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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-01-19

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. 11/09 17-19.01.2009

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Erdogan is visiting Brussels. Turkeys EU membership on top of his agenda
  • [02] Talats statements on the negotiation before leaving for Turkey
  • [03] Talats contacts in Ankara. UN Secretary-Generals meeting with Turkish President
  • [04] Statements by Soyer: Turkish Cypriots need to join the E.U. as an equal partner of Greek Cypriots»
  • [05] Ozdil Nami: There is important closeness in all issues except the executive
  • [06] Statements by Eroglu in occupied Morfou
  • [07] Cakici accused the CTP of not doing what is necessary for the solution of the Cyprus problem
  • [08] Talat-Christofias meeting ended with the completing of administration power sharing chapter
  • [09] The Chamber of Tradesmen protest against the economic situation in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [10] Increase in exports, decrease in imports
  • [11] The number of passengers who traveled through the illegal Tymvou airport increased by 4% in 2008
  • [12] The illegal DAU administration is accused of carrying out an intimidation operation
  • [13] The so-called minister of interior distributed title deeds to 67 young people
  • [14] Agreement for mutual recognition of the university diplomas has been signed between Turkey and the breakaway regime; The DAU is starting promotion seminars in London
  • [15] Turkish FM warns Obama Administration against recognition of Armenian genocide
  • [16] Former Turkish General said that Turkey prevented Republic of Cyprus to join NATO
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [17] A mysterious relation: TRNC Ergenekon
  • [18] EU revisited?
  • [19] From the Turkish Press of 17, 18 and 19 January 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Erdogan is visiting Brussels. Turkeys EU membership on top of his agenda

    Todays Zaman newspaper (19.01.09) reports the following:

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday departed from the Turkish capital for Brussels, which he has not visited since a December 2004 EU summit when EU leaders agreed that Turkey had sufficiently fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria related to democracy and the rule of law and was able to open negotiations for full membership.

    This visit is the first visit [to Brussels] at the prime ministerial level since 1996. This visit is also my first visit to Brussels since December 2004, when Turkey participated in the summit as a candidate, Erdogan told reporters while speaking at a press conference ahead of his departure from Ankara.

    During his three-day visit, Erdogan will be accompanied by Egemen Bagis, Turkey's first full-time EU negotiator whose appointment last week was seen as a sign that Ankara might be willing to push long-delayed reforms, and State Minister Said Yazicioglu. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, who accompanied President Abdullah Gül on a visit to Egypt to attend a summit concerning the crisis in Gaza, was expected to join the delegation late on Sunday.

    Erdogan said he would meet with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pottering as well as leaders of political groups at the European Parliament.

    This comprehensive visit should be considered a sign of our determination to EU reform and the accession processes. We will discuss all aspects of Turkey-EU relations, in particular our negotiation process, during talks with the European Commission, Erdogan said, adding that cooperation in energy and anti-terrorism efforts were also likely to come to the agenda of meetings in Brussels.

    Erdogan's trip comes as Ankara faces EU pressure to speed up reforms in a decisive year and amid questions over its commitment. EU officials say privately that Turkey, which began accession talks in 2005, may face deadlock if progress is not made this year while analysts warn that trust is ebbing away and that the two sides must rebuild momentum.

    Public opinion in Turkey accuses Europeans of double standards, and polls show support for the EU is dwindling as nationalism rises. EU states, likewise, are divided about accepting Turkey. Powerful states such as France and Germany are not keen to see Turkey join the bloc, questioning the European credentials of the poor, Muslim country of 70 million people.

    Erdogan, who has been criticized for his lack of presence on the European scene, will also face an increasingly skeptical Europe over Ankara's commitment when he meets Barroso and other EU leaders.

    The EU wants Ankara to reform its Constitution, improve free speech, grant more rights to minorities and curb the power of the army.

    Recent moves such as launching a Kurdish language channel on state television have rekindled hopes of a new reformist spirit in Ankara, but painful and unpopular reforms are long overdue.

    Turkey has opened talks on 10 out of the 35 so-called negotiation chapters, of which it has provisionally completed negotiations on just one. The bloc has frozen eight chapters in Turkey's accession talks because of Ankara's refusal to open its ports and airports to the Greek Cypriots.

    [02] Talats statements on the negotiations before leaving for Turkey

    Illegal Bayrak television (16.01.09) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat flew to Ankara today where he will receive the honorary medal for his contributions to the TURKSOY - the Joint Administration of Turkic Culture and Art.

    President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that Turkish Cypriot Side put forward new proposals at todays meeting on the issue of deadlock solving mechanisms.

    He said that new proposals will strengthen the hand of the Turkish Cypriot Side.

    The President was speaking to reporters at Ercan Airport before his departure to Ankara.

    Speaking to reporters at Ercan Airport before departing for the Turkish capital, President Mehmet Ali Talat said that he will start discussing the issue of property when he meets again with his Greek Cypriot counterpart on the 28th of January.

    Explaining that discussions on the chapter of governance and power sharing was completed at todays meeting, Talat said that they responded today to Greek Cypriot proposals on deadlock resolving mechanisms put forward last Monday.

    He said that the two special aides, Ozdil Nami and Yorgo Yakovu will be meeting next week to put the final touches on governance and power sharing and to launch preliminary discussions on the property issue.

    Pointing out that all aspects of the property issue will be taken up under the chapter of property; Talat said that talks will start on the principles of property.

    He also underlined that the issue of property was to be solved as part of a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Problem.

    Briefing reporters about his schedule in Ankara, the President said that he will try to maximize his stay by meeting with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and the Turkish General Chief of Staff General Basbug.

    Asked whether he will be meeting with the UN Secretary General who is in Ankara, President Talat said that such a meeting was not planned but that he would not turn down a meeting with the UN Chief if the offer came.

    President Talat left the republic for Ankara right after his meeting with Mr Christofias, where he will receive the honorary medal for his contributions to the TURKSOY - the Joint Administration of Turkic Culture and Art.

    As part of his contacts in the Turkish capital, President Talat is also expected to meet with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, the Chief of Turkish General Staff General Ilker Basbug, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and with the Minister for Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay.

    Tomorrow, the President will meet with Foreign Minister Ali Babacan.

    Following this meeting, the President will attend a concert that will be given in honor of TURKSOYs 15th anniversary of its establishment and will then attend a reception where he will receive his Medal of Honor.

    The President is expected to return to the Republic on Sunday upon the completion of his contacts.

    [03] Talats contacts in Ankara. UN Secretary-Generals meeting with Turkish President

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.01.09), under the title Cyprus summit in Ankara, reports that a Cyprus summit was held yesterday in Ankara with the participation of committees under Turkish President Abdullah Gul and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat. The paper reports that the meeting was held before the commencement of the discussion of the property issue, which is one of the most crucial topics in the negotiation process between two leaders in Cyprus for reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    At the summit, Mr Gul and Mr Talat exchanged views and evaluated the negotiation process up to the moment after the completion of the discussion on the "governance and power-sharing" chapter. They also discussed having a common stance on the property issue which will be discussed on the 28th of January.

    Meanwhile, Mr Talat had separate meetings with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Chief of General Staff General Ilker Basbug. No statements were issued regarding the meetings.

    The paper also reports that it is not known whether Mr Talat met with U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul received on Friday night the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at Cankaya Mension (Presidential Residence), in Ankara. They also discussed the latest developments on the Cyprus problem. Mr Gul called on the United Nations to play more active role in Cyprus.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan was also present at the meeting which took place behind closed doors.

    In addition, Under the title Seal to property, Subtitle: New road map from Ankara to Talat, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (18.01.09) reports in its first page about the visit of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, to Ankara.

    Moreover, Kibris (19.01.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat participated in the meeting of The Joint Administration of Turkic Culture and Art (TURKSOY) where he was given honorary medal. Mr Talat went to Ankara on 16 January and returned last night. In statements at the illegal Tymvou airport, he said that during his visit in Ankara he held various contacts.

    (DPs/ITs)

    [04] Statements by Soyer: Turkish Cypriots need to join the E.U. as an equal partner of Greek Cypriots»

    Illegal Bayrak television (18.01.09) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer who was in Istanbul to deliver a conference speech on the Cyprus Problem returned to the Republic last night.

    As part of his other contacts, the Premier was also an honorary guest at a ball hosted by the Academy of Economy.

    Addressing the conference earlier at the Istanbul Higher School of Commerce and the Faculty of Administrative and Social Science of Marmara, Soyer stressed that the Turkish Cypriot people needs to join the EU as an equal partner of Greek Cypriots.

    He said that any vote to be used or exercised by Cyprus should be a joint one between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, Prime Minister Soyer said that Cyprus should also abstain from voting as and when a settlement is reached.

    Our fundamental duty is to succeed and continue on our way with the policy set jointly with the Turkish Republic, reaffirmed recently by the Turkish National Security Council he added.

    The Premier went on to explain that the joint policy envisaged the creation of a new partnership state with a single international identity made up of two politically equal constituent states.

    He said that this mechanism aimed to function within the principle of bi-communal, bi-zonal federation.

    [05] Ozdil Nami: There is important closeness in all issues except the executive

    Under the title There is important closeness in all issues except the executive, but, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (19.01.09) publishes an interview with Ozdil Nami, advisor of the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat in the negotiations. The paper notes that Mr Nami said that the window for reaching a solution in Cyprus will not remain open for ever. Mr Nami said, inter alia, the following:

    It is possible to say that important closeness has been secured between the sides on all the issues except the executive. In some issues there is more closeness, in some others less. In the executive two very different models are in question. However, when we look at the balance, I can say that the closeness is more in quantity.

    Even if there is no strict timetable, we think that if we set the target for going to referendum in autumn 2009 and make a planning backwards from there, this period is a sufficient period for the leaders to go over all the matters once and complete the give and take afterwards. If the Greek Cypriot side adopts this approach, a working timetable could be produced very easily.

    It is definite, of course, that both sides will have important difficulties on the property issue. This is an extremely difficult issue. It has not been possible for important closeness to be achieved between the sides at the working groups level. Before entering into the details of the issue, we see that the difference of opinions in principle between the sides constitutes an important problem.

    The EU must behave in a more fair manner to Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. Especially on the Cyprus issue, the EU has nothing to rely on. It must fulfill its promises to the Turkish side regarding this issue. .

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Statements by Eroglu in occupied Morfou

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.01.09) reports that Dervis Eroglu, chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP), has argued that the people realized better the value of the UBP in the five years during which the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) is in power. In statements in the occupied Morfou area, Mr Eroglu referred to the developments regarding the Cyprus problem and noted that the CTP and the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat should not lie to the Turkish Cypriots. He noted, inter alia, the following:

    They said that the solution will be found in 2008. It did not happen. It will not happen in 2009 as well. Until now only one of the six chapters is completed. The Greek Cypriots do not support a timetable and they openly say that there will be no solution in 2009. Because it knows this, the CTP took the decision for early elections for the last time as it thinks that it could deceive the people, by saying there will be a solution, vote for me. However, the people are not going to be deceived with these promises. Let the CTP and Talat say what they are going to do when they are referring to the solution. .

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Cakici accused the CTP of not doing what is necessary for the solution of the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.01.09) reports that Mehmet Cakici, chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), issued a statement yesterday noting that the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) has caused disappointment in the internal politics and tries to hide behind the Cyprus problem. He said that the CTP, in spite of the fact that it is five years in power, did not do what is necessary for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Talat-Christofias meeting ended with the completing of administration power sharing chapter

    Istanbul Hurriyet Daily News.com (16.01.09) published the following:

    Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders completed their debate on the administration and power-sharing chapter during their meeting on Friday under the full-fledged talks aiming to reunify the divided island of Cyprus.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and his Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias held their 16th meeting in at the buffer zone in Nicosia.

    The two leaders had fruitful talks especially after the positive atmosphere achieved during their latest meeting on Monday, Alexander Downer, special Cyprus envoy of the U.N. Secretary-General, was quoted by Anatolian Agency as saying in a statement following the leaders' meeting.

    Downer said the representatives of the two leaders and experts would now give the final touches to the administration and power-sharing chapter, and afterwards, the two leaders will meet again on January 28.

    I am telling you that not everything is all black, Christofias was quoted by AFP as telling reporters after the meeting.

    There are issues where we have achieved progress, there are issues that still remain open and those were there is disagreement, he added, without elaborating.

    Talat and Christofias are expected to start discussing the "Property" issue during their upcoming gathering.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1964 when Turkish Cypriots were forced to withdraw into enclaves.

    Talat and Christofias began peace talks in last September after a four-year hiatus, marking the first major push for peace since the failure of a U.N. reunification plan in 2004, which was approved by Turkish Cypriots but overwhelmingly rejected by Greek Cypriots.

    Neither side sees permanent partition as an option, but they have been unable to agree on how the island will be reunited. On paper, they agree to a bizonal federation, though issues like power-sharing, territorial swaps and a raft of complex property disputes make a deal difficult.

    There is a real possibility of reaching a settlement here, Downer separately told Reuters on Friday, but cautioned it was a complex task.

    It is an incredibly difficult task, nobody should under-estimate how hard it is after so many years and such deep conflict.. but days like today just help to confirm the view that I'm cautiously optimistic, he added.

    Downer said he did not want to put a timeframe on when a deal could be brokered. It wouldn't be helpful for the negotiations to impose a timeline on them, I think that would not help to achieve a solution, he said.

    The U.N. sees 2009 as the last chance to cut a deal on the island. Officials have warned both sides that the U.N. would not mediate if the leaders fail to reach an agreement by the end of 2009 and that it would end its efforts to solve the problem.

    Talat met Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Friday.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader is set to receive an honorary medal from the Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture (TURKSOY) as part of the celebrations marking the 15th anniversary of the institution, Anatolian agency reported.

    [09] The Chamber of Tradesmen protest against the economic situation in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Under the title Sequestrations are 9 thousand! Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.01.09) reports that according to data acquired by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Tradesmen and Craftsmen, approximately 600 workplaces close down every month in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The paper writes that because the interest rates for the loans are high, the tradesmen cannot pay their installments and are forced to close down.

    In statements to Kibris, the chairman of the Chamber, Hurrem Tulga argued that the per capita income, which is allegedly $13 thousand, is not reflected to the tradesmen. Mr Tulga said that the interest rates should be dropped to 6 % in the rediscount credits. He argued that the interest rates should drop from 24 % to 19 % in the credits for tourism, agriculture, industry and education and from 28% to 22 % in the commercial credits.

    Kibris reports that the members of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Tradesmen and Craftsmen are organizing a protest act today against the self-styled government in front of the assembly. The chairman of the United Taxi Drivers Union, Kemal Ozay, stated yesterday that the protest was a front aiming at the forthcoming elections and called on the members of his union not to support it.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Increase in exports, decrease in imports

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (18.01.09) reports that during the first eleven months of the year 2008 the exports in the occupied areas of Cyprus have been increased up to 5% compared to the figures of the same period of the year 2007 and are up to one billion, 465 million dollars. In addition the exports have been decreased to 3% and were up to 72.7 million dollars.

    [11] The number of passengers who travelled through the illegal Tymvou airport increased by 4% in 2008

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (19.01.09) reports that one million 414 thousand and 546 passengers travelled through the illegal Tymvou airport in 2008. The paper notes that 6.212 airplanes landed and 6.218 departed from the illegal airport during the above-mentioned period. An increase of 4 % was observed in the number of passengers in comparison with the same period last year.

    (I/Ts.)

    [12] The illegal DAU administration is accused of carrying out an intimidation operation

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (19.01.09) reports that the Cyprus Peace Platform has strongly reacted against the fact that Huseyin Yetiner, Director responsible for the Students Affairs in the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University (DAU), has been fired and an inquiry was launched against him after a complaint made by the Yeni Volkan newspaper and the Fighter Commanders Association. Mr Yetiner was attacked because he said that we have a university recognized worldwide in a nonexistent state. The spokesman of the Platform and chairman of the DAU-BIR-SEN trade union, Tevfik Yoldas noted that this irrational and illogical incident is a conspiracy and asked for the return of Mr Yetiner to his duty. Mr Yoldas added that the fascist campaign carried out by the self-styled rector of the DAU and the Yeni Volkan newspaper is an open attack against the freedom of thought and expression and an intimidation operation.

    (I/Ts.)

    [13] The so-called minister of interior distributed title deeds to 67 young people

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.01.09) reports that the so-called minister of interior Ozkan Murat distributed yesterday title deeds of plots of land in the rural area to 67 young people at the occupied village of Davlos and Flamoudi. Mr Murat said that until now title deeds were distributed to 1,935 young people in 57 villages in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    (DPs)

    [14] Agreement for mutual recognition of the university diplomas has been signed between Turkey and the breakaway regime; The DAU is starting promotion seminars in London

    Under the title The diplomas of the universities in the TRNC will not be going to YOK for equivalence, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.01.09) reports that the self-styled minister of education, Canan Oztoprak and the Turkish Minister of Education Huseyin Celik have signed an agreement in Ankara under the title International Agreement for the Mutual Recognition of the Universities Established according to the Law of Northern Cyprus. According to a statement issued by the self-styled ministry of education, the agreement provides for equivalence of degrees and post-graduate degrees acquired from universities in Turkey and the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    The paper writes that during her visit to Turkey, Mrs Oztoprak participated also in the meeting of The Joint Administration of Turkic Culture and Art (TURKSOY). Mrs Oztoprak returned to the occupied areas and in statement at the illegal Tymvou airport briefed the journalists on the results of her visit to Ankara. She said that the agreement she signed with Mr Celik is good news for the illegal universities.

    Moreover, Kibris reports that the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University (DAU) will start promotion seminars in London on 23 January. The university will promote the programs it has prepared for the Turkish Cypriots living abroad. The seminars are expected to last until 26 January.

    (I/Ts.)

    [15] Turkish FM warns Obama Administration against recognition of Armenian genocide

    Istanbul Hurriyet Daily News.com (17.01.09) reported the following:

    Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, has warned Barack Obama's incoming administration that any U.S. recognition of Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents could derail reconciliation efforts between the two neighbors.

    It would not be very rational for a third country to take a position on this issue... A wrong step by the United States will harm the process, the Anatolia news agency quoted Ali Babacan as saying late Friday.

    Turkey has never been closer to normalizing ties with Armenia, its eastern neighbor, and a breakthrough could be secured in 2009, the minister said, according to the AFP.

    Obama, who takes office Tuesday, pledged to his Armenian-American supporters during his election campaign to recognize the 1915 incidents as genocide.

    The issue of 1915 incidents is highly sensitive for Armenia as well as Turkey. Around 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.

    However Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915. The issue remains unsolved as Armenia drags its feet in accepting Turkey's proposal of forming a commission to investigate the claims.

    Babacan said the dispute was among the issues that Ankara and Yereven had been discussing since reconciliation efforts gathered steam in September when Turkish President Abdullah Gul paid a landmark visit to Armenia, AFP reported citing Anatolian Agency's report.

    Turkey and Armenia have never been closer to a plan on normalizing relations, Anatolia quoted Babacan as saying.

    Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic relations and their border has been closed for more than a decade, as Armenia presses the international community to admit the so-called genocide claims instead of accepting Turkey's call to investigate the allegations, and Armenia's invasion of 20 percent territory of Azerbaijan.

    The fence-mending process, he said, was boosted by similar reconciliation efforts between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a close ally of Turkey.

    The prospect of normalizing relations both between Azerbaijan and Armenia and between Turkey and Armenia in 2009 is not a dream, he added.

    Gul became the first Turkish head of state to visit Armenia when he travelled to Yerevan in September to watch a World Cup qualifying football match between the two countries on the invitation of his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian.

    [16] Former Turkish General said that Turkey prevented Republic of Cyprus to join NATO

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.01.09) reports that the former Chief of the General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, speaking to reporters before a panel discussion titled "60 Years of NATO" held in Istanbul yesterday, said that although NATO wanted the Republic of Cyprus to join the NATO mechanisms, Turkey prevented it. He also said that when he was Chief of the General Staff there were 26 country-members in NATO and Turkey was against the will of 25 countries on this issue.

    (DPs)


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [17] A mysterious relation: TRNC Ergenekon

    Under the title A mysterious relation: TRNC Ergenekon, Turkish daily Zaman newspaper, on line, (17.01.08) published the following commentary on the developments in the Ergenekon para-military organization in relation with the reports that link Ergenekons activities to the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus:

    TRNC Ergenekon are connected. Star columnist, Mehmet Altan, has inquired into the developments in Ergenekon and its mystical relations with the TRNC. Here is the deep relation:

    ...

    If my telephone did not ring

    If they did not convey the news, if they did not ask for the opinion

    I would not have known that the latest developments in Ergenekon case had made a metastasis in the TRNC

    Apparently

    According to official documents published the other day

    During the era of UBP DP [National Unity Party - Democratic Party] with the decision of the Cabinet and the approval of the Ministry

    TRNC citizenships were given to Semih Tufan Gunaltay who is the hit man in the assassination of Akim Birdal and to Captain Muzaffer Tekin who is on trial as the instigator for the attack in the Council of State case.

    Besides

    These two persons have also been awarded with the medal of honour for their contribution in the Cyprus cause

    This issue of citizenship was on the TRNCs agenda yesterday

    Because

    The leader of UBP, Dervis Eroglu, has announced that he will grant new citizenships if UBP comes to power. This has caused a great debate, too.

    Also, Yeni Duzen newspaper in its yesterdays issue has reported on the statements made on the issue by the government deputy, Okan Dagli

    Speaking to a radio programme, the CTP [Republican Turkish Party] deputy of Famagusta, Okan Dagli, has addressed the following to a deputy of the opposition:

    Whom you make citizens?

    Semih Tufan Gunaltay who is the hit man in the assassination of Akim Birdal and Captain Muzaffer Tekin who is on trial as the instigator in the attack in the Council of State in Turkey.

    These are persons who were granted the TRNC citizenship during the era of UBP DP

    These persons who have received medal of honour for their contribution in the Cyprus cause are at the centre of the investigation for their involvement in the bloody events and crimes committed by Ergenekon, while they have also considered as being the prime movers of the assassinations

    In 2003, the Chairman of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce, Sinan Aygun, has received the TRNC citizenship.

    By waving his TRNC identity card that he was holding in his hand, Aygun has said during an event he has attended: I have received an identity card within half an hour.

    UBP claims that it will again grant citizenship to Sinan Aygun.

    Meaning that you, despite the decision of the Supreme Court, you are saying that you will again grant a citizenship to this man (Sinan Aygun).

    I am actually attempting to explain the machinations of yours which you have undertaking in order to change the governing of the country and not to focus on the names one by one.

    On his part, Okan Dagli is also using interesting allegations on how TRNC citizens have acquired citizenships.

    Prior to 2003, during the time when the UBP DP was in government and with a decision of the Cabinet, a significant number of citizenships were granted.

    These are not citizenships which are acquired by birth.

    These are citizenships distributed overnight.

    During 2003 which was an election year and with a decision of the Cabinet, UBP has distributed 3,102 citizenships.

    Of these 3,102, 1,563 were granted citizenships 15 days before the enforcement of the election ban.

    The then minister of interior, Mehmet Albayrak said: I, also, had no information on these citizenships...

    In addition, Mustafa Arabacioglu said: I was a member of the Cabinet, yet, these citizenships were distributed without me knowing it

    There are documents that 20 persons are residing in the home address of Mustafa Tokay, permanent undersecretary of the then prime minister, Dervis Eroglu.

    In the name of the prime minister, the permanent undersecretary could commit this mal practise and could register as voters using his home address for 20 persons.

    Captain Muzaffer Tekin who is on trial as the instigator for the attack in the Council of State is a TRNC citizen

    Semih Tufan Gunaltay who is the hit man in the assassination of Akim Birdal is too

    You are informed

    Allegations have been recorded that the Brigadier General Levent Ersoz, who was making preparations in order to flee in the TRNC, is considered as the key name in relation in the Ergenekon case.

    Former President of the TRNC is extremely uneasy of the Ergenekon case he is moaning about

    How these developments in the TRNC should be evaluated?

    You know that the spreading of cancer cells from one part of the body to another is called metastasis

    Has Ergenekon made a metastasis in the TRNC?

    Or is the main cancer cell there and metastasis was made in Turkey?

    I believe that the coming developments will give an answer to this question too

    (ML)

    [18] EU revisited?

    Hurriyet.com.tr (17.01.09) published the following article by Cengiz Atkar:

    When I looked back, I realized that the first article I wrote about what kind of a structuring we need for negotiation process with the European Union was dated Sept. 27, 2004 and published in many magazines and newspapers.

    The paragraph on candidates similar to Turkey reads as follows: We see that the Prime Ministry comes to the fore in coordination among public institutions of bigger countries such as Poland and Romania. In Poland the Committee of European Integration Ministries led by the prime minister made all decisions about coordination and integration process. In Romania, European Integration Department established in 1997 was transformed into a ministry working directly with the prime minister after the decision on starting negotiations in 1999. Candidate countries relatively smaller in size and population, solved this through foreign ministries. In Turkey, however, it will not be easy for the Foreign Ministry to have a higher position among ministries other than coordination. Indeed it was not easy!

    It is crystal clear that the four years since Turkey was given a start for negotiations, on Dec. 17, 2004, were wasted. Official EU documents point at the waste of time. We also know that Turkeys candidacy is not on EUs agenda anymore. So again, we all know that 2009 will be a year of all dangers where the relationship would defacto come to an halt. Despite this dreadful course of events, whatever has happened in the last minute and as a result of the classical Turkish reflex the government decided suddenly to take number of required actions which it was supposed to take since 2004.

    The government has first launched the National Program that hasnt been updated since 2003, set up discussions and recently ratified it. In the meantime, despite all lacunas the state television, TRT, started broadcasting in Kurdish. The Ergenekon crime gang case was brought along. Then, Prime Minister Erdogans trip to Brussels next Monday was announced, he hasnt been there since Dec. 17, 2004! Most importantly, the EU affairs were assigned to a newly-established state ministry. The Secretariat General for EU Affairs, or SGEU, created in July 2000 as well as the new state ministry is under the Prime Ministry.

    Appointment of Egemen Bagis as the new state minister for EU Affairs was a very positive development considering his personality, his dedication to the task and his being close to President Gul as much as to Erdogan. Considering Turkeys administrative customs and the size of the country, candidacy to the EU is a huge mission and can be achieved only by a top-level political will. This is what has been done with the latest decision. Bagis will completely dedicate himself to EU works and have full support of the prime minister; thats critical. His sharing and caring nature as well as propensity for consultation is extremely positive for EU works that require constant exchange of opinion.

    Despite these positive developments, it will not be easy at all for Bagis. To fix the damage in bureaucracy and society caused by shelving EU-related works for four years will take time and effort. To start with the strengthening of the SGEU, to encourage bureaucracy, to gain public attention back again, to include representatives of stakeholders in the negotiation process and to review the entire communication strategy domestically and in Europe are things to do first. Right across to us, we see an EU preoccupied with the ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty, global economic crisis and the upcoming European Parliament elections. It is not easy for Turkey to claim a spot in this hectic agenda. The renewed EU structure and political will in Turkey should quickly pull itself together and, meanwhile, support the Cyprus negotiations as best as it can. This is the only way to bring the EUs attention back on Turkey.

    In Brussels, Erdogan and Bagis will explain to members of the European Commission and Parliament as well as opinion leaders about how determined Turkey is to be an EU member. But Turkey has every right to ask similar political will from EU as our partner. In fact, EU is as responsible as Turkey of the damage caused in the accession process. In this perspective, pronunciation of a reasonable accession date will ease the tension.

    I have used expressions like back to EU affairs many times before. I wish that this time, in this very blurred political environment everyone has come to his or her sense. I hope we all realize that the "Turkey" ship cannot overcome these storms without a solid EU anchor, so to speak.

    [19] From the Turkish Press of 17, 18 and 19 January 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 17, 18 and 19 January 2009:

    a) Ergenekon Investigation: An editorial entitled "How should we approach the Ergenekon case?" in Milliyet (17.01.09) emphasizes that the Turkish public is anxious because of indications that the Ergenekon probe may lead to the curtailment of civil freedoms. Pointing out that controversy surrounding the investigation which is of vital importance to the Turkish democracy may overshadow its outcome, the editorial concludes by saying: "People who are conducting this investigation on behalf of the public should be aware of the fact that Turkey is bound by valid legal norms and that they should take actions accordingly."

    A report entitled "A Report About the Consultative Committee was Submitted to Prime Minister Gul" in Hurriyet (17.01.09) highlights comments made by former Chief of the General Staff Huseyin Kivrikoglu about an ongoing investigation against a shady group called Ergenekon which is accused of plotting against a state. Emphasizing that the investigation is weakening Turkey and depleting its energy, Kivrikoglu says that there is a campaign aimed at discrediting the Turkish Armed Forces. He says: "There are some newspapers and religious communities and sects which regard the TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] as their enemy. They think that they could do everything if the TSK does not stand in their way." Kivrikoglu adds that a think tank called Consultative Committee sent its reports which recently caused controversy to President Abdullah Gul during his tenure as Prime Minister.

    A report entitled "Ersoz remanded in custody" in Hurriyet (17.01.09) says that retired Brigadier General Levent Ersoz, former head of the Intelligence Department in Gendarmerie Command, was yesterday remanded in custody on charges of attempting to overthrow the government by using violence and establishing and leading an armed organization. Transcripts of telephone conversations of Hilmi Ozkok, former Chief of the General Staff, were found in Ersoz's home, according to the report.

    A report entitled "Allegation of 'Plan to assassinate Erdogan'" in Milliyet (17.01.09) highlights unconfirmed reports that a plan to assassinate Erdogan was found at the home of Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Donmez who was remanded in custody in connection with the Ergenekon case.

    In an article entitled "Fethullah Gulen and Ergenekon," Milliyet´s (17.01.09) columnist Can Dundar says that there are strong indications showing that the Ergenekon investigation has resulted from a dispute between the Fethullah Gulen community and Ergenekon organization. Dundar also draws attention to allegations that pro-Gulen police chiefs have been appointed to key positions within the Police Department.

    In an article entitled "A psychopath manipulates Turkey," Hurriyet´s (17.01.09) columnist Tufan Turenc strongly criticizes the Turkish Radio Television Corporation, TRT, for letting Tuncay Guney, a controversial figure who captured media attention because of his allegations related to the Ergenekon case, to make unfounded accusations in a live program. He comments: "There could only be one explanation for the TRT's irresponsible attitude. The TRT is fulfilling a task assigned to it by the ruling party and it is, therefore, cooperating with a psychopath in order to slander its opponents."

    In an article entitled "The Military's statement," Milliyet´s (17.01.09) columnist Guneri Civaoglu says that the General Staff's statement drawing attention to the breach of some fundamental legal principles during the Ergenekon investigation should be analyzed carefully. He also points out that comments made by Guney who, he notes, is being accused of fraud and smuggling, in a television program aired by the TRT fueled suspicions that the government is interfering in the judiciary's affairs.

    In an article entitled "Attention! They may retaliate," Sabah´s (17.01.09) columnist Emre Akoz predicts that Ergenekon will not accept defeat and retaliate against the ongoing police investigation targeting the organization. He says: "The nature (style and selection of a target) rather than the severity of the reprisal will demonstrate the state of Ergenekon after the tenth round of detentions. Will it carry out a clever or desperate attack? Will it launch a smart attack that would slow down the investigation or will it be a wrong move that would prompt public prosecutors to dig further? Will it be an attack posing a threat to the General Staff because it has given the go-ahead for the investigation or will it target people at a lower echelon? We will soon see that."

    In an article entitled "Presumption of Innocence," Hurriyet Daily News´s (17.01.09) columnist Yusuf Kanli notes that the General Staff's statement about the Ergenekon case was very important because it showed that the military was sharing the public's concerns. He says: "But, at the same time it demonstrated the grave situation the politicization of the Ergenekon case has landed the country in."

    In an article entitled "Everybody must wake up," Vatan´s (17.01.09) columnist Gungor Mengi points out that Fethullah Gulen's role in the Ergenekon case which he describes as a "bout of malaria" affecting Turkey should not be disregarded. He also stresses that the judiciary should demonstrate its power in order to ensure that the Ergenekon case is heard by a court functioning rapidly and efficiently so that the climate of fear and polarization is dispelled."

    An article entitled "Should we close down the TSK?", Vakit´s columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that any political party or civil body would face closure if it were as much guilty of corruption as the Turkish military appears to be in the wake of the discovery of many weapons caches as part of the Ergenekon investigation. Dilipak asserts sarcastically that the military must have been too busy "booking" reactionary groups to notice the illegal activities of its own personnel. He also asserts that the Supreme Military Council should be expected to arrange for the expulsion of "hundreds of officers, NCOs, and generals" implicated in the creation of these weapons caches at its meeting in August.

    b) Israeli attacks in Gaza

    In an article entitled "Turkey-Hamas relations", Today's Zaman newspaper´s (17.01.09) columnist Abdulhamit Bilici asserts that Turkey has become a "key player in the Gaza crisis" as a mediator thanks to the Erdogan government's "diplomatic initiative" toward Hamas in 2006, namely its invitation of Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to Ankara. Bilici also sees "contact with Hamas" as being "critical for a solution."

    An article entitled "Recommendations from Bush to Obama", Today's Zaman columnist Beril Dedeoglu expresses the "hope" that "even if [US President-elect Barack Obama] is convinced about the danger" of a new terrorist attack on the United States after he assumes office, "he will not apply Bush's policies in dealing with these threats."

    c) Rising Anti-Semitism

    According to a report by Onder Yilmaz in Milliyet (18.01.09), the Eskisehir Prosecutor's Office filed a suit against the members of the Osmangazi Cultural Associations Federation, which posted on their door placards saying "Jews and Armenians Cannot Enter" and "Dogs Are Allowed." The report says that some residents of Eskisehir term these "racist" and "discriminatory" placards "shameful," while the political opposition charge that Erdogan's "emotional" approach to the situation in Gaza and the style he used in condemning Israel encouraged these reactions.

    Radikal columnist Oral Calislar (18.01.09) also cautions against the reactions to the Israeli attacks in Gaza turning into anti-Semitism in an article. Calislar maintains that the reactions against the "atrocity" in Gaza are "inciting the inherent anti-Semitism among Islamist circles." Calislar cites two placards carried during the anti-Israel rally held in Istanbul as examples to this trend: 'We wish our ancestors had not brought you here from Spain;" and 'Hitler was apparently right. Jews are the same in every country, they cannot be human beings." Calislar explains that the prime minister felt the need to warn against anti-Semitism, but this single warning is not sufficient, more warnings should be issued, including by media organs that are influential over the Islamic sector.

    In an article entitled "Two important reminders," Yeni Safak newspaper (18.01.09) columnist Kursat Bumin draws attention to a recent statement by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who cautioned against anti-Semitic attitudes. Pointing out that such warnings may not be sufficient to prevent racist sentiments and legal action is also needed, Bumin says: "Turkey should become a country where a Jewish citizen would not come across a placard saying 'I wish our ancestors had not brought your people from Spain' because it will be forbidden by laws." In the second part of the article, Bumin lauds President Abdullah Gul for saying that television stations and newspapers should refrain from highlighting allegations made about people in an irresponsible manner. Bumin criticizes the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation for letting Tuncay Guney, a controversial figure who came under the spotlight for his allegations about Ergenekon, to make accusations about the Republican People's Party and its leader in a recent television program.

    In an article entitled "Our Military's suspected role in Ergenekon," Sunday's Zaman (18.01.09) columnist Ihsan Yilmaz focuses on possible connections between the military and illegal organizations which have retired soldiers among their members. Pointing out that arms caches recently discovered in different cities contained ammunition and weapons apparently taken from military installations, Yilmaz says: "That takes us to the second possibility and in our logical cul-de-sac there is no other exit. Our military in almost full hierarchical order has known about these activities all along and maybe kept them as both a secret and a kind of bargaining chip. If we take into account the fact that there has been a kind of implicit protection of suspect military personnel, we should question why the military has not been so sensitive about its weapons, bombs and, most importantly, its prestige and honor."

    EG/


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