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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-02-24

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. 37/09 24.02.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Egemen Bagis on the Cyprus problem: Without withdrawing a single soldier, without giving back a span of soil, we changed the international balances
  • [02] MUSIAD held contacts in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [03] Turkish President to address the 7th European Business Forum as an honorary guest
  • [04] Turkeys National Security Council to convene on Thursday for its first meeting in 2009. Relations with Israel and the EU among the issues of discussion
  • [05] Various surveys in Turkey show AKP well ahead
  • [06] Turkey and the US are discussing US withdrawal from Iraq. Armenian genocide bill among the bargaining chips
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [07] Columnist in Todays Zaman argues that the Jewish lobbies will come out weaker after Erdogans showdown at Davos
  • [08] From the Turkish Press of 23 February 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Egemen Bagis on the Cyprus problem: Without withdrawing a single soldier, without giving back a span of soil, we changed the international balances

    Under the title We have proved that the Greek Cypriots are the cause of the non-solution, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.02.09) reports that the Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks, Egemen Bagis, stated that the Greek Cypriots are responsible for the non-solution of the Cyprus problem. Mr Bagis made these statements speaking at a conference organized by the Tourism High Scholl of the Aegean University of Cesme, under the title The latest developments in the EU process and the effect on Tourism.

    Noting that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, continues the negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem with President Demetris Christofias, Mr Bagis stated: You know that we supported the Annan Plan. 66% of the TRNC said yes to the referendum for the Annan Plan. As regards the Greek Cypriot sector, it said no in a percentage of 76%. Without withdrawing a single soldier, without giving back a span of soil, we changed the international balances. We showed that the side which blocked the solution was the Greek Cypriot side, he stated.

    Moreover, Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.02.09) reported the following from Cesme:

    Turkey's chief EU negotiator said on Monday that the recent decision taken by European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the visa requirements of Turkish nationals was a quite important development for the Turkish community living in Europe.

    During a meeting with a group of businessmen and leaders of several NGOs in Cesme coastal town of Aegean province of Izmir, Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis said that he discussed ECJ's decision with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn.

    Our legists are working on the issue. I have held talks with Mr Rehn and we have also had a meeting with the Commission's Ankara bureau. We will now follow the developments. We have also started joint studies on how the upcoming process will be carried out, he said.

    Bagis also said that the case filed by Turkish lorry drivers on German authorities' visa requirements from Turkish nationals showed the importance of seeking one's individual rights.

    This case is an important development for the 4 million Turks living all across Europe, Bagis said.

    A Turkish lorry driver, Mehmet Soysal, filed a case with a Berlin State court in 2007 asking for the cancellation of a visa requirement from Turks. The Berlin court then asked the ECJ to rule on whether Article 41 of the Additional Protocol could be applied to Germany's demands of Schengen visas from Turkish drivers working internationally.

    The German court also requested from the ECJ, in the case the ECJ ruled that visas may not be required from Turkish lorry drivers, to explain if the decision entitles all Turks to enter Germany without visas. On February 19, 2009, ECJ ruled that visas should not be required from Turkish nationals who were planning to enter EU-member states to provide service.

    In a decision sent to a German court, the ECJ said that EU cannot require visas from Turkish nationals based on Article 41 of an Additional Protocol signed by Turkey and the European Economic Community on November 23, 1970.

    ECJ said, at the time of the entry into force of the Additional Protocol with regard to the Federal Republic of Germany, namely 1 January 1973, Turkish nationals such as the appellants in the main proceedings, engaged in the provision of services in Germany in the international transport of goods by road on behalf of a Turkish undertaking, had the right to enter German territory for those purposes without first having to obtain a visa.

    (CS)

    [02] MUSIAD held contacts in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.02.09) reports that a delegation of the Independent Industrialists and Businessmens Association (MUSIAD) from Turkey, which is carrying out contacts in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, met yesterday with the so-called prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer. During the meeting, Mr Soyer noted that the average growth rate during the last four years has been 13% and added: While there was a fixed capital investment of 900 million dollars until 2003, the investment of fixed capital increased to 3 billion dollars in the last four years with the contribution of Turkey and private local enterprises.

    Mr Soyer also said that the Gross National Product has increased from one billion dollars to 305 billion dollars adding that this development was achieved in spite of the isolations imposed on the occupation regime. He said that there is no reason why they should not reach to Maltas level.

    (DPs)

    [03] Turkish President to address the 7th European Business Forum as an honorary guest

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.02.09) reported the following from Brussels:

    Turkey's President Abdullah Gul will be the honorary guest of the 7th European Business Summit to be held in March as a meeting place between high-level decision-makers and business people in Europe.

    This year's edition of the summit will take place on March 26 and 27 in Brussels with the theme "Dare and Care: sustaining Europe's ambitions - Financing, Staffing and Greening."

    Gul will attend the event that will focus on Turkey as the honorary guest and address European business circles at the summit.

    Turkey's leading mobile phone operator Turkcell will also host a panel session at the summit that will bring together EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, Turkish State Minister & Chief Negotiator for EU Talks Egemen Bagis, Turkcell's CEO Sureyya Ciliv, chairman of the Turkish Confederation of Employers' Unions (TISK) Tugrul Kutadgobilik and International Coordinator of the Turkish Businessmen's and Industrialists' Association (TUSIAD) Bahadir Kaleagasi.

    [04] Turkeys National Security Council to convene on Thursday for its first meeting in 2009. Relations with Israel and the EU among the issues of discussion

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (24.02.09) writes that on Thursday, Turkeys National Security Council will hold its first meeting for 2009 and among the issues of discussion will be the outline of a new coordination in the fight against terrorism, the measures to be taken before the Navruz holiday, the recent clashes within the terrorist organization, Turkeys relations with Israel after the Davos incident and Turkish EU relations.

    The meeting will take place in the renovated conference room equipped with new technology.

    (ML)

    [05] Various surveys in Turkey show AKP well ahead

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (24.02.09) reported the following:

    As the countdown continues to the approaching municipal elections, scheduled for March 29, polls conducted by various research companies reveal that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is well ahead of its rivals.

    A number of surveys conducted by various research companies, including KONDA, SONAR, MetroPOLL, Ankethane, Verso, GENAR and ANDY-AR, suggest that the governing party will garner between 40 and 50 percent of the vote in the upcoming local elections, through which voters will determine more than 200,000 new mayors and hundreds of provincial and local administrators.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently announced that he expects the AK Party to win 50 percent of the vote in municipal elections. Recent public surveys reveal that the ruling party is not far from Erdogans objective.

    Tarhan Erdem, the owner of the KONDA Research Group, was the first pollster to put forward that the governing party will garner around 50 percent of the votes in the local elections. Erdem had made the best prediction about the percent of the vote the AK Party would receive in the July 22, 2007 polls, thanks to a survey conducted by his research company. Erdem stated that current Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas will be triumphant in municipal elections in Istanbul, adding that the AK Party is likely to face a defeat in Izmir, one of the strongholds of the main opposition Republican Peoples Party (CHP).

    A recent survey conducted by the Ankara-based MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Centre revealed that the prime ministers approval ratings went up 19 percent after his showdown with Israeli President Shimon Peres last month at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss ski resort of Davos. According to the survey, 49.3 percent of the participants said they plan to vote for the AK Party in the elections. In the survey, the CHP got 11.5 percent and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) 5.3 percent of the vote.

    In a survey by the SONAR Research Group on municipal elections in Istanbul, 48.6 of city residents plan to vote for the AK Partys Kadir Topbas, while 36.7 percent plan to vote for the CHPs Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

    A survey conducted by Ankethane suggested that the AK Party will garner more votes in the approaching local elections than it did in the July 22 polls. The company claims that the ruling party will receive 63 percent of the votes and conquer two strongholds of the CHP: Izmir and Trabzon.

    The survey, however, revealed that the AK Party will face difficulties in winning the mayoralty of the southern provinces of Diyarbakir, Sirnak and Batman.

    Diyarbakir, the largest city in the Kurdish-populated Southeast, is a key election battleground that the AK Party wants to conquer as it remains a traditional stronghold of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), which normally holds the largest share of the vote, followed by the ruling party.

    A decisive win in the local polls would consolidate the AK Partys grip on power and give it momentum to pursue its policies, including a plan to reform the current Constitution -- drafted under military rule -- which is key for Ankaras hopes to join the European Union.

    The Ankethane survey also suggested that the MHP will receive more votes than the CHP in municipal elections, with 14.7 percent. The CHP will follow the MHP with 13.9 percent of the vote, according to the survey.

    The survey also indicated that the AK Party will receive skyrocketing shares of votes in a number of provinces. Among these are Kayseri with 81 percent, Samsun with 66 percent, Antalya with 64 percent and Kocaeli with 54 percent.

    Verso Research has claimed that the AK Party will be triumphant in major cities, including Ankara and Istanbul. Its owner, Erhan Goksel, was first detained and later released as part of the ongoing investigation into Ergenekon, a criminal organization charged with attempting to incite chaos and undermine stability in Turkey with the hope of triggering a coup. Goksel previously claimed that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) would lend support to the AK Party in the local elections against the pro-Kurdish political parties in the region.

    GENAR also argued in a recent survey that the AK Party would sweep around 50 percent of the vote in the approaching elections.

    ANDY-AR has similar expectations, arguing that the ruling party will garner more or less 56 percent of the vote, based on a recent poll it conducted in 34 provinces.

    The surveys conducted by the research companies also revealed that the mayoralty race in some cities will be tough for the political parties. The AK Party and the DTP will clash for south-eastern Diyarbakir and the AK Party will fight against the CHP and the MHP for Ankara.

    [06] Turkey and the US are discussing US withdrawal from Iraq. Armenian genocide bill among the bargaining chips

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (23.02.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey and the U.S. have officially begun preliminary talks on the use of Turkish soil for the transfer of American troops, arms and other logistic equipment in Iraq, diplomatic sources said.

    Diplomats, along with military officials from both countries, have come to the table to discuss the details of the issue, the sources added.

    U.S. army chief, Adm. Mike Mullen has said the Pentagon has already examined possible exit routes through Turkey and Jordan. Both countries, long time U.S. allies, support the withdrawal planning contingencies, said Mullen. Another alternative exit route passes through Kuwait.

    However, an Associated Press report said during the weekend that the U.S. military is working through logistic obstacles and bottlenecks as it tests possible exit routes, including Turkey, Kuwait and Jordan, for battlefield equipment ahead of the withdrawal from Iraq.

    The U.S. has already constructed bridge overpasses for heavy tanks on the road between the Iraqi border and the Mediterranean ports of Iskenderun and Mersin.

    Subtitle: Another decree crisis?

    As a sign that the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq is imminent, Turkey has extended an agreement with the U.S. that opens the Incirlik base to use by American forces as a "logistic hub," the sources added.

    According to the agreement, the U.S. cannot bring "lethal" weapons and/or materials through Incirlik; it can use the base as a central inbound/outbound station for its soldiers.

    If the U.S. decides to use Turkey as an exit route, approval of the Turkish parliament would be required. The deeper negotiations will start once such a decision is made, the sources in Ankara underlined.

    In March 2003, parliament rejected a decree to allow U.S. troops to launch their invasion of Iraq from Turkish territory. The agreement on the Incirlik base came after a rejection of the decree.

    Speculation in Ankara suggests that Turkey might play this card against the Armenian attempts to have their claims regarding the 1915 incidents recognized by the U.S. Congress.

    According to the speculation, Turkey could pledge to open its borders to the U.S. on the condition that a legislation that would recognize the Armenian claims would not come to the agenda of the U.S. Congress.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [07] Columnist in Todays Zaman argues that the Jewish lobbies will come out weaker after Erdogans showdown at Davos

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (24.02.09) publishes the following commentary by Ali Bulac under the title, Fury of the lobbies:

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's showdown in Davos inevitably hurt bilateral relations between Turkey and Israel. High-level officials from both sides have made harsh statements.

    To some degree, these statements are understandable. However, when they cross the line and the parties' attitudes and stance become harsher, the criticisms turn into serious problems, causing unpleasant results. A recent column by David L. Phillips from The Boston Globe (Feb. 20) is one such example. Phillips relies on a threatening tone.

    If Erdogan wants to restore his reputation as a statesman and a reliable partner of the West, Turkey must repair its ties with Israel, normalize relations with Armenia, and welcome ships from Cyprus. Becoming an advocate for Hamas is a mistake. Turkey's future lies with the West. The Islamist street leads away from Europe to the Middle East, he writes.

    This is obviously not trying to be polite. It is arrogant and crosses the line of criticism. A country like Turkey is not afraid of such threats; it won't consider the threats referred to by Phillips.

    In fact, Erdogan's response to Peres in Davos should not be exaggerated. Other Arab countries have done the same. Muammar Qaddafi described the Arab leaders as cowards for their failure to do anything vis--vis the civilian massacres in Gaza. The Algerian parliament adopted a resolution making all diplomatic and commercial relations with Israel a crime. Morocco's King Muhammad VI declared that he would not humiliate and embarrass himself by participating in any Arab summit that failed to take effective action against the anguish of the Gazans. We also know a lot about the initiatives of the emir of Qatar under the roof of the UN Security Council. Iran, while displaying a balanced reaction, never wavered in its position vis--vis Israel.

    All these examples show that the prime minister's reaction to the attacks leaving 1,380 dead bodies behind was pretty normal. Besides, the Israeli prime minister paid an official visit to Turkey five days before the attacks to discuss the fifth round of peace talks with Syria; during this visit, he did not make any mention whatsoever about the attack on Gaza. According to Turkey, a country like Israel, which masterfully concealed its plans, cannot be trusted anyway because Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert undermined Turkey's prestige and image in the eyes of Syria.

    Jewish lobbies in the US falsely believe that they are strong enough to make their agenda accepted. This is not true. Prime Minister Erdogan's legitimacy and status is derived from the support and endorsement of Turkish people because Turkey is a democratic country. It is true ours is not a perfect democracy, however, it could be comfortably said that Turkey's democracy is way better and far more advanced than that of Israel. A democracy that makes 1.5 million Arab citizens second class citizens and where 85 percent of the people approve of the civilian massacres deserves close scrutiny. The lines between the military will and power and the civilian administration are not clear and visible; criteria determining these lines are blurred. The role of democratic reactions should be taken into account when developing a stance and position with respect to Israel, Armenia and Cyprus. This was the primary factor behind the rejection of the notorious March 1 motion by the Turkish Parliament.

    In the end, it seems that Erdogan's rage and reaction remained unfruitful and did not culminate in concrete action. Considering the close military, diplomatic and logistical relations between Turkey and Israel, it is obvious that this reaction did not harm Israel. For instance, if Turkey had cancelled its agreement on training Israeli pilots and commandos in Turkey, we might have concluded that Erdogan's reaction was based on some concrete action.

    When it comes to the Jewish lobbies' threats with respect to the Armenian genocide claims, this is not something Turkey should be worried about. There will be no difference between the endorsement of the claims by the US Congress and the approval of the same allegations by parliaments of other countries. Besides, the Jewish lobbies will be most affected by this because they will lose the monopolistic power over the "genocide" issue.

    [08] From the Turkish Press of 23 February 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 23 February 2009:

    a) Foreign Policy

    Milliyet columnist Semih Idiz cites two Western analysts' assessments on Turkey to assert that "while Prime Minister Erdogan gains admiration in the 'Islamic East, the West's suspicions concerning Turkey are increasing." According to Dominique Moisi, a senior consultant at the Paris-based French International Relations Institute, the West is losing Turkey, which is not Western in essence, largely because of the actions on the part of the EU, the United States, and Israel. David Phillips, president of the US Atlantic Council Turkey Initiative, on the other hand, contends that Erdogan has become the darling of Damascus and Tehran on account of his Davos outburst and pro-HAMAS stance, and this constitutes "a poisonous pill in terms of Turkish-US relations." Idiz argues that if Erdogan still attaches importance to Turkey's modernization project and its relations with the West, this perception of Turkey in the West should force him to do some thinking.

    In an article entitled "The liberal turn in Turkish foreign policy", Today's Zaman columnist Ihsan Dagi asserts that "Turkey's quest to secure peace, security and stability in [its] region by mediating between Israel and Syria, the US and Iran and Fatah and Hamas ... is part and parcel of a liberal foreign policy that is based on cooperation, engagement, and multilateralism."

    Too preoccupied with the role of guardian of "the other," Turkey has become a country that is confused about its foreign policy priorities, Ferai Tinc says in an article in Hurriyet. Noting that a comprehensive foreign policy trend has come to the fore since the global economic crisis and the election of Obama in the United States, Tinc states, however, that this is not tantamount to embracing everyone one encounters. Tinc criticizes Foreign Minister Ali Babacan for declaring that Turkey is in favour of including Russia in the Nabucco natural gas line project. She takes issue with Babacan's argument that Turkey is opposed to any move that excludes Russia and makes it feel besieged. Pointing out that the guardianship of those who are excluded is the only factor that seems to lead Turkish foreign policy, Tinc explains furthermore that no one is seeking this guardianship and no one is being excluded. She concludes: This continuous concern to play the leading role is making our foreign policy inconsistent.

    In an article entitled "Why Obama called Ankara", Zaman's Washington correspondent Ali H. Aslan interprets US President Obama's recent phone calls to President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan as meaning that mutual disagreements and "periodic disappointments" in bilateral relations between Washington and Ankara notwithstanding, realpolitik continues to dictate good relations and cooperation between the United States and Turkey. Aslan goes on to comment on what was discussed during the phone conversations between the three leaders regarding the Armenian issue, the situation in the Middle East, and the latest rapprochement between Turkey and Russia.

    In an article entitled "The importance of Gul's visit to Africa", Zaman columnist Mehmet Yilmaz cites Turkey's deployment of a war ship to the Gulf of Aden and President Gul's visits to Kenya and Tanzania as developments confirming Stratfor's prediction that Turkey's power will inevitably increase in the long term to make it the leader of its region and that Turkey could once again become a maritime force capable of influencing events in North Africa.

    b) Levy on Dogan Media Group

    "Where are we headed?" questions a leading editorial in Cumhuriyet, while asserting that "the astronomical tax levy imposed on the country's biggest media institution, the Dogan Group, has raised "great concerns over Turkey's democratic future." Pointing out that the Justice and Development Party, AKP, is interested in Dogan media outlets, the editorial says that this interest intensified in the wake of the Deniz Feneri case in Germany. The prime minister declared the Dogan Group an enemy after its media outlets carried reports on this case, the editorial says, adding that the AKP is trying to gain full hegemony over the media. Other examples of this are the transfer of Sabah to a pro-AKP patronage and the recent questioning of Mehmet Karamehmet, the owner of the Aksam newspaper, within the framework of the Ergenekon case. The editorial concludes that the success of the AKP government appears to be synonymous with the end of the state of law in Turkey.

    In a column in Hurriyet, Mehmet Yilmaz argues that back when a closure suit was filed against the AKP, Erdogan and his close entourage held the media responsible for this, and Erdogan decided "to eradicate the media which he is unable to control." Yilmaz says that the tax fine on the Dogan Media Group that has come up now is the execution of the decision made back then. According to Yilmaz, Erdogan believes that he will never have to account for his deeds because he will remain in power forever, but his end will also come precisely because of his "tendency to turn into a dictator." Yilmaz adds that "a government that has lost its democratic legitimacy cannot succeed in surviving no matter how powerful an order of fear it has established." Erdogan, too, will learn this in the not too distant future, Yilmaz maintains. Another sign that Erdogan wishes to turn the power he gained through elections to a dictatorship consists of his plan to amend the by-laws of the Turkish Grand National Assembly to effectively prevent it from fulfilling its supervisory duties -- the mechanism of checks and balances. Moreover, Yilmaz remarks that the government is also planning to restrict the authorities of the judiciary. The efforts to limit the powers of the judiciary and the legislative and to silence the media show that "the prime minister wants to become a king who was brought to power through elections," Yilmaz concludes.

    EG/


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