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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-02-23
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 36/09 21-23.02.09
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Rauf Denktas sees Ergenekon in the wider framework of the policy to turn Turkey into a moderate Islamic stateAnkara Anatolia news agency (21.02.09) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia: Rauf Denktas, the first President of the KKTC ["Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus"], indicating that he has expected accusations to be levelled against him with regard to the "Ergenekon" case because he defended the cause of Cyprus in Turkey, has said "They want to silence me, but they cannot silence me with these things."
Rauf Denktas, in a press conference he held in his working office in Nicosia, spoke as follows in response to reports that have appeared in the press in terms of his name having been mentioned in various telephone conversations in the "Ergenekon" investigation:
"We see and are saddened that, in Turkey, under the rubric of the 'Ergenekon' case, patriotic Ataturkist people who are loyal to the Republic, who see that secularism is in danger, and that Turkey is being taken in a certain direction under the name of moderate Islam, are being arrested, and that a good many of them have been sent to their deaths after being confined for 7-8 months, and one even for 13 months, and do not know why they have been arrested. The people taken in under suspicion are being held in confinement as if being told 'you stay locked up; we are looking for evidence, and when we find the evidence, we will bring a case against you.'"
Denktas noted that "bar associations, important lawyers, and the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) have stated that this is not possible."
Relating that he had been telephoned by a newspaper from Turkey and asked about his name having been cited in the telephone conversations of a woman implicated in the "Ergenekon" investigation, Denktas, stating that everyone comes to see him, but that he does not know this woman, said that he has gone through his appointment notebooks for the period in question, and did not have a meeting with this woman.
Stating that someone named Tas Demir has alleged that he [Denktas] had been paid 3-5 thousand dollars in the assignment of ART's Cyprus frequency, and has also made claims regarding real estate purchases, Denktas noted that "this is a great lie, and there was nothing of the sort."
Claiming that he had no connection with the allotment of frequencies, and that he wants the relevant institution that assigns the frequencies to make a statement as to whether or not he had any connection to this issue, Denktas asserted that the land sales alleged to have been carried out with his own mediation were in fact carried out by the Reserve Fund to the Turkish Metal Labour Union, which submitted the highest bid in the bidding process.
Denktas continued as follows: "Why is this suddenly coming up at such a time? There are elections in Turkey, and there are going to be elections in Cyprus. Apparently some officials, angry at the name of Denktas, have been saying 'sully this name; he is too popular in Turkey and in Cyprus, and people believe what he says, so start to discredit him, and we will follow up on it.'"
Declaring that with these lies, the Turkish people have been frightened and intimidated, Denktas said that everyone has become unable to talk on the telephone out of fear that their phones are tapped; the Turkish nation does not deserve this.
Noting that an effort is being made for this to be reflected on Cyprus as well, Denktas said: What is the Ergenekon file that they are seeking it on Cyprus? If the Ergenekon file is an operation to bring down the Turkish government, and that is what they say, then what does it have to do with Cyprus? But no; they are going to bring it to Cyprus, and will connect it to the Turkish Resistance Organization (TMT). Everyone feels honour because they are connected to the TMT, and served it. Let them not seek to sully this national resistance organization, or they will find all the Turks of Cyprus against them.
"I was expecting these things"
Noting that "there has been no court decision regarding what Ergenekon is and who its leader is," Denktas said that he has been expecting accusations related to Ergenekon, and spoke as follows:
"I have been expecting these things, because I defend the cause of Cyprus in Turkey. The course on which the Cyprus cause is currently embarked is leading toward an atmosphere in which a single state, a single people, a single sovereignty, and the European norms will be applied without exception. When we look at the declarations made by the US, British, and EU officials who have come and gone, there is an effort to make acceptable whatever it was that the Greek Cypriots rejected and did not accept in the Amman plan."
Stating that after Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias gave special information to the Greek Cypriot Archbishop and the EOKA [National Organization of Cypriot Fighters] organizations, the Archbishop and the EOKA associations announced that they were pleased, Denktas continued as follows:
"If the Turks of Cyprus, and Turkey, do not see that things are heading toward capitulation, and do not depart from this route, then we will be on a dangerous course. There must be people, who are upset because I have said these things, and they want to silence me, but they cannot silence me with these things. It is our duty to tell the Turkish nation what our national cause is, and where it is headed; warning Mr (Mehmet Ali) Talat, (the President of the KKTC), is our duty."
 The Freedom and Reform Party will distribute plots of land to 212 persons in the industrial area of occupied FamagustaUnder the title Plots of land are also favouritism for the elections, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper reports in its first page that the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), the coalition partner of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), announced, without informing CTP, that it will distribute plots of land to 212 persons in the industrial area of occupied Famagusta.
Referring to the issue in its daily Afrikadan mektup (Letter from Afrika) column, the paper writes that as in every other elections, CTP and ORP resort to favouritism to gain votes, the way the National Unity Party (UBP) and the Democratic Party (DP) acted in the past. According to the paper, while the CTP did not inform the ORP that it approved a four million dollar credit to be given to Cafer Gurcafer, the ORP did not inform the CTP about the distribution of plots of land. Afrika notes that self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci, participated in a live television program of Genc TV television station and said that his party was not informed on the credit issue as regards Cafer Gurcafer. Afrika goes on and writes that the ORP makes business that the CTP is not informed about and announced that it will distribute to 212 persons plots of land in the industrial area of occupied Famagusta.
 The applications of the Greek Cypriots to the so-called property compensation commission reached to 381Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.02.09), in its front page under the title 301 Greek Cypriots who have applied to the TRNC Compensation Commission, demand 608 millions of pounds sterling reports that the number of the Greek Cypriots, who have lost the hope that the Cyprus problem will ever be solved and have applied to the so-called property compensation commission despite the pressure of the government of the Republic of Cyprus, has reached to 381. From these applications, the 55 were compensated, the three can take their property back and the two will exchange property. In addition to that, 19 persons withdrew their applications.
With the 301 applications still pending, are asked huge compensations amounting to 608 million pounds sterling. The paper reports that due to the ever increasing number of these applications which was a cause for concern to the Greek Cypriot side, a new report has been prepared by known Greek Cypriot lawyers for the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) claiming that this commission is not the solution for the property problem and cannot be considered as a domestic remedy.
According to information given by officials of the so-called property compensation commission, the 55 Greek Cypriots, who have been compensated, initially asked for the amount of 56 million 828 thousand pounds sterling, but after bargaining they finally accepted the amount of 7 million 804 thousands sterling. The paper also reports that the compensations were paid by the so-called ministry of finance.
 The countdown for the illegal early elections in the occupied areas of Cyprus has startedIllegal Bayrak television (21.02.09) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia:
The High Electoral Council has announced the official start of the timetable to hold early elections in the country. The electoral council also announced the number of contingent for deputies allocated for each district.
As expected the number of deputies reserved for the Guzelyurt [occupied Morfou] district was reduced from 7 to 6, while Iskeles [occupied Trikomo] contingent was raised from 5 to 6 deputies.
In light of the new changes, the senior governing Republican Turkish Party (CTP), which had earlier announced its Iskele candidates, will now determine its last candidate at its next central executive committee meeting.
According to the new distribution, 16 deputies will be elected from Lefkosa, 13 from Gazimagusa [occupied Famagusta], 9 from Girne [occupied Keryneia], 6 from Guzelyurt and 6 from Iskeke district.
The deadline for parties to name their candidates has been set for the 10th of March. Candidates will be officially announced on the 23rd of March and parties will be able to officially launch their campaign propaganda on the following day. Campaigning will end a day before the election is scheduled to take place on the 19th of April. On Wednesday, the TRNC Parliament had overwhelmingly approved the bill at an extraordinary session. The vote took place a day earlier than scheduled because of the general strike by trade unions.
 Illegal settler from the Black Sea region of Turkey the new Head of the Religious Affairs Department in occupied CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.02.09) and all the other newspapers publish an interview of Dr Yusuf Suicmez, who is the new Head of the Religious Affairs Department in occupied Cyprus. Dr Suicmez was appointed in the position after the resignation of Ahmet Yonluer. Dr Suicmez is 39 years old and is a settler from the Black Sea region of Turkey. He went to the occupied areas of Cyprus when he was six years old. His father is an imam and his wife is Turkish Cypriot. He graduated from the Islam University of Medina and he received his masters and PhD degrees from the Technical University of the Black Sea. He worked as an academician in the two of the illegal universities in the occupied areas and he is a Taekwondo champion. He speaks English and Arabic and because of his Black Sea origin he can also speak some Greek. Dr Suicmez stated, inter alia, in the interview that the Turkish Cypriots are not very religious and do not go to the mosque very often, but however, they are believers.
He was appointed by the President of the Republic, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat after a proposal by the Prime Minister, Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer.
In his statements the Mufti said that the Religious Affairs Department has its roots back to the Ottoman period, it was acknowledged even during the years of the Republic of Cyprus and it is one of the oldest institutions of the Turkish Cypriot. Referring to todays situation of the Religious Affairs Department, Dr Suicmez said: The office has an image problem There is a negative approach to the office and it is seen as an outmoded institution. Now, in this new era we are working for its proper recognition, with new legislation and a new vision. What kind of a Religious Affairs Department in the secular community of the TRNC Taking into consideration also the EU process we started to work on these issues
 The Director of the US National Security Agency is visiting TurkeyTodays Zaman (23.02.09) publishes the following report under the title Top NSA official holds secret talks in Ankara:
A top US official had talks in Ankara on Friday during a visit, raising speculation in the Turkish media that he discussed cooperation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and al-Qaeda and issues of intelligence gathering with the Turkish military.
Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Network Warfare, arrived in Ankara on Thursday and a spokesman for the Turkish military said on Friday that he was scheduled to have talks at the General Staff later in the day. No statement was made regarding his contacts.
Turkish media reports have speculated that Alexander's visit might be related to an ongoing court case into a shadowy network of military and civilian bureaucrats and criminal elements, called Ergenekon. The trial has become controversial as tape recordings of senior military officials revealing their involvement in criminal activities have emerged on the Internet, leading to accusations of illegal tapping.
The NSA faced accusations of illegal spying in the past. In 2006, two lawsuits were filed against the agency over its no-warrant wiretapping program, claiming that domestic eavesdropping is unconstitutional and that then President George W. Bush exceeded his authority by authorizing it.
Speculation in the Turkish media has also suggested that the recent tape recordings involving former and current military officials were possible due to technical assistance provided by the NSA and that Alexander was due to respond to these accusations in his talks at the General Staff.
 How Mr Erdogan understands the freedom of the pressIstanbul Hurriyet Daily News.com (20.02.09) publishes the following unattributed report under the title: PM Erdogan says Obey the Law:
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended an unprecedented tax fine imposed on the Dogan Media Group (DMG) yesterday, telling a rally in southern Turkey "it is not press freedom to defend one's boss."
In fiery rhetoric, Erdogan warned DMG to obey the law and alleged the group is in league with his political opposition to "cover up its wrongdoings," which he declined to identify. "Act within the legal boundaries, instead of attacking the Justice and Development Party each time some ill befalls you," Erdogan said.
Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry released a written declaration saying the probe into DMG's accounts is completely legal. "The ministry noticed a tax evasion, and ruled for a penalty of triple of the unpaid tax amount," the ministry said. The ministry rejected all claims of an ulterior motive behind its ruling. A senior member of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, said yesterday the tax investigation into DMG's accounts was not subjective and was not launched upon instruction from the prime minister. "The Dogan Media Group could be attacking our government in an attempt to block the investigation," AKP's parliamentary group leader Nurettin Canikli told a press conference.
"There are no special privileges for anyone concerning tax investigations. Maybe the reason for this commotion is the removal of privileges for those persons accepted as untouchable. This is a deep-rooted change in terms of tax probes," he said. "It was always the small- and medium-sized taxpayers who were considered responsible for most of unpaid taxes. The assumption is wrong," he said.
The deputy said they had no opportunity to make a technical assessment but made clear the investigation was launched on the basis of such principles as the low profit margin, the imbalance between assets and profit margins and computer data. He dismissed any links "between the investigation and the Dogan Media Group's attacks" on the government. "They started it," said Canikli.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press of 20, 21 and 22 February 2009Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 20, 21 and 22 February 2009:
A report in Hurriyet (20.02.09) says that Turkish Chief of General Staff General Ilker Basbug held a telephone conversation with his Israeli counterpart, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi on Monday and expressed his concerns about critical comments made by Major General Avi Mizrahi, commander of Israeli army headquarters, about Turkey. According to the report, General Ashkenazi replied that Mizrahi expressed his own opinion which, he noted, did not reflect the stance and policy of the Israeli General Staff.
A report entitled "Monsieur Jak's secret 'Davos operation,'" in Hurriyet (20.02.09) says that sources in Turkey have confirmed reports that Jak Kamhi, a Turkish businessman of Jewish origin, secretly visited Tel Aviv last week and told Israeli leaders that exchange of strongly-worded statements between Turkey and Israel would not be beneficial to both sides.
In an article entitled "Relativity," in Hurriyet Daily News.com (20.02.09) columnist Yusuf Kanli draws attention to press reports that Turkish diplomats have reassured their Israeli counterparts that strained relations between the two countries will be normalized after the upcoming Turkish local elections late in March.
In an article entitled "Where is Israel headed?" in Yeni Safak (20.02.09) columnist Fehmi Koru advises Ankara to make a correct assessment of outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's recent remarks in response to Prime Minister Erdogan's Davos walkout ["I did not disclose my plan [to hit Gaza] to Bush, Sarkozy, and Merkel. Why should I share it with any prime minister?"]. He claims that Olmert's statement suggests that Israel has decided to distance itself from Turkey and talk more about war and less about peace in defining its Mideast policy.
Under the banner headline, "Not possible to do without Turkey. Intervene please," Yeni Safak (21.02.09) publishes a front-page report which highlights remarks by Turkish Jewish businessman Jak Kamhi, "who has stepped in to bring about a rapprochement in Turkish-Israeli relations," as saying that Israeli President Shimon Peres wants to mend bridges with the Turkish government [in the wake of what happened at Davos] because he knows that Israel would find itself in a fix in the region without Turkey's support. The report further quotes Kamhi, who made a "surprise visit" to Israel recently and met with Peres, as saying that the Israeli president, "a very old friend of mine," asked Obama to help "normalize" relations between Israel and Turkey.
In an article entitled "Hamas should take part in Israeli-Palestinian talks", in Zaman (21.02.09) columnist Sahin Alpay argues that Ankara's "dialog" with all states in its region and all "non-state players that possess democratic legitimacy" including Hamas is increasing Turkey's importance for the West and bringing it closer to the West rather than being "a clear manifestation of how the ruling AKP is steering Turkey away from the West," as US neocons, the Israeli lobby, and certain quarters in Turkey maintain.
In an article entitled "Can you believe this?" in Yeni Safak (22.02.09) columnist Tamer Korkmaz says that columnists who criticized Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for making accusatory remarks about Israel during an exchange with Israeli President Shimon Peres at a panel discussion in Davos are disappointed to see that it is Israel rather than Turkey which is trying to alleviate tension between the two countries. Noting that Chief of Israeli General Staff has sent a letter to his Turkish counterpart and apologized to him for comments made by Major General Avi Mizrahi about Turkey, Korkmaz says: "These are bad news for Israel's friends in our media who complained that we would eventually be forced to pay a price because of Erdogan's blunder in Davos."
In an article entitled "More Democratic Foreign Policy," in Sunday's Zaman (22.02.09) columnist Ihsan Yilmaz says that the current state of Turkish-Israeli relations has shown once again that in order to be a more powerful and influential country, Turkey needs to make its handling of foreign policy affairs more democratic and transparent.
In an article entitled "A new strategy for Afghanistan," in Milliyet (20.02.09) columnist Sami Kohen writes about US President Barack Obama's decision to send 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan while urging other countries which have troops in Afghanistan to send reinforcements as part of a strategy aimed at winning the war against Taliban which, he says, is about to be lost. Pointing out that Turkey is reluctant to send combat troops to Afghanistan and prefers to contribute to education and social works through 800-strong Turkish unit in the country, Kohen concludes by saying: "If Obama's new strategy will also be adopted by NATO, Turkey will be forced to reconsider its position. This will also be a test in terms of her ties with the Western alliance as well as relations with the Obama Administration. Thus, making a final decision will not be easy."
In an article entitled "Should we give Trabzon to the United States?", in Yeni Safak (20.02.09) columnist Ibrahim Karagul argues that the Kyrgyz parliament's decision to close the US base in Manas amounts to a crucial "geopolitical defeat" for the United States. He goes on to comment on claims that the United States might want to establish a base in the Turkish Black Sea town of Trabzon in order to be able to continue its operations in Afghanistan.
In an article entitled "Obama difference" in Milli Gazete (20.02.09) columnist Zeki Ceyhan asserts that the Obama administration's decision to deploy some 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan has given the lie to arguments based on the new US president's middle name of "Hussein" or "the colour of his skin" that the United States will pursue a very different foreign policy under Obama. He interprets the proposed new deployments as meaning that the amount of US "tyranny" in Afghanistan will increase by at least 50 percent, adding that the "sole consolation" is that there will be a proportionate increase in the number of US soldiers who will find themselves in the crosshairs of Afghan militia.