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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-01-27

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. 17/09 27.01.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The breakaway regime has put Greek Cypriot plots of land up for sale on the eve of the commencement of the discussion of the property issue
  • [02] Talat argues that the principles of the UN could be taken as basis on the discussion of the property issue
  • [03] Turkish and Israeli owned construction firms to invest in occupied Cyprus
  • [04] Report dated September 1974 reveals that Rauf Denktas was warned over the legal rights of the Greek Cypriots evicted through the force of areas from their homes in occupied Cyprus
  • [05] A Turkish Law Professors views on the statements of Atilla Olgac
  • [06] Milliyet: A map in the Presidential Palaces official website shows Cyprus as one country
  • [07] Turk professors views on Turkeys EU accession course and the occupation of Cyprus by Turkish troops
  • [08] Prime Minister Erdogan to attend Word Economic Forum in Davos
  • [09] Turkish Energy Minister to attend Nabucco summit in Hungary
  • [10] Poll conducted in Turkey shows that political preferences voters have not changed since 2007 elections
  • [11] Turkeys population reached 71.5 million in 2008
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [12] From the Turkish Press of 26 January 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The breakaway regime has put Greek Cypriot plots of land up for sale on the eve of the commencement of the discussion of the property issue

    Under the title As he is about to discuss the property issue, Talat has put Greek Cypriot plots of land up for sale and The target is £18 million! Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (27.01.09) reports that the full-fledged negotiations for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem have reached their most critical stage. As of tomorrow the two leaders will start discussing the property issue, notes Kibris adding that during such a critical stage the self-styled government of the breakaway regime put many Greek Cypriot properties up for sale with a decision of the council of ministers. The target with the tender, which will be completed on Friday 30 January, is to secure revenue of £18.359 million.

    The fact that the decision of the government, which was taken on 23 July 2008, was left unimplemented until today and it is put into practice a few hours before the critical summit on the properties has caused some doubts, reports the paper.

    A poultry farm near occupied Sysklipos village, which is built on an area of 253 and two quarter donums [Tr. Note: Donum is a land measure of about 1000 square meters] is among the properties which are put up for sale. It is estimated that the value of the farm is around £2.161 million. The paper notes that other properties which are put up for sale are located in occupied Kazafani and Flamoudi villages. The two properties in Kazafani are valued at around £2.880 million, while the minimum price of one of the properties in Flamoudi was set at £1 million. According to a research carried out by Kibris newspaper, the majority of the Greek Cypriot properties which have been offered for sale are located in villages of occupied Keryneia district, Famagusta, Morfou and Aigialousa. A property in occupied Lapithos village was valued at £478 thousand, while the minimum price of a property in occupied Kalogrea village was set at £245 thousand. The price of an immovable property in occupied Karavas village was set at £362 thousand, while the price of a property in occupied Engomi was set at £698 thousand. The minimum price of another property in Engomi was set at £900 thousand, while the minimum price of a property in occupied Akanthou was set at £480 thousand.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Talat argues that the principles of the UN could be taken as basis on the discussion of the property issue

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (27.01.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, has said that the principles of the United Nations could be taken as basis and as ground during the discussion of the property issue in the negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem. Addressing the opening ceremony of a panel at Ataturk Cultural Center in the occupied part of Nicosia under the name The TRNC and the GAP [Southeast Anatolia Project], Mr Talat argued yesterday that they could reach a favorable result on the property issue by discussing and evaluating this issue within the above-mentioned framework.

    The issues which will follow are also important, but after completing the Administration and Power Sharing and the Property issues, it will be seen what the chances for a solution are and how close the solution is, noted Mr Talat. He said that the leaders have closed the chapter of the Administration and Power Sharing and that they have achieved closeness on many points, but there are some points on which they have not. He argued that this difference of opinions and lack of agreement are due to the fact that the proposals of the Greek Cypriot side are not realistic.

    Mr Talat described the Administration and Power Sharing as the source of the Cyprus problem and added that the problem started because of this and not because of the property issue. He said that they were expecting this issue to be closed with some conflicts of views and some views that are close. Therefore, there was no development outside of what it was expected. In brief, there was no bad development in this period, he added.

    Referring to the property issue, Mr Talat said:

    It is a difficult chapter. This is true, because in 45 years two different property regimes were created in the country. It was inevitable. Of course we are approaching the issue from the point of view of the international law and I think that, when we look at the issue from the point of view of the international law, the property issue will have a special place as an important chapter in the process for the solution of the 45-year-long Cyprus problem. Some basic principles have been set by the United Nations. Of course not in the way they recurred to their mind. These parameters have been set as a result of negotiations lasting many years, international experiences, debates and evaluations. And these have been brought onto the agenda, evaluated and debated in many agreement plans, in many solution plans. Therefore, we have in front of us United Nations principles which we could take as basis, as ground. .

    Finally, Mr Talat said that recently many circles started to repeat that the solution of the Cyprus problem will be achieved in 2009. He expressed the hope for reaching a solution until the elections for the European Parliament in June 2009. He said that they have not changed this target, but this target cannot be set unilaterally.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Turkish and Israeli owned construction firms to invest in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot weekly Cyprus Today newspaper (24-30.01.09) reports the following on the illegal construction on properties of Greek Cypriots in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus:

    A Turkish construction consortium says it is ready to finish the unfinished homes in North Cyprus all 12,000 of them.

    Turk Barter which was initially linked to the stalled Amaranta Valley development before pulling out wants to become the saviour of the embattled house-building sector. Amaranta could be one of the projects it saves.

    It wants to create a new firm, Cyprus Barter, and finish the homes in exchange for a percentage of them which it will offer for sale to recoup its investment.

    Kutsal Tokatlioglu, owner of Tokalioglu Developments, said that they were waiting to register Cyprus Barter as a company to help a construction sector damaged by lack of liquidity, low demand and international legal cases.

    Turk Barter, established in 2001, is a consortium of 1,300 firms in Turkey, with a capital of 1.9 trillion TL.

    Mr Tokatlioglu said the new firm would take applications from contractors, before taking over the projects and completing the constructions.

    He added: In the case of the constructions in North Cyprus, the way Turk Barter will work is not through money but through property. In exchange for the work they finsh, they will take on properties. However, because they will not be able to receive the title deeds of these properties on time, they will put them on sale in Turkish lira, with an interest-free payment scheme from five to ten years.

    Referring to Aga Developments Amaranta Valley in Arapkoy [occupied Klepini] Mr Tokatlioglu said that the project was one he would like to prioritise.

    However, he said that there were issues with title deeds and the expense for the conclusion of the project.

    If the administrators of Aga Development apply to Cyprus Barter for the conclusion of Amaranta Valley, we will not turn them down. Taking on the project is not impossible, however, it is very difficult, he said.

    At the moment, Turk Barter is working to complete the 64 villas on the Julasehir estate, a project by Herpa Estates near Bogaz.

    Hakan Buyukkoroglu, owner of Herpa Estates, said that they started negotiating with Turk Barter about one-and-a-half months ago and the works to complete half of the 128-villa project began a month ago.

    After a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Turgay Avci, head of Turk Barters board of directors Sirri Simsek said that apart from the construction sector, the consortium also wanted to get involved in other areas such as tourism and education.

    On the same issue and under the title Israeli firm constructing sites in Gaziveren [occupied Kazivera] trilingual weekly Dialogue newspaper (23-30.01.09) reports the following:

    Israeli firms continue to show interest in North Cyprus. Most recently, an Israeli company started building a holiday village in the village of Gaziveren near Morphou.

    There is no infrastructure at the site, located on the coast once used as stone quarries and sand pits. There are no asphalt roads here. The company says that it will desalinate its own water from the sea. A huge amount of money has been invested to bring power to the area.

    A special arrangement has been made in this small, windy village with rough seas. Two artificial rocky cliffs, 150 metres apart, have been built. The company plans to collect and deposit sand between the cliffs.

    One can easily come across the Aphrodite Beach front village with a simple search on the internet. All you need to do is type Gaziveren on any search engine and youll come across adverts for the holiday village, homes and flats on sale.

    Apart from creating a new attraction, the holiday village is not expected to contribute to the area in anyway. In other words, its not opportunities. All those working at the site are workers brought in from Turkey.

    [04] Report dated September 1974 reveals that Rauf Denktas was warned over the legal rights of the Greek Cypriots evicted through the force of areas from their homes in occupied Cyprus

    Under the front page title Property warning ignored, Turkish Cypriot weekly Cyprus Today newspaper (24-30.01.09) publishes the following report:

    Two leading legal experts warned Rauf Denktas in September 1974 that Greek Cypriots expelled from their homes in the North would continue to have the legal ownership of their land.

    He was also told not to give any title deeds for land in North Cyprus except to Turkish Cypriot refugees from the South, because if they passed to expats or Turkish settlers the new owners would not be recognized under international law.

    Attorney General Oktay Feridun and Necati Munir Ertekun, head of the Supreme Court, voiced concerns about the property conundrum following the division of Cyprus after the Turkish military intervention that year.

    They warned Mr Denktas, then president of the Cyprus Turkish Autonomous State and previously president of the Turkish Communal Chamber in the Republic of Cyprus,that the property rights of people who had left North Cyprus following the arrival of the Turkish military would not change.

    Essentially their view was that the rights of Greek Cypriot property owners had to be respected and were backed by international law. They were working on the principles of the Hague Convention.

    If Mr Denktas had heeded that advice hundreds of expat buyers, including Linda and David Orams, a retired couple from Hove, Sussex, would not facing the loss of their TRNC homes and the prospect of losing savings or their properties in another European Union member state to pay compensation to former Greek Cypriot owners of land they bought in good faith.

    The Orams bought a part-built house in Lapta [occupied Lapithos] and then completed it, but hit the headlines when the original Greek Cypriot owner demanded the land be returned to him and the couple pay substantial compensation. The case is set to be decided by the European Court of Justice in the next few months.

    A report sent on September 12, 1974, urged that:

    Greek Cypriot-owned properties coming under Turkish control should fall under the scope of temporary regulations for properties owned by foreign nationals.

    In places taken by military intervention family integrity and rights, human life, private property, and religious beliefs and justice must be respected.

    Looting must be officially forbidden.

    Turkey must only be able to take cash, funds, bank stocks, arms, transportation and properties which have a military use.

    Damage to any kind of historic buildings, holy places, cultural places, associations and their properties is forbidden and they should be protected.

    All occupied properties cannot be sold to other parties, but if sold on, the buyer would have no privileges on the property.

    Occupied lands cannot be given under title to the occupiers, but they can operate mines, farms and other agricultural operations, but there should be a ban on cutting down forests, destroying agricultural areas and buildings.

    Occupiers of [Greek Cypriot-owned] land can only control them, run a business on them but not own them.

    Mr Denktas was in Istanbul this week for health treatment and unable to comment on the claims.

    In an interview with Cyprus Todays sister paper Kibris published on Saturday he said he was in favour of a property deal in the event of a settlement based on exchange of land and compensation pay-outs.

    But Mehmet Harmanci, deputy general secretary of the Social Democrat Party (TDP), said the former president ignored the advice from 1977 onwards when title deeds started being handed out like golifa (a traditional Cypriot sweet).

    Initially people were unable to take out mortgages or claim bank credits on the land which meant it was cheap to buy, but that changed in 1994 when the Democrat Party Republican Turkish Party government introduced the Item regulations which allowed the spread of title deeds to Turkish settlers and also for loans to be taken out against the land.

    Mt Harmanci, an expert on the European Union, said he believed the 1974 advice recognized international law. He told Cyprus Today: The Turkish settler got the deed first, then he sold his property to the construction company. Then they sold it to a Jewish company and it finished building the houses and then sold it on to English, German and other expats. But then you have the first owner, the Greek Cypriot, and according to international law he has all the privileges. It is complete chaos.

    The Turkish Cypriot side says it is a political problem, not a legal one, but they are wrong; it is a legal problem. Turkey is well aware of this and is happy with solutions to individual cases.

    Unal Findik, a CTP deputy, said: The Item regulations were wrong from the beginning, according to the Hague Convention, which was part of international law, but the National Unity Party government, gave title deeds away.

    The advice was not followed. The chaos of the current environment is the harvest of those seeds planted after 1977 and, Im afraid, we are going to have tough times after the Orams case.“

    Solicitor Mert Guclu, who was part of the Land Issue committee in the run-up to the Annan Plan, said: I think the Orams case will be the key turning-point for the future of the property issue. If the decision of the European Court of Justice does not back the Oramses, then we will start praying for a peace deal between the two sides.

    [05] A Turkish Law Professors views on the statements of Atilla Olgac

    Hurriyet Daily News.com (27.01.09) reports the following from Ankara:

    While remarks made by a Turkish actor over killing 10 Greek Cypriots, including a prisoner of war, during Turkey's 1974 military operation in Cyprus have drawn fierce reactions, its legal implications are yet to stretch beyond national boundaries.

    Turkey must activate its legal system without delay and launch a probe into the case before it is forwarded to international courts, Yuksel Inan, professor of law at Ankara's private Bilkent University, told the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review yesterday.

    Similar to previous cases of property and missing persons, Greek Cyprus is very likely to sue Turkey at the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights, or ECHR, taking the actor's controversial statements as an admission, according to Inan.

    But an immediate step taken by Turkey to launch an investigation into the event will first demonstrate the country has taken the primary responsibility in handling the case within the limits of its domestic law, while giving Turkey an upper hand in defending its claims before an international court, he stressed.

    Actor Atilla Olgac earlier told a Turkish television program that while serving in the Turkish army during the 1974 operation he shot at least one prisoner dead on orders from a superior. The first person that I killed was a 19-year-old soldier who was taken prisoner. When I aimed my gun at his face, he spat on my face. I shot him in the forehead. He died. Later on, I killed nine more people during clashes, he said. Although retracted, his statements led to public outrage in Greece and Greek Cyprus, who urged Turkey to take immediate action to investigate the issue.

    Inan said that the issue could be pursued through three different avenues: the ECHR; the International Criminal Court on the basis of the Rome Convention; and the 1949 Geneva Convention. Turkey cannot be tried at the International Criminal Court because it has not signed the Rome Convention that makes either Greek Cyprus or any third party unable to lodge a complaint against Turkey and the Turkish actor, said Inan.

    But a path for a trial based on the Geneva Convention is wide open as Turkey is party to the international agreement on the treatment of prisoners of war.As long as Atilla Olgac is within Turkish borders he is subjected to Turkish judicial organs, said Inan. But Greek Cypriots will keep the issue high on the agenda and demand the actor's arrest and trial as a war criminal, based on the Geneva Convention, the minute he goes abroad. Turkey also needs to open an investigation in this case as well, he added.

    Inan said in order to minimize possible setbacks at the ECHR, Turkey needed to take precautionary measures. Recalling the statute of limitations principle in common law, he said Turkey may not be tried because the actor's statements had only been revealed recently but warned that if Turkey failed to act in a timely fashion at this current stage, the court would most probably hold the country responsible for neglect.

    Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (27.01.09) under the title, Olgac could not have killed a soldier, reports on statements of Prof. Dr. Yalcin Kucuk, who is in custody in the framework of the Ergenekon investigation. Inter alia, Dr Kucuk stated that the statement of his fellow soldier actor Atilla Olgac that he killed ten Greek Cypriots during the Cyprus Peace Operation does not reflect the reality and he can show the following as a witness.

    Dr. Kucuk said: Atilla Olgac was my fellow soldier. We fought together in Cyprus. I told them. It is not possible for Atilla to have killed Greek Cypriots during the war. We were in the same unit, if something like this happened I would know it. In Athens they have great confidence in my words. This job is impossible. The major television stations of Greece are coming here for reportages. I explain it to all, the statements of Olgac cannot be true. If it was so, I would know it because we were in the same unit.

    Moreover, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (27.01.09) under the title, The statement of Atilla Olgac is demanded, publishes a report by its correspondent in the occupied part of Cyprus, Mr Sefa Karahasan, about the demand of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus, regarding the statements of the Turkish actor Atilla Olgac.

    According to statements of the Turkish Cypriot member of the committee, Mrs Gulden Plumer Kucuk, Mr Olgac will give information regarding whether the incident took place or not. However, Mr Olgacs testimony must be voluntary. Mrs Kucuk said that the committee will make an investigation regarding the place of burial of the persons mentioned by Mr Olgac.

    (EA)

    [06] Milliyet: A map in the Presidential Palaces official website shows Cyprus as one country

    Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (27.01.09) under its banner headline, The one Cyprus of Cankaya; The map in the official site of the Presidential Palace that must be discussed, publishes an exclusive report that in the official internet site of the Turkish Presidential Palace there is a map showing where President Abdullah Gul is at any time. According to the paper, Cyprus is shown as one country in the map, while the names of the cities are written in English.

    Under the subtitle, On the map there is no TRNC, the paper reports that in the map, which was prepared by using the Google Map, Cyprus is written in English and presents it as a single country and neither the borders of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) nor its name are mentioned on the map. For example the town of Magusa is shown as Famagusta and Lefkosa as Nicosia. If you see the map in detail, the only name that is in Turkish is Guzelyurt [occupied Morfou]. The paper goes on and writes that the new section Where is our President? that was added on January 21 on the site www.cankaya.gov.tr, which is visited by thousands of people daily, it is shown where President Gul is and where he has been with a little flag on the map.

    The paper adds that there is a flag on the TRNC because of President Guls visit to Cyprus on September 19, 2007. When you press on the flag, information is supplied about the trip of Gul and the meeting he had with the TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat, the Parliament Speaker and with government officials.

    [The map can be viewed at: www.tccb.gov.tr/cumhurbaskaninerede/]

    (EA)

    [07] Turk professors views on Turkeys EU accession course and the occupation of Cyprus by Turkish troops

    Todays Zaman newspaper (27.01.09) publishes an interview of European Union expert Can Baydarol, who teaches EU affairs at Istanbuls Kultur University.

    Europe without Borders coordinator for the Turkish International Transporters Association, he teaches European Union affairs at Kultur University in 0stanbul. One of the founding members of the Turkey-EU Foundation (TAV), established in 2004, he served as a researcher for several institutions on European law, Turkish-European relations and the harmonization of the Turkish system with EU law. He has appeared on many television and radio programs on Turkey-EU relations and writes a column for the Finansal Forum newspaper. Among his books are "Medeniyetler Bulustugunda" (When Civilizations Meet), 2004, and "AB ile Tam Uyelik Yolunda Avrupa Toplulugu ile Gumruk Birligi" (Customs Union with the European Community on the Way to the Membership with the EU), 1995.

    Following are Mr Baydarols replies to questions on Turkeys EU course and Cyprus:

    Question: Why has Turkeys significance for Europe increased?

    Answer: The world had been going through a global economic crisis, and the crisis is expected to hit the ceiling this year. Secondly, there has been a global security threat with the recent Israeli offensive in Gaza. Thirdly, Russias blockage of natural gas supplies to Europe has caused the re-emergence of the Nabucco gas pipeline project, which is expected to go through Turkey. Contrary to the role Turkey had during the Cold War as a periphery country, now Turkey has come to the center in the context of each of these developments. For Europe to exert its soft power, Turkey plays a central role. So the EU should pay attention to the sensitivities of the Turkish public in an environment in which there is a risk perception about where Turkey might be heading other than Europe.

    Question: What else needs to be done by Turkey at the EU level to enliven the Turkish publics support for the reform process?

    Answer: There is a need to pressure EU officials to obtain a calendar on Turkeys accession to the European Union. The current open-ended policies of the EU toward Turkeys accession will not get the Turkish public really excited about accession. Turkeys chief negotiator has an important role in following up on the technical aspects of accession. At the same time, he needs strong political support from the prime minister to pursue Turkeys accession goal. Erdoan s visit to Brussels with the new chief negotiator, Ba1, is important in that sense, sending the message that there are actions behind words.

    Question: You have mentioned during our conversation that 2009 may be a decisive year to make or break with the EU and that the issue of Cyprus may be the key. Why?

    Answer: The continuation of the current situation over the Cyprus issue would be a good excuse to break the relations with the EU. Europeans should see that they cannot solve the Cyprus issue without Turkey. Again there is the issue of will on the part of the EU -- if the EU has the will to accept Turkey into the EU, then the Cyprus issue will be quickly solved.

    Question: What type of action would bring a solution to the problem?

    Answer: Having the KKTC [the illegal regime in occupied Cyprus] accepted into the EU would solve the problem together with giving a full membership guarantee to Turkey.

    Question: Now the EUs isolation continues on the northern Cypriots, and, on the other hand, Turkey refuses to open its air and sea ports to Greek Cypriot traffic. Which side is going to take the first step to resolve the issue?

    Answer: When the Turkish Cypriots supported the same Annan plan that the Greek Cypriots rejected, the EU did not deliver what it promised, which was to reduce the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and, as a result, Turkey has refused to open its air and sea ports to Greek Cypriot traffic. Moreover, the EU suspended accession negotiations on eight chapters because of Turkeys stance and agreed to review the situation in 2009. As a matter of fact, it is time for Turkey to review its policy of closing its air and sea ports to Greek Cypriot traffic because there are misperceptions about this issue.

    Question: What kind of misperceptions?

    Answer: The misperception in the public about the issue is that if Turkey opens its air and sea ports to Greek Cypriot traffic that would mean the recognition of the Greek Cypriot administration. Indeed we closed the air and sea ports to Greek Cypriot traffic in 1992; they were open before.

    Question: What would happen if Turkey changes that policy? Would there be any harm to the country?

    Answer: There would be no harm. Turkey could open even one of its air and sea ports to Greek Cypriot traffic as a symbolic gesture, but now both the EU and Turkey have adopted a policy of reciprocal stubbornness. At this point, there should be a synchronous move by the two sides to reach a solution.

    [08] Prime Minister Erdogan to attend Word Economic Forum in Davos

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (26.01.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    The Turkish prime minister will travel to Switzerland this week, his office said on Monday.

    Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday and Thursday for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

    Erdogan will have bilateral talks with a number of heads of state and government on the sidelines of the forum.

    The Turkish prime minister will participate in sessions during which global financial crisis and developments in Gaza will be discussed.

    Besides Erdogan, Turkey's State Minister Mehmet Simsek, State Minister and chief negotiator for European Union (EU) talks Egemen Bagis, and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will attend the Davos meeting.

    As well as economic and financial circles, Erdogan is scheduled to meet Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez, Swiss President Hans Rudolf Merz, the Middle East Quartet representative Tony Blair, World Bank President Robert Zoellick, and former U.S. vice president Al Gore.

    The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum will take place in Davos, Switzerland between January 28 and February 1.

    Around 2,500 people from 96 countries, 43 heads of state and government and 60 ministers are expected to participate in this year's forum.

    Also, about 1,400 CEOs of leading companies are to attend the forum, the theme of which is shaping the post-crisis world.

    Participants will seek solutions to global financial crisis during the forum which will be a scene for about 200 different sessions.

    The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

    [09] Turkish Energy Minister to attend Nabucco summit in Hungary

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (26.01.09) reported the following from Budapest:

    Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Hilmi Guler said on Monday they wanted the Nabucco project to be completed as soon as possible.

    Guler is currently in Budapest, Hungary to attend the Nabucco Summit. Speaking to the A.A correspondent, he said Turkey has supported the Nabucco project from the very beginning and the project was also a very important one in regard to security and strategy of Europe.

    The Nabucco Summit will begin on Tuesday and will be attended by members of Nabucco (Turkey, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary), and high level representatives from the European Union (EU), United States, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Egypt and Georgia.

    The 3,300-kilometer Nabucco project is a planned natural gas pipeline that will transport natural gas from Turkey to Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. It will run from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten an der March, a major natural gas hub in Austria.

    Around 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year will be transported to Europe after the Nabucco project is completed.

    Turkish energy officials said the EU attached great importance to the project as EU leaders did not want to be energy dependent on Russia.

    The Nabucco project is also supported by the United States as it would be an alternative to natural gas supply from Russia, biggest supplier of Europe.

    [10] Poll conducted in Turkey shows that political preferences voters have not changed since 2007 elections

    Yeni Safak online newspaper in Turkish (23.01.09) reported the following:

    An opinion poll conducted by Genar showed that distribution of votes among different political parties has remained unchanged since the general election held on 22 July 2007. The outcome of the survey indicates that the AKP [Justice and Development Party] will poll 47.5 percent, the CHP [Republican People's Party] will poll 23 percent, and the MHP [Nationalist Action Party] will gain 13.7 percent of the poll in the upcoming local elections. The AKP and the CHP will poll higher as compared with the last general election while there will be a slight fall in the number of votes received by the other political parties, including the MHP. The survey also showed that there is a higher popular support for Turkey's accession to the EU.

    The opinion poll conducted by Genar, a polling company, indicated that there has not been a serious change in the political preferences of voters since the last general election held on 22 July 2007. Forty-five point three percent of the respondents said that they would vote for the AKP as compared with 21.4% and 13.7% who said that they would vote for the CHP and the MHP, respectively. Poll ratings of the other political parties are as follows: DTP [Democratic Society Party] 6.4%, DP [Democratic Party] 3.0%, SP [Felicity Party] 2.9%, the Young Party 2.3%, other parties 5.1%.

    According to the results of the survey, there has been an increase in the poll ratings of the AKP and the CHP in contrast with a slight decline in the poll ratings of other political parties, including the MHP. A breakdown of respondents by political parties that they prefer is as follows: AKP 46.5%, CHP 23.1%, MHP 12.5%, DTP 4.9%, SP 2.7%, DP 2.3%, Young Party 1.8%, other parties 5.1.

    According to the findings of the survey, 65.9 percent of the respondents said that they were in favor of Turkey's accession to the EU while 34.1 percent replied that they were against it.

    Only 35.8 percent of the respondents said that the CHP's overture to women wearing headscarf was a positive development while the remaining 64.2 percent expressed an opposite opinion.

    Questions about the performance of the ruling party and the opposition parties were also put to respondents in the survey. Fifty-seven point six percent of the respondents said the AKP's performance as the ruling party was satisfactory while 29.3 percent replied that the CHP was successful as the main opposition party as compared with 29.3 and 12.4 percent who expressed similar opinions for the MHP and the DTP, respectively.

    The opinion poll was conducted by interviewing a total of 1,903 people in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Konya, Adana, Samsun, Trabzon, Diyarbakir, Kayseri, Gaziantep, Tekirdag, Erzurum, and Malatya provinces from 9 January through 19 January.

    People sometimes wish to share their problems and worries with others. The respondents were asked whether Tayyip Erdogan, Deniz Baykal or Devlet Bahceli understand and share their problems better than the other leaders. Erdogan ranked first with 43.9 percent, Baykal ranked second with 14.4 percent, and Bahceli followed them with 13.7 percent. Twenty-six point six point of the respondents replied that they would not pour out their troubles to any of those leaders because they did not believe that they would understand and share them. According to a distribution of the positive responses among the leaders, Tayyip Erdogan was atop the list with 61 percent while Baykal and Bahceli ranked second and third with 20 percent and 19 percent, respectively.

    [11] Turkeys population reached 71.5 million in 2008

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (26.01.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey's population increased 13.1 per thousand and reached 71,517,100 in 2008, according to the results of Address-Based Population Registration System announced by Turkish Board of Statistics (TUIK) on Monday.

    The population was 70,586,256 in 2007.

    TUIK stated that population of 55 out of 81 provinces increased and 26 provinces decreased in 2008.

    The speed of population increase was highest in the northwestern provinces of Yalova and Tekirdag and the southeastern province of Hakkari, while it was the lowest in the northwestern province of Bilecik, the western province of Kutahya and the southern province of Isparta in 2008.

    Address-Based Population Registration System was established in 2007 by registering all addresses within the boundaries of the country in the National Address Database and registering all Turkish citizens living in these addresses linked to the Turkish Identification Number, and the system was transferred to Ministry of Interior--General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs (GDPCA). Since the beginning of 2008, changes in the addresses are updated by municipalities and special administration of provinces and changes in the places of residences based on declaration of persons are updated by the GDPCA.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [12] From the Turkish Press of 26 January 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 26 January:

    a) Turkey-US Relations

    In an article entitled "Approaching crisis with US," Sabah newspaper“s columnist Omer Taspinar views how the Obama Presidency might affect the Turkish-American relations. Pointing to President Obama's inclination to settle international disputes with diplomatic and peaceful policies, Taspinar says: Obama's approach to Iran and Syria is similar to that of Ankara. Obama's Washington is ready to sit at the negotiation table with Tehran and Damascus. Meanwhile, compared to Bush, Obama is likely to pursue a more balanced and active policy for the establishment of peace in the Middle East. Meanwhile, commenting on the "risky" issues that might undermine the bilateral relations between Ankara and Washington, he says that the Armenian lobby has already taken action to have the US Congress adopt the Armenian genocide bill. He says that it would be "unrealistic" to expect the White House to prevent the adoption of the bill any more as President Obama is a supporter of the bill as well. Noting that Turkey lost the support of the Jewish lobby due to the anti-Israeli rhetoric used by Erdogan during the Gaza crisis, he says: "Ankara has to start thinking about creative diplomatic policies if it wants to avoid a serious crisis with the Obama administration."

    In an article entitled "Obama administration and Turkey's direction," Cumhuriyet newspapers columnist Mustafa Balbay disagrees with those who believe that Washington's policies on international issues will change under the Obama Presidency. Noting that the status of the relationship between Ankara and the new US administration is still unclear, Balbay speculates that the United States and Israel might even ignore Erdogan's pro-HAMAS statements if they believe that the Turkish prime minister will serve their interests in the region. He concludes by saying: Turkey should try to establish balanced relations with the regional countries instead of seeking a way to be in contact with the Obama administration.

    A front page is a report entitled "Let us meet in Istanbul," quotes Prime Minister Erdogan as saying in his congratulatory message to new US President Barack Obama that "your impressive inaugural address was encouraging for US friends and allies. Your emphasis on dialog is a major step toward global peace." Erdogan invited Obama to the forthcoming "summit of civilizations" in Istanbul in his message, the report says.

    In an article entitled "Gaza on US agenda", Yeni Safak newspapers columnist Yasin Aktay slams certain Jewish groups for writing a letter to Prime Minister Erdogan in which they "shamelessly" complain about "the wave of anti-Semitism" created by Erdogan's criticisms against the Israeli offensive against Gaza and "threaten" to withdraw their support for Turkey against the Armenian claims of genocide if Ankara maintains its current stance on the Gaza crisis. After referring to the authors of the said letter as a group of "blackmailers who are accessories to murder," Aktay claims that however powerful Jewish lobbies may be, the United States does not consist of them, as indicated by the protest demonstrations against Israel held by non-Muslim and non-Arab US citizens in the United States and President Obama's remarks saying that while Hamas does not have the right to "harass" Israel by firing rockets on this country, the world cannot afford to watch from the sidelines the "desperate" situation of the Palestinian people under Israeli blockade and bombardment.

    In an article entitled "Starting from the right point", Vakit newspapers columnist Mustafa Ozcan praises Barack Obama for "clearly pronouncing his middle name of Hussein during the inauguration ceremony." Ozcan goes on to assert that the Palestinian issue is a problem where the United States' role cannot go beyond that of a facilitator and that Obama could only alleviate the dispute rather than ending it. He also claims that Obama's appointment of George Mitchell as his Mideast envoy has been greeted with concern rather than satisfaction by Jewish circles and that Chaves and Castro have already started to modify their initial disapproval of Obama.

    In an article entitled "Asking for something makes half of your face go black, denying it makes you go Obama", Zaman's Washington correspondent Ali H. Aslan asserts that Obama's inaugural address signaled a swift shift from a "hard power" foreign policy to one envisioning "a sort of a Pax Americana" based on the concepts of deterrence and soft power. Aslan also cites the fact that Obama made no mention of Turkey in his messages on the Middle East, preferring to place the emphasis on Egypt as evidence that Washington does not perceive Ankara as a major player. [The title is an altered form of a Turkish proverb which means that it is more difficult to deny a request than to make one. "Black" in this connection is associated with shame or embarrassment rather than with anger, as it is in English.]

    In a report entitled "Turkish-US Intelligence sharing in Northern Iraq educates Ankara", Today's Zaman writer Lale Sariibrahimoglu quotes "a Turkish military and security official" as saying that "the ongoing US supply of real-time intelligence to Ankara continues to play an important role in educating the Turkish military about the importance of intelligence gathering on both a technical and political level."

    In an article entitled "Heading toward disaster with Washington", Today's Zaman newspapers columnist Omer Taspinar cites the need to "avert a major crisis on the Armenian question" as "the number one priority [in Turkish-US relations] for the next couple of months." He claims that the possibility of such a crisis is complicated by "the mounting sense of frustration in the US Congress with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan" over his remarks about Israel.

    EG/


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