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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-02-26

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. 39/09 26.02.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Property issue was discussed at the 20th Christofias-Talat meeting
  • [02] Ercakica: There will be no limitations on the issue of property
  • [03] Todays Zaman: European court affirms lawfulness of KKTC courts
  • [04] United Cyprus Party holds the occupation regime responsible for the human trafficking in the occupied areas
  • [05] Vatan newspaper: The works for the project of carrying water from motherland Turkey to the TRNC have been completed
  • [06] Babacan: Turkey s ready to provide assistance to the US withdrawal from Iraq. Turkey is preparing to bargain Frances return to the military wing of NATO
  • [07] Babacan comments on the Turkish-US relations
  • [08] Head of Special Forces commits suicide
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [09] From the Turkish Press of 25 February 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Property issue was discussed at the 20th Christofias-Talat meeting

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.02.09) reported the following:

    The President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias will discuss the topic of European Union (EU) as the third chapter in their talks aiming to find a comprehensive settlement to Cyprus problem.

    The 20th meeting of the leaders ended at the buffer zone in Cyprus on Wednesday. The two leaders discussed on Wednesday the property issue.

    Wednesday's meeting between the Cypriot leaders lasted around 3.5 hours.

    While the Cypriot leaders left the buffer zone without making any statements to the press, Taye Brook Zerihoun, the special representative of the United Nations (UN) secretary general in Cyprus, said that the two Cypriot leaders discussed criteria related to the property issue.

    The two Cypriot leaders will meet again on Thursday March 5, and continue discussions on the property issue, Zerihoun said.

    Following discussions on property, the two Cypriot leaders will begin discussing the topic of EU, Zerihoun also said.

    [02] Ercakica: There will be no limitations on the issue of property

    Illegal Bayrak television (25.02.09) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    The Cyprus negotiations process is moving forward, says the Presidential spokesperson Hasan Ercakica.

    Speaking to reporters at his weekly press briefing yesterday, Mr Ercakica said the talks on the property issue were expected to be completed today or the next week the latest but added that moving on to the next issue so quickly did not mean that an agreement had been reached on the property issue.

    There will be no limitations on the issue of property, he said, adding that the senior aides of the two leaders will continue to take up issues where disagreements remain.

    Ercakica said that the Turkish Cypriot Sides aim was to reach a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Problem by 2009. He said that the next issue to be taken up by the two leaders will either be Economy or the European Union.

    Referring to the upcoming European Parliament elections, the Spokesperson reminded that 2 of the 6 seats of the Parliament allocated for Cyprus belonged to Turkish Cypriots and said that the seats should be kept empty until a comprehensive settlement is reached.

    Stressing that nominations should not be made for the two seats, he said any attempt by Greek Cypriot political parties to name Turkish Cypriot candidates would only serve to usurp Turkish Cypriot rights within the European Parliament.

    Pointing out that a solar energy project to be funded within the framework of the Financial Assistance Regulation was being prevented by the Greek Cypriots by citing the property issue as an excuse, Ercakica said the Turkish Cypriot Side has not even received a third of the assistance envisaged by the regulation because of Greek Cypriot obstacles.

    [03] Todays Zaman: European court affirms lawfulness of KKTC courts

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (26.02.09) reported the following:

    The top European human rights court has acknowledged the lawfulness of courts in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), in a ruling concerning a complaint by a Greek Cypriot citizen against Turkey suggesting she had been deprived of her liberty by a KKTC court unlawfully and arbitrarily.

    The applicant, Eliade Protopapa, had participated in an anti-Turkish demonstration in July 1989 in the Ayios Kassianos area in Nicosia, an area within the UN buffer zone.

    Protopapa alleged that she had been forcefully grabbed by the hair when arrested by the Turkish police and was then subjected to a severe beating with electric batons, causing her painful injuries. She complained that she was then locked in a stiflingly hot room, received no medical attention and was later taken, amidst a hostile crowd cursing and spitting at her, to a garage where she was interrogated in Greek.

    Later that day the District Court of Nicosia in the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' had authorized Ms. Protopapa's detention on remand and two days later had heard her in a hearing. She had refused the legal aid offered by the authorities. Ms. Protopapa had been sentenced to two days in prison, to a fine and to deposit money as a guarantee that she would not breach public peace for a period of one year. Ms Protopapa alleged that, as a result of the ill-treatment to which she had been subjected, her vertebrae had been seriously damaged, the European Court of Human Rights explained in its ruling released on Monday.

    The court had declared Protopapa's application partly admissible in September 2002.

    Protopapa complained that she had been ill-treated, unlawfully detained, tried in an unfair trial, convicted of acts which had not constituted a criminal offence, been unable to take part in a peaceful assembly, did not have at her disposal a domestic effective remedy capable of redressing the violations of her fundamental rights and had been discriminated against on the grounds of her ethnic origin and religious beliefs.

    The Turkish government, meanwhile, submitted that Protopapa had participated in a violent demonstration and had been arrested by the Turkish Cypriot police after she had crossed the UN buffer zone and entered the area under Turkish Cypriot control.

    Eventually, all of Protopapa's complaints relying on the articles covering the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment; the right to liberty and security; the right to a fair hearing; no punishment without law; freedom of assembly and association; the right to an effective remedy; and prohibition of discrimination -- were rejected by the court in its Monday ruling.

    [04] United Cyprus Party holds the occupation regime responsible for the human trafficking in the occupied areas

    Under the title BKP: The Government is responsible for the human trafficking, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (26.02.09) reports in its first page that the member of the Central Executive Committee of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) Abdullah Korkmazhan, noted in a written statement that the human trafficking in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus is organized with the governments hand.

    Mr Korkmazhan stated, inter alia, that it is not only UNHCR representative Mr Kivanc Aktug who is responsible for the issue and added that as it was shown with the latest arrests which took place in the occupied areas, the government and the ministry of interior are responsible for the human trafficking. He also added that in-depth investigation is necessary on the issue of human trafficking. The main responsible for the human trafficking is the regime in the north of Cyprus, the government and the criminal organizations, he stated.

    Mr Korkmazhan went on and added that the ferry lines organized to and from Latakia did do not bring tourists to the country but illegal immigrants and added: Ferry boat lines have started and with them they have transformed our country into a paradise of fugitives and illegal immigrants.

    (CS)

    [05] Vatan newspaper: The works for the project of carrying water from motherland Turkey to the TRNC have been completed

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (26.02.09) reports that it has been announced that the works for carrying water from Turkey to the occupied areas via water pipelines have been completed.

    According to information given by the self-styled Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, officials from the Alarco company which undertook the completion of the project, paid yesterday a visit to the self-styled Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Mr Mustafa Gokmen and informed him that the works for the project have been completed.

    According to the paper, Mr Mehmet Ali Tunar who is the director of Alarco Company expressed in his statements his pleasure for the completion of the works of the project in time as they promised to do and he also expressed the hope that they will be able to provide water to the occupied areas the soonest.

    On his part, Mr Gokmen expressed his enthusiasm and satisfaction for the completion of this important project, as he said, and he added that with the implementation of this project the potable water pipeline would carry 70 million cubic meters of water from Turkey to the occupied areas. Mr Gokmen also said that the completion of the project might mean also that the problem with water the island faces for a many years now will be solved.

    (AC)

    [06] Babacan: Turkey is ready to provide assistance to the US withdrawal from Iraq. Turkey is preparing to bargain Frances return to the military wing of NATO

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (26.02.09) reports the following from Istanbul:

    Turkey is committed to assisting any US troop withdrawal from Iraq and the government is ready to talk with Washington on the matter, a top Turkish official said yesterday.

    Despite reports that the United States was considering to use Turkey alongside Kuwait and Jordan for the withdrawal of its troops and equipment, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Tuesday there had been no official request of Turkey in that regard.

    We are ready to talk about possible requests on that issue, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said yesterday during a luncheon in Istanbul organized by the Foreign Economic Relations Council. We have to help and provide assistance, he said. However, he avoided a question on whether a troop withdrawal from Turkey would require Parliamentary consent and said the legalities would be discussed when a request came from Washington. As to Washingtons appeal for NATO allies to send more troops to Afghanistan, Babacan was non committal. His answer focused rather on the need to win the hearts and minds, of the Afghan people, indicating the unwillingness of Turkey to increase its troops in the country.

    Subtitle: Strong alliance

    Answering a question on the eventual return of France into NATOs military structure, Babacan said Turkey wanted to see a strong alliance. We want all member countries to participate in full -- on all -- NATO activities, he said. Babacan said the details of Frances return to the alliances military wing were still unclear. When the details are discussed, there will be a give and take between NATO and France.

    We are ready to talk about this issue, he said. Babacan was also asked to comment on the recent decision of the European Court of Justice, which ruled against the need of visas for those Turkish citizens providing services to Europe. Without the completion of the legal process and without seeing the legal justification behind the decision, it is too early to predict what kind of concrete implications this decision will bring, he said.

    Moreover, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (26.02.09) reported the following:

    The process of the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq has already started, the US ambassador to Turkey has said, noting that at the moment there is no need for a new agreement with Turkey for using its territory as an exit route.

    An Iraqi-US security pact that took effect January 1 calls for American troops to withdraw from Iraq's cities by June 30 and completely pull out by 2012 -- a timeline that could speed up if President Barack Obama keeps to a campaign promise to have troops out of Iraq within 16 months of taking office.

    Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently said the Pentagon has already examined exit routes through Turkey and Jordan. Both countries, long time US allies, support the withdrawal planning contingencies, Mullen said.

    At the moment there is no need for a new agreement with Turkey for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, US Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey told a small group of journalists late on Tuesday during a reception held to mark African-American History Month.

    US withdrawal from Iraq has already started and troop circulation to and from Iraq via Turkey has been going on within the framework of earlier agreements between the US and Turkey, Jeffrey added, noting that the US already has agreements with Kuwait and Jordan for getting its forces and equipment out of Iraq.

    In testimony before the US House of Representatives earlier this month, the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO) said the Pentagon needed to redefine its withdrawal strategy, saying it had not taken into account either the security pact deadline or Obama's possible accelerated timeframe, The Associated Press reported last week.

    The biggest obstacle is the question of how to move tens of thousands of personnel and millions of tons of equipment out of Iraq, according to testimony by a GAO managing director, the AP report said. It recommended looking at multiple routes through Jordan, Kuwait and Turkey, where the US has already constructed bridge overpasses for heavy tanks on the road between the Iraqi border and the Mediterranean ports of Iskenderun and Mersin.

    When asked whether the transport of heavy and lethal weapons from Iraq to US via Turkey might come on the agenda, Jeffrey replied that if such a situation occurs and necessitates making a new agreement with Turkey, then they would discuss the issue with Ankara. Jeffrey also firmly denied recent news reports suggesting that Washington might look at setting up a military base in the Black Sea city of Trabzon to support NATO operations in nearby Afghanistan and as an alternative to a Kyrgyz base that is due to close later this year.

    Referring to a planned visit to Ankara by George Mitchell, US special envoy for the Middle East, Jeffrey praised Turkey's efforts in the Middle East, saying that it has been playing a key role.

    During a courtesy visit to Turkey's chief negotiator for European Union talks, Egemen Bagis, on Tuesday, Jeffrey reaffirmed the US's support for Turkey's EU membership.

    [07] Babacan comments on the Turkish-US relations

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.02.09) reported the following from Istanbul:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said Wednesday the prevention of future financial crisis may not be possible without a global approach.

    Speaking at a luncheon hosted in Istanbul by the Turkish-American Business Council, Babacan said that Turkey pays high importance to the meetings of the G-20 countries.

    I believe that the impact of the economic crisis cannot be minimized by the mere efforts of individual countries, Babacan said. Without a global approach, it would be impossible to avoid future financial crisis, Babacan said. Turkey is the sixth biggest economy in Europe and among the world's top 20 economies. Turkey is likely to become one of the top 10 economies in the world by the year 2023, when Turkey will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of its republic. There is no other country developing as rapidly as Turkey, Babacan said.

    Turkish-US economic relations are not satisfactory. The trade volume between Turkey and the US was 16 billion USD last year and this amount may seem good compared to previous years. Nonetheless, there should be more mutual investments between Turkey and the US, Babacan said. We have positive expectations on Turkish-US (economic) relations, Babacan said.

    Among the topics on the agenda of the new US administration are Afghanistan and Pakistan. Turkey possesses close, friendly relations with both of these countries. We worked hard to eradicate problems between Afghanistan and Pakistan. If correct steps are taken, the problems in Afghanistan could be solved. US foreign policy will shift its attention from Iraq to Afghanistan. We believe that regional security and stability will contribute to global stability and security, Babacan said.

    Touching on Turkey's foreign policy, Babacan said that a process of dialogue began with Armenia. This is a good process. The process aims to normalize relations with Armenia. We are moving in the right direction, Babacan said. We have decided to open 15 new embassies in Africa, Babacan said. We are pursuing projects for development, Babacan said. We have opened a new page in relations with India, Babacan said. Turkey was elected to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member last October. This was possible by winning the hearts of many countries. We received 151 votes from a total of 192, Babacan said.

    Our efforts received appreciation in all corners of the world. Turkey's stance, principles it put forward and values that it defends have received (positive) response from the global community, Babacan also said.

    [08] Head of Special Forces commits suicide

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (25.02.09) reported the following:

    The head of Turkish Special Forces fatally shot himself after allegations linked him to the controversial Ergenekon case, news agencies reported early on Wednesday.

    Behcet Oktay died at a hospital in the Turkish capital of Ankara after shooting himself in his car, agencies said.

    Oktay's name was included in the testimony of Ergenekon suspect Ibrahim Sahin, the former head of the Turkish Special Forces.

    The Ergenekon case, which has divided Turkey, was filed against more than 80 people on the charge of forming an illegal organization to provoke a series of events that would pave the way for a military coup.

    Oktay had told officials from the Security General Directorate that he wanted to resign from his post after the allegations aired in the media, hurriyet.com.tr said. But officials told Oktay that there was no reason for him to resign.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [09] From the Turkish Press of 25 February 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 25 February 2009:

    a) Kurdish Issue

    Fikret Bila maintains that by speaking in Kurdish, Ahmet Turk gave his answer to Erdogan, implying that the cosmetic changes the prime minister has been doing in connection with the Kurdish language are far from being enough. In a commentary in Milliyet, Bila argues that speaking in Kurdish is "the most important aim for the PKK-Democratic Society Party, DTP, in creating and spreading the awareness of a Kurdish nation." Therefore, the columnist says, this is a national problem, and all the other parties must formulate joint policies to protect national unity and encourage integration.

    Sabah's Nazli Ilicak views the DTP leader's speaking in Kurdish at the party's parliamentary faction from two angles. In an article, she argues that Ahmet Turk violated the law, but that in terms of democracy, he may have been justified even if he jumped the gun. Ilicak explains that several steps have been taken to lift bans on the Kurdish language, Kurdish letters W and X, Kurdish music, and even exiled Kurdish singers. "All this is a sign that the Political Parties Law will be amended one day, and that the ban on politicians to speak Kurdish will be lifted," she says.

    Rusen Cakir maintains that Ahmet Turk's move was a good thing. In an article in Vatan, the columnist points out that the DTP leader's move did not cause a crisis because the majority of the nation believes by now that speaking in Kurdish is "legitimate." Cakir predicts that "the incident will not have any political repercussions other than help the normalization of speaking in Kurdish." He then analyzes the ambivalence with which the DTP views the state television's Kurdish channel, TRT 6, saying that on the one hand it is pleased because it sees it as a lift of the ban on the Kurdish language, but on the other it is uncomfortable because it perceives the AKP using the channel as a propaganda tool.

    Radikal's Murat Yetkin, too, welcomes the move, arguing that it will not have much of an impact on the political equation. "This only shows the distance Turkey has covered in the past 15 years," Yetkin affirms, "from the capture of Ocalan to the lifting of capital punishment and from the EU reforms to the change in the views toward the Kurdish question." In the second part of his article, the columnist refers to an announcement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin who said on 24 February that a branch of the tripartite committee on the fight against the PKK would be established in Arbil, north Iraq, in order to improve the effectiveness of the work done by the committee. Yetkin maintains that "stripped of its political parlance, this means that the Iraqi Kurds are to host an important intelligence and operation centre in the fight against the PKK." This means that we can expect to see not only political but physical pressure against the PKK from north Iraq, the columnist says, and that is thanks to the change in Ankara's stand toward the Kurdish administration in north Iraq, as well as its softened stand regarding the Kurdish issue.

    In an article in Gundem Online, Veysel Sarisozen faults state television TRT's decision to stop relay coverage when DTP leader Ahmet Turk addressed his party group meeting in Kurdish. Noting that there are TRT broadcasts in Kurdish 24 hours a day on TRT 6, Sarisozen maintains that a television channel does not have the right to determine whether or not speaking Kurdish is a crime and that therefore TRT itself has committed a crime by ending the broadcast. The columnist points out that the TRT's reaction has also revealed the truth behind AKP's decision to launch Kurdish broadcasts: to conduct a struggle against the DTP and not to give the Kurds their rights.

    In an article entitled "Kurdish in Parliament", Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu criticizes Democratic Society Party, DTP, Co-Chairman Ahmet Turk for delivering part of his address to his parliamentary group yesterday in Kurdish, causing the state-owned TRT to stop its live broadcast of Turk's speech. Bayramoglu asserts that Turk's behaviour provides grounds to believe that the DTP has a low opinion of the TRT's launch of a Kurdish language channel, that it wants to have a monopoly on initiatives to address the Kurdish issue, and that it expects to benefit from the perpetuation of this problem.

    In an article entitled "These guys might even investigate the author of the Koran", Vakit Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya accuses DTP Co-Chairman Ahmet Turk of expressing his "rancour" and "allergy" against religion in claiming in defence of his use of Kurdish in delivering his parliamentary group speech yesterday that if the Kurdish language is to be excluded from Parliament, so should female visitors who come to Parliament wearing Islamic chadors. Karakaya claims that "the Kurdish people are Muslims first, Kurdish second," adding that Ahmet Turk and the DTP will pay a political price for disassociating themselves from the values and religious sensitivities of Kurds.

    In an article entitled "What is the DTP's problem?", Zaman columnist Mustafa Unal describes DTP Chairman Ahmet Turk's use of Kurdish in making his parliamentary speech yesterday as a well-calculated move intended to create tension in the country ahead of the local elections at a time when several initiatives by the ruling AKP in addressing the "Kurdish issue" including the start of a Kurdish language television channel and the transfer of large funds to south-eastern provinces have started to promote "normalization" in the southeast.

    In an article entitled "Fanning the flames of autocracy", Zaman columnist Mehmet Kamis asserts that DTP Co-Chairman Turk "hit the raw nerves" of the Establishment in delivering part of his parliamentary group address yesterday in Kurdish. He claims that Turk's move has served to promote the purposes of supporters of the status-quo in Turkey as seen in the way they have started to cite Turk's behaviour as evidence of "what happens if you provide so many freedoms." He criticizes the "provocative" "timing" and "style" of Turk's act, asserting that rather than working for the wellbeing of Kurds in Turkey, the DTP is following a line that translates into "you should pay a political tribute if you want this problem solved." He also argues that Turk's move suggests that the AKP's policies on the southeast have found an echo among voters in this region.

    b) Erdogan seen by columnists as changing

    Metin Munir pens a commentary in Milliyet, where he recalls how, at the beginning Prime Minister Erdogan was widely supported by the West and Turkey's "white Turks" [meaning the rich, educated, and secular elite]. He was seen as a moderate and democratic Muslim, loyal to the United States and Israel, and aiming to join the EU, Munir remembers. Nevertheless, the columnist charges, "the leopard cannot change its spots," and the prime minister began to show his true colours. He gained control of almost all the organs of the state, and his self-confidence grew. He is not afraid of anything anymore. Munir warns that what is to come is even more frightening because, as he predicts, the Justice and Development Party will gain more than 50 percent of the votes in the coming local elections, and Erdogan will become a "combination of Ahmadinejad, Putin, and Chavez." "This is the end of the white Turks and of white Turkey," Munir warns, "and the adventure begins now."

    Voicing the same concern in an editorial in Vatan, Gungor Mengi refers to a recent report published by the Washington Institute that suggests that the Turkish prime minister may have an Islamist agenda. The columnist points out that the West which used to support Erdogan is now ringing alarm bells that Turkey is moving toward the Russia-Iran-Sudan axis. Can this change in the US stand be of any use, Mengi asks, "can the United States save us?" He replies: In the words of the Greek philosopher Diogenes, "do not cast a shadow on my sunlight, I do not want any other favours... because we are in the current situation not despite the United States, but thanks to its nonsense about 'moderate Islam."

    EG/


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