attack.
More than 300 people have been killed and about 1,000 others have been injured since December 27 when Israeli jets began pounding Hamas facilities in Gaza.
 Erdogan to tour regional countries in connection with the Israeli air attacks against GazaIstanbul NTV (29.12.08) broadcast that Cemil Cicek, deputy prime minister and government spokesman, said that on 31 December, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will begin a tour of the regional countries -- comprising Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia -- in connection with the Israeli air attacks against the Gaza Strip. Cicek declares this during a statement to the media at the end of today's Council of Ministers meeting.
 Gendarme Regiment Commander and five soldiers to stand trial for negligence in Hrant Dinks assassinationIstanbul NTV (29.12.08) broadcast the following from Trabzon:
Suits were filed against Colonel Ali Oz, former Trabzon Province Gendarme Regiment commander, and another five soldiers for negligence of duty. Earlier, permission was given for Oz and the five soldiers to stand trial on the grounds that they were negligent in connection with the Hrant Dink assassination.
Oz and the soldiers -- Metin Yildiz, Onder Aras, Huseyin Yilmaz, Haci Omer Unaldi, and Gazi Gunay -- will be tried at the Trabzon Second Court of Peace. Prison terms of up to two years are being demanded for the suspects. Suits had also been previously filed against two soldiers, Veysel Sahin and Okan Simsek, for negligence of duty.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press of 29 December 2008Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 29 December:
An editorial in Cumhuriyet focuses on the upcoming local elections, asking: "Will there will be an alternative to the grassroots -- organized by sects and religious communities -- of the religious political party that removed the secular and democratic center-right and came to power in its stead?" In order for that to happen, the editorial says, the forces that are in favor of a secular republic must unite. Praising the nomination of a single mayoral candidate for the left-wing parties in Ankara namely Murat Karayalcin -- the editorial urges these parties to do the same in other provinces as well.
Rusen Cakir analyzes the relationship between Prime Minister Erdogan and Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek in his article in Vatan. Cakir maintains that Erdogan's delay in announcing Gokcek's candidacy for mayor's office for the coming local elections shows that he as well as other party officials have serious doubts about Gokcek. Cakir says that Erdogan and Gokcek's paths had unexpectedly crossed 15 years ago when they had become mayoral candidates for Istanbul and Ankara respectively from the Welfare Party, then in power. Cakir recalls that he had said at the time that Erdogan was more likely to bring "Islamic liberalism" whereas Gokcek was more nationalist/Islamist. Cakir hopes that Erdogan will return to "his normal path" and separate himself from Gokcek now. His decision, he maintains, will greatly determine whether Justice and Development Party, AKP, will become a "liberal-urban" party.