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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-05-04

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. 80/09 01-04.05.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Lattakia ferry journeys to occupied Famagusta re-launched
  • [02] Talat discussed the ECJs verdict on the Orams case at a breakfast with journalists
  • [03] The breakaway regime will keep secret the identity of the 25 thousand foreigners who purchased property in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [04] Former deputy of CTP accuses his party of not giving weight to the solution of the Cyprus problem
  • [05] Commissary stores closed to the public
  • [06] Reference to Cyprus from a Turkish Prime Ministers address to the Turkish nation
  • [07] The US State Department describes counterterrorism cooperation with Turkey as a key element of strategic partnership
  • [08] Davutoglu explains the foreign policy to be followed after taking over from Babacan
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [09] Basaran Duzgun comments on the importance of the appointment of Ahmet Davutoglu to the Foreign Ministry of Turkey; Important benefits for the Cyprus problem.
  • [10] New FM Davutoglu to build order-instituting role for Turkey
  • [11] From the Turkish Press of 01, 02, and 03 May 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Lattakia ferry journeys to occupied Famagusta re-launched

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.04.09) reported the following from Damascus:

    Syria and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) ferry journeys will start again as of May 1.

    The journeys from the Syrian port of Lattakia to Gazimagusa [occupied Famagusta] port in the TRNC will take place twice a week.

    The journeys were suspended during the winter.

    [02] Talat discussed the ECJs verdict on the Orams case at a breakfast with journalists

    Writing in his daily column in Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (01.05.09), Hakki Atun reports that on Thursday the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat invited some journalists, columnists and researchers for breakfast in order to brief them about the verdict of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the Orams case. Mr Atun describes the invitees of Mr Talat as columnists, researchers and commentators who write articles in the way of thinking called patriotic and having approximately the same age.

    Mr Atun writes that lawyers from the office of Mr Talat have also participated in the breakfast and replied to the questions of the journalists and adds that Mr Talat gave them details and information off the record. The columnist notes that when the time comes and with the permission of Mr Talat they will share this information with the public.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] The breakaway regime will keep secret the identity of the 25 thousand foreigners who purchased property in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (01.05.09) reports that the breakaway regime has developed a new plan to protect the 25 thousand foreigners who purchased property in the occupied areas of Cyprus after the verdict of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the Orams case.

    Noting that these foreigners are facing the danger of confiscation of the property they possess in the occupied areas of Cyprus, the paper writes that Hasan Sungur, chairman of the North Cyprus Real Estate Agents Union, said that the plan which will guarantee the rights of the more than 25 thousand foreign buyers of immovable property in the occupied areas, 90 % of whom come from Britain, will be announced in two weeks time. The paper notes that the Greek Cypriots will not be able to find these foreigners and even if they find them they will not confiscate their property. The paper writes that the verdict of the ECJ has caused panic among the aforementioned foreigners and adds that the government of the breakaway regime has started its counter offensive.

    We are not announcing the details of the arrangement in order for the Greek Cypriots not to be able to take counter measures, said Mr Sungur. He noted that after the verdict many foreigners called their real estate agents and added: If the Greek Cypriots cannot find them, there is no problem at the moment, but in case they find them and give them to court they are afraid of being deprived of their property.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Former deputy of CTP accuses his party of not giving weight to the solution of the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.05.09) reports that a former deputy of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Mr Fadil Cagda, in an interview to the paper, said that the main mission of CTP before going to power was to solve the Cyprus problem and added that this was the reason why CTP won at that time the so-called elections, because he had the support of the people. Mr Cagda said that the CTP as a government did not give so much weight to the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Mr Cagda said that during that time the CTP entered into an argument with those who were in the government of the Republic of Cyprus and against the administration of AKEL. He also said that the CTP brought into the agenda separatist proposals and added that the CTP has removed the trust with which it would be possible to solve the Cyprus problem.

    [05] Commissary stores closed to the public

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot Kibris newspaper (01.05.09) publishes the following:

    As of today the commissary stores in the TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] are closed to the civilian public.

    Under order issued from Turkeys Chief of Staff Commendership to the Cyprus Turkish Peace Forces Commandership as of 1st May the entry to the commissary stores has been forbidden to all civilians not holding military entry card. While some citizens reacted to the prohibition of entry to the military canteens the market owners assessed as positive the decision.

    [06] Reference to Cyprus from a Turkish Prime Ministers address to the Turkish nation

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.04.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that it was not possible for the Republic of Turkey to be included in an initiative which might harm Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani government.

    In a televised address to the nation, Erdogan said that efforts for the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia aimed to settle peace, confidence and stability in the region.

    In regard to U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Turkey, Erdogan said that Turkey once again attracted great attention of the world due to the visit.

    U.S. President Obama made a good impression on the Turkish nation and the world due to his messages in favor of peace and compromise during his visit to Turkey, he said.

    Erdogan said that remarks (of Obama) regarding the 1915 incidents were unacceptable and historians should deal with this matter.

    Erdogan said regarding the Cyprus issue that he believed that Turkish Cypriot party's efforts for restoring peace in the island would also carry on in the following period and negotiations launched by Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat would be concluded successfully.

    Premier Erdogan recalled that he also paid a visit to the British capital of London for a G-20 summit. A sound international cooperation was of great importance to fight against global economic crisis and G-20 countries gathered to make a plan to weather economic crisis, he said. Turkey made great contributions to the G-20 summit with its views and proposals, he said.

    In regard to the Turkish economy, Erdogan said Turkey was one of the countries which were least affected by the global economic crisis.

    The Turkish government urgently took several important steps to minimize the negative impacts of the global economic crisis on the Turkish people and the Turkish economy was firmly standing on its feet, he added.

    [07] The US State Department describes counterterrorism cooperation with Turkey as a key element of strategic partnership

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.05.09) reported the following from Washington:

    Counterterrorism cooperation is a key element of the USA's strategic partnership with Turkey, a report by the U.S. Department of State said on Thursday.

    U.S. Department of State released Country Reports on Terrorism for 2008 and said in the part on Turkey that domestic and transnational terrorist groups have targeted Turkish nationals and foreigners in Turkey, including, on occasion, USG personnel, for more than 40 years. Terrorist groups that operated in Turkey have included Kurdish nationalists, al-Qa'ida (AQ), Marxist-Leninist, and pro-Chechen groups.

    Turkish terrorism law defines terrorism as attacks against Turkish citizens and the Turkish state; this definition may hamper Turkey's ability to interdict, arrest, and prosecute those who plan and facilitate terrorist acts to be committed outside of Turkey, the report said.

    It said, Turkish National Police and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) conducted a successful series of raids against suspected AQ-affiliated terrorists.

    The report said most prominent among terrorist groups in Turkey was PKK and it operated from bases in northern Iraq and directed its forces to target mainly Turkish security forces. In 2006, 2007, and 2008, PKK violence claimed hundreds of Turkish lives, it said.

    The report said, The Turkish government has proposed a number of reforms to its counterterrorism and intelligence structure including increasing civilian control of counterterrorism operations and improving civil-military cooperation in CT efforts. The reform proposals predated 2008, but were given a sharper focus following the October 4 Aktutun attack.

    Turkey has consistently supported Coalition efforts in Afghanistan. Turkey has over 800 troops as well as a military training team in Kabul, a civilian Provincial Reconstruction Team in Wardak Province, and has undertaken training of Afghan police officials, politicians, and bureaucrats in Turkey, it said.

    [08] Davutoglu explains the foreign policy to be followed after taking over from Babacan

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.05.09) reported from Ankara that Ali Babacan, who has been appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State, handed over the Foreign Ministry to his newly appointed successor, Prof Ahmet Davutoglu, at a ceremony held in the ministry building.

    After thanking President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan for their trust, Davutoglu said that his new appointment is a great honor and privilege for him and that it provides him with a new opportunity to repay his debt to Turkey.

    He said: "In truth, we are all trying to repay our debt to this country, nation, and its well-established state tradition." He added that people may change offices but that their sentiments and determination remain the same.

    Noting that Babacan is a very good example of this, Davutoglu said that [Babacan's] proactive and farsighted policies did not change when he took over as foreign minister after serving as minister of state for the economy.

    Davutoglu said that Babacan demonstrated very effective and sagacious management during his tenure as foreign minister at a time when the international system and many structures in the region were being reshaped.

    Stating that he is taking over this charge from Babacan with peace of mind, Davutoglu said that he is also taking over a great responsibility and a powerful legacy.

    The new foreign minister said that Turkey must be a country that is consulted on every issue in the world.

    Noting that a very serious transformation has occurred in Turkey's foreign policy in recent times, Davutoglu said that [Turkey] has switched from a crisis-centered approach to a vision-centered approach.

    Davutoglu noted that, today, the Turkish vision is mentioned in many international forums. He added that Turkey is no longer a country that reacts to crises, but one that senses crises before they materialize, that can intervene in them effectively, and that creates order around itself.

    Noting that the Turkish vision is built on three legs, "national, regional, and global," Davutoglu said that he will work to maintain the continuity of these three legs in the coming period.

    Davutoglu said that he will work to ensure that Turkey takes the place it deserves in world rankings as a prosperous country which has established its balances of freedom and security and that his aim will be to leave to future generations a Turkey that is one of the world's most powerful countries.

    Davutoglu said that Turkey will persist in its effective policy of establishing order in the region. He added: "Primarily, we have to work to transform our zero-problem relations with our neighbors to ties that maximize our interests."

    Commenting on areas of new initiatives such as Africa and Latin America, Davutoglu said that Turkey has the potential to become not only a country that is known in its own region but also one that is consulted on every issue ranging from climate change to economic and political balances.

    Stating that Turkeys regional and global vision will make it one of the most influential countries in the world in the coming period, Davutoglu said that this is in fact the most effective implementation of Ataturk's principle of "peace at home, peace in the world." He added that his ministry will work to ensure that the approach of establishing effective peace and order remains prevalent in the country's foreign policy.

    Noting that [Turkeys] strong state tradition will be the most important supporting element of this approach, Davutoglu said that the Foreign Ministry community is one of the most prominent entities of this tradition.

    Davutoglu said that foreign policy encompasses not just diplomacy but also domains such as the economy, energy, and culture, Davutoglu said that close cooperation with other ministries will continue in these domains.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [09] Basaran Duzgun comments on the importance of the appointment of Ahmet Davutoglu to the Foreign Ministry of Turkey; Important benefits for the Cyprus problem.

    Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis (04.05.09) publishes a commentary by columnist Basaran Duzgun under the title The appointment of Davutoglu to the Foreign Ministry on the reshuffle of the Turkish cabinet as it was announced by the Turkish Premier, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and stresses the importance of the appointment of Professor Doctor Ahmet Davutoglu to the position of the Foreign Minister of Turkey.

    The columnist refers in his commentary to the important contribution of Mr. Davutoglu to the foreign policy of Turkey especially in the Middle East and the negotiations between Syria and Israel.

    Basaran Duzgun reports also that the interest of Ahmet Davutoglu who was appointed to the Foreign Ministry of Turkey, for the Cyprus problem is very high. The columnist writes also that he was one of the architects for the formulation of the stance of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) regarding Cyprus, especially during the Annan plan period.

    He dealt personally with the plan and he was leading the bargaining taking place behind the scenes, writes Duzgun who argues also that the appointment of a name which is well acquainted with the Cyprus problem, to the position of the Foreign Minister, would bring advantages in many terms.

    Duzgun reports also, inter alia, that in his point of view, the most important benefit is the expected reduction of the effect of the strong non-solution lobby which exists among the bureaucrats in the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

    (AK)

    [10] New FM Davutoglu to build order-instituting role for Turkey

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (04.05.09) publishes the following report:

    Ahmet Davutoglu has consistently avoided a formal political role for years, keeping his however little hopes alive that he will one day return to where his heart belongs: the world of academia. That hope receive one final, and fatal, blow on Friday, when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared him the new foreign minister of Turkey, replacing Ali Babacan, as part of a wide reshuffle in his Cabinet.

    Davutoglu, an esteemed professor of international relations, will now both formulate and execute foreign policy; something which keeps observers guessing on whether he will be more active in foreign policy or too busy with the day-to-day obligations to devise grand strategies, or the vision, to use his terminology, that has shaped foreign policy since 2002.

    His impact on Turkish foreign policy is compared to that of Henry Kissinger on US policies in the 1970s. As the chief foreign policy advisor for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Davutoglu expanded Turkish foreign policy beyond its traditional Western-oriented focus and built close ties with the Middle East. He was the architect of dialogue with all the political actors of the Middle East, including the most controversial ones, such as Hamas leader Khaled al-Mashal; he was behind the Turkish mediation between Syria and Israel; he devised the strategy for dialogue with all groups in Iraq, including the Kurds with whom Turkey had long troubled ties and anti-US leader Muqtada al-Sadr's Shiite followers.

    While taking over the post from Babacan, 42, at the Foreign Policy headquarters, Davutoglu vowed Turkey's influence in its region will continue to grow, saying it will have an "order instituting role" in the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus region. But he also underlined that relations with the West would continue to be the main foreign policy focus.

    Turkish foreign policy has changed, he said, from being a crisis-oriented one to one based on vision, allowing Turkish policy-makers to spot the potential crises before they emerge and devise policies to tackle them. Accordingly, Turkey now had a stronger foreign policy vision toward the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus region, he said, and added: It has to take on the role of an order-instituting country in all these regions. Turkey is no longer a country which only reacts to crises, but notices the crises before their emergence and intervenes in the crises effectively, and gives shape to the order of its surrounding region.

    Davutoglu also said Turkey had a responsibility to help stability towards the countries and peoples of the regions which once had links with Turkey, referring to the Ottoman era. Beyond representing the 70 million people of Turkey, we have a historic debt to those lands where there are Turks or which was related to our land in the past. We have to repay this debt in the best way, he said.

    Some commented that Davutoglu's appointment as foreign minister is a sign that Ankara's focus in the new era will be more on an expanded influence in the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Balkans and less on Turkey's troubled bid to join the European Union. Egemen Bagis, a pragmatist politician who has recently been appointed as Turkey's chief negotiator, is widely expected to be in charge of relations with the EU.

    Although Davutoglu has shaped Middle East policies, he has never refrained from working on EU ties. He has played a key role in the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) first taboo-breaking foreign policy action, which was a new policy to support reunification in Cyprus on the basis of UN parameters. The island is still not reunified but Ankara's policy reversal was a key step, which eventually brought an EU decision to open accession talks with Turkey in 2005.

    Most recently, however, he tends to think that greater Turkish influence in the Middle East will force the EU's reluctant political leaders, such as France's Nicolas Sarkozy, to drop their objections to Turkey's membership. He might be right, after all, as Sarkozy and others, like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have made sure on more than one occasion that they will still not want its membership even if Turkey carries out all the necessary reforms. Turkey's path to the EU, at least in the short term during which the Sarkozy-Merkel opposition will shape the European policy towards Turkish membership, may end up passing through not the reforms, but a stronger standing in the Middle East where the EU has vital interests. On Saturday, Davutoglu reassured that relations with the West would remain the main focus of Turkey. The European Union and NATO are the most important pillars of the policy of setting a balance between security and freedom, he said.

    [11] From the Turkish Press of 01, 02, and 03 May 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 01, 02 and 03 May 2009:

    a) ECJ judgment on the Orans case:

    In an article entitled "Will Orams ruling affect a possible Solution?" Hurriyet columnist Ferai Tinc (01.05.09) emphasizes that the European Court of Justice's ruling stating that any judgment handed down by a Cypriot court should be enforceable in the EU-member countries may deliver a serious blow to ongoing negotiations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Pointing out that around five thousand British citizens who have purchased homes built on plots of land previously owned by Greek Cypriots as well as Turkish Cypriots who own property in the United Kingdom may face sequestration of their homes in the United Kingdom under the Court's ruling if they refuse to return those plots of land to Greek Cypriots, Tinc says: "All eyes are now on the British court. Will it issue an order for the sequestration of the Orams' home if they refuse to demolish their homes in Lapta [Lapithos] and return it to its owner or put the dossier received from the European Court of Justice to one side and provide an opportunity for a solution although the latter seems to be a remote possibility?"

    b) Cabinet reshuffle:

    Analyzing the cabinet reshuffle announced by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday in his article entitled Cabinet reshuffle, Hurriyet columnist Oktay Eksi (02.05.09) predicts that there will be no change in the government's policies because none of the new ministers appointed by Erdogan is likely to propose changes to current policies. Pointing out that Omer Dincer's inclusion in the Cabinet indicated that Erdogan is still loyal to the National View movement, Eksi notes that some ministers, including Huseyin Celik, Kemal Unakitan, Kursat Tuzmen, Mehmet Ali Sahin, and Mehmet Hilmi Guler were replaced because the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, lost in their constituencies in the last local elections on 29 March.

    A report entitled "Baykal: AKP's leading ideologues are in the cabinet" in Hurriyet (02.05.09) quotes Republican People's Party leader Deniz Baykal as saying that AKP leadership decided to include a team which is affiliated with the National View and opposes the current regime in Turkey in the Cabinet. He noted: "I do not think that the new Cabinet will change policies followed by the government in the past. It is not possible to hope that mistakes in foreign policy will be prevented, corruption will be eliminated, and the economic policy will be improved."

    In an article entitled "AKP moves toward the center," Milliyet columnist Taha Akyol (02.05.09) says that the cabinet reshuffle is intended to change perceptions that the government was not successful in handling economic issues and foreign policy, could not wage an effective fight against corruption, and that it took steps giving rise to concerns in the pro-secular camp which, he notes, tarnished the AKP's image. Pointing out that Ahmet Davutoglu who has been appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs was behind every successful diplomatic overture made by Turkey in the past couple of years, Akyol says: "It seems that the government will lay emphasis on foreign policy while trying to alleviate political tension."

    In an article entitled "Bulent Arinc joins the MGK [National Security Council]," Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila (02.05.09) draws attention to comments that the Cabinet has become more conservative after the appointment of Bulent Arinc and Omer Dincer probably due to the Felicity Party's success in the local elections. Bila points out that Arinc may trigger heated debates in the National Security Council because of his views about secularism which led to frequent disputes with the military in the past.

    In an article entitled "An anti-crisis cabinet," Radikal columnist Murat Yetkin (02.05.09) says that the new Cabinet will primarily focus on finding solutions to various crises facing Turkey. He says: "Cicek, Arinc, and Babacan actually formed a strong team of strategists who are capable of taking ambitious steps in the fields of politics, security, constitutional amendments, and economy for both Erdogan and Gul."

    In an article entitled "He has sent all his aces to the field," Vatan columnist Rusen Cakir (02.05.09) argues that Prime Minister Erdogan actually formed a new government because eight ministers were sacked and nine new ministers were appointed. Pointing out that the cabinet reshuffle was a tacit admission of the fact that the AKP suffered a defeat in the local elections, Cakir comments: "By appointing Arinc Deputy Prime Minister, Erdogan probably intended to change the perception that he is the only leading figure within the party, to check the Felicity Party's rising popularity, and to inject new policies into his party and the Cabinet."

    In an article entitled "Government revamped", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru (02.05.09) asserts that "performance" considerations appear to have dictated some of the new appointments to the AKP cabinet announced by Prime Minister Erdogan yesterday. Commenting on the selection of Ahmet Davutoglu, a non-parliamentarian, as Turkey's new foreign minister, Koru says that after having served as a behind-the-scenes contributor to foreign policy for some time, Davutoglu will continue to serve that function in a more responsible position from now on. Koru also lauds the ruling AKP for officially declaring May Day a festival and opening Istanbul's Taksim Square to celebrations yesterday, adding that a government that is capable of making such decisions can also draw up a democratic constitution in place of the current constitution, which "reflects the mindset of the 12 September, 1980 coup."

    In an article "news analysis" entitled "Government showcases new generation politicians", Zaman writer Omer Sahin (02.05.09) cites the economic crisis as the reason behind the appointment of Ali Babacan as state minister in charge of the economy in the new cabinet. He also underlines the "radical" nature of the choice of Professor Ahmet Davutoglu for the post of foreign minister, noting that Davutoglu is the first non-MP to be selected for this position in 25 years and the first person from outside Parliament to be appointed to the cabinet ever since the AKP came to power seven years ago.

    In an article entitled "The golden rule: the rug may be pulled anytime," Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru (03.05.09) says that the outcome of the local elections held on 29 March seems to have shown to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he may eventually fall from power and prompted him to replace some ministers. Pointing out that the new Cabinet should try to alleviate political tension while achieving successful results in the fields of economy and foreign policy, Koru comments: "Will the AKP [Justice and Development Party] be able to make use of this opportunity in the next two years? Will it, for instance, mend its weakened alliances and attempt to form new ones? Will it attempt to establish healthy relations with some establishments such as the media which were neglected in the past? Will it make amends to its old friends whom it has offended and act flexibly enough to ensure that its opportunist allies who may defect anytime will continue to cooperate with it? Will it continue to take it for granted that AKP deputies will remain loyal and regard other political parties as the opposing front or make efforts to win over its political rivals and to make its grass roots happy instead? If it can achieve these, we can consider that the AKP government has successfully used this opportunity for making a fresh start."

    In an article entitled "A political revision," Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone (03.05.09) says that Ahmet Davutoglu who, he notes, is the architect of Turkey's diplomatic strategy which yielded successful results in the past couple of years is expected to deal with important regional issues during his tenure as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Pointing out that the recent cabinet reshuffle was also aimed to find a solution to the deepening economic crisis and the Kurdish question, Turkone says: "The members of a Cabinet are normally named by the Prime Minister in a parliamentary system. Success is the only criterion which will determine whether or not the Prime Minister's choice was prudent. Turkey is facing serious problems. A policy is judged not by actors or tools used, but by its outcome."

    A report entitled "Time has justified us," Milli Gazete (03.05.09) highlights comments made by Felicity Party, SP, leader Numan Kurtulmus about the cabinet reshuffle which he attributes to the SP's strong showing in the local elections. Asserting that US President Obama will revise the Broader Middle East Initiative and shift the US military campaign from Iraq to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Kurtulmus advises Davutoglu to follow a cautious policy about the possibility of sending more Turkish troops to Afghanistan.

    In an article entitled "What does the cabinet reshuffle signify?" in Milli Gazete (03.05.09) columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan sees the decline in the AKP's votes in the local elections and the current economic crisis as the main reasons behind Erdogan's decision to sack some ministers. He comments: "An important fact revealed by the last elections was that the Felicity Party will become an alternative to the ruling party in the next general election. It would, therefore, not be wrong to conclude that the increase in the number of votes won by the Felicity Party has been influential in the cabinet reshuffle."

    No one will live in safety or tranquility in a country where the judiciary is not independent, underlines Oktay Eksi in a commentary in Hurriyet (03.05.09) and criticizes the ruling party for having failed to take positive steps for the impartiality of the judges or the independence of the judiciary during the past seven years. Recalling that new Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin had been accused of granting the supporters of the Justice and Development Party, AKP, public tenders in Hatay, Eksi says: "We will see whether it is appropriate to hand the 'Justice' Ministry over to a person who has been accused of 'misusing his political authority." Eksi also argues that Ergin will pursue the same line as Cemil Cicek and Mehmet Ali Sahin and will avoid taking steps for the independence of the judiciary.

    Following the 2007 elections Erdogan was not able to see the rapid deterioration of the economy throughout the world and he therefore downgraded the approaching storm, asserts Milliyet columnist Osman Ulagay (03.05.09) in an article and adds that the fact that Ali Babacan is once again in charge of the economy gives the impression that the era of speaking nonsense in the economy has ended. There is no doubt that to this end the prime minister should primarily refrain from interfering in Babacan's work, underlines Ulagay.

    Certain persons describe Ahmet Davutoglu as Turkey's Kissinger and this is not an exaggeration because similar to Kissinger, Davutoglu has also achieved the impossible with shuttle diplomacy, says Sabah's Erdal Safak (03.05.09) in an article and lists Davutoglu's efforts in the international arena. Pointing out that everyone is curious to know what kind of steps he will take as Turkey's foreign minister, Safak notes that foreign ministers conduct their first visits to capitals that are important in terms of their governments and underlines that in terms of Turkey Baku is of priority importance during these days. Safak says: "We believe that if Prime Minister Erdogan takes him along and visits Azerbaijan, this will strengthen Davutoglu. In our opinion the second visit should be conducted to Kabul because according to NATO sources, Afghanistan where Turkish troops are also stationed is on the eve of the most violent days since 2001, when the Taliban had been toppled." Safak argues that Davutoglu may have a positive influence on moderate members of the Taliban.

    Erdogan does not want the AKP to become a second Motherland Party and therefore it is possible to describe the new cabinet as 'return match' cabinet and as a mobilization cabinet that aims to reverse the drop in the AKP's popularity rate, asserts Murat Yetkin in an article in Radikal (03.05.09) and notes that the fact that Babacan is now the only person in charge of the economy and Davutoglu is the new minister shows Erdogan is determined to use all his means in fighting the problems. To link Arinc's return only to the rise of SP will be political short sightedness, says Yetkin and adds: "Erdogan seems to have been convinced that it will be more difficult for him to take the necessary steps, including the steps regarding the Constitution, without Arinc." Yetkin asserts that the role assumed by Gul in determining the new names in the cabinet shows that the president does not intend to leave Erdogan alone in the mobilization for the general elections.

    c) Motion against Minister; Lighthouse case:

    In an article entitled "No-confidence motion against Sahin," Hurriyet columnist Oktay Eksi (01.05.09) writes about a motion of censure tabled by three MPs from the Republican People's Party against Minister of Justice Mehmet Ali Sahin on the grounds that he permitted the police to illegally wiretap telephone conversations for a period of three months from 24 April 2008 and that charges brought against various defendants standing trial in the Ergenekon case were leaked to the press before they were made available to their lawyers. Eksi says: "Mr. Sahin would do the judicial system in this country a great service by tendering his resignation. But, he does not need to worry because Prime Minister Erdogan would persistently defend him."

    In an article entitled "Resignation is an honorable solution," in Hurriyet (01.05.09) columnist Tufan Turenc accuses Sahin of trying to cover up the Lighthouse scandal which he describes as the greatest fraud witnessed in Europe. Pointing out that a statement issued by German authorities effectively repudiated comments made by Sahin about a dossier received from German authorities about the case, Turenc comments: "Concealing a dossier about a case involving defendants who have been convicted by a German court of fraud is not something appropriate for the Minister of Justice of Turkey. To make a long story short, the Minister should act as a responsible statesman and tender his resignation."

    In an article entitled "Fighting a war of influence through the Deniz Feneri case", Vakit Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya (01.05.09) slams the "campaign" to "smear" the Turkish charity Deniz Feneri [Lighthouse] and convict it on charges of corruption as a "lynching" effort being conducted by the German government, the Dogan media group, and the Republican People's Party, CHP. He claims that the real target of the campaign is the ruling AKP and that the effort to use the Deniz Feneri fraud case as a means of discrediting the AKP is a manifestation of a power struggle between Germany and the United States.

    In an article entitled "Fighting a war of influence through the Deniz Feneri case", Vakit (01.05.09) Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya slams the "campaign" to "smear" the Turkish charity Deniz Feneri [Lighthouse] and convict it on charges of corruption as a "lynching" effort being conducted by the German government, the Dogan media group, and the Republican People's Party, CHP. He claims that the real target of the campaign is the ruling AKP and that the effort to use the Deniz Feneri fraud case as a means of discrediting the AKP is a manifestation of a power struggle between Germany and the United States.

    d) Turkish Armenian US relations:

    In an article entitled "Obama honeymoon ends abruptly," Hurriyet Daily News columnist Semih Idiz (01.05.09) argues that US President Barack Obama's Armenian commemoration statement on April 24 appears to have brought an abrupt end to the honeymoon in Turkish-U.S. relations that started with his election and peaked with his recent high-level visit to Turkey. He comments: "Put briefly, President Obama's statement has, wittingly or unwittingly, put the Armenian issue at the center of Turkish-U.S. relations once again, and has ensured that this will remain a problematic topic for some time to come."

    In an article entitled "Karabakh link," Milliyet columnist Sami Kohen (01.05.09) says that a comprehensive agreement between Turkey and Armenia or road map which was unveiled last week does not set the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh dispute as a precondition for normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia. He notes: "But, the continuation of this process and its results will hinge on Armenia's withdrawal from Azeri soil around Nagorno-Karabakh which it has invaded and the stand it will take in negotiations about its status. Turkey will insist on parallel development of those two processes." Kohen also emphasizes that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan should visit Azerbaijan in order to dispel Aliyev's anxieties, adding that the Azeri President should trust assurances given by Ankara rather than seeking a definitive answer.

    In an article entitled "Challenges and opportunities," in Sabah (01.05.09) columnist Erdal Safak shares the view that Erdogan should pay a visit to Baku in order to dispel mounting anxieties about amelioration of relations between Turkey and Armenia. Pointing out that Turkey can become the most influential country in the region if Ankara can manage this process skillfully, Safak comments: "If Turkey ensures that peace is achieved between Azerbaijan and Armenia through the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute while normalizing her relations with Armenia, Russia's influence over the Caucasus may decline to its lowest level in the past three centuries."

    In an article entitled "How did Obama deceive Turkey?" in Vatan (01.05.09) columnist Ruhat Mengi says that the term "meds yeghern" which was used by US President Obama in his statement while referring to Armenian allegations of genocide may eventually entail grave consequences for Turkey. She urges the Turkish government to apply to the European Court of Human Rights in order to obtain a ruling stating that "meds yaghern" cannot be used unless there is a judgment handed down by a court officially recognizing that term.

    In a commentary entitled "Azerbaijan-Turkey: What happened to 'Two States, one Nation'?", in Milli Gazete (01.05.09) writer Oya Akgonenc argues that Ankara's "extremely complicated and incomprehensible policy on the Caucasus" prompts the following questions: 1. Why is Turkey conducting negotiations with Armenia in Switzerland despite the fact that the Swiss government has always maintained an unfavorable approach to Turkey in connection with the Armenian issue? 2. Why is Azerbaijan not being informed of the details of the talks? 3. Why is the Karabakh issue not part of the road map agreement with Yerevan? 4. Can Ankara actually gain anything by holding "secret" talks with Yerevan as long as Armenia does not stop accusing Turkey of genocide?

    In an article entitled "US interest in Turkey," Milli Gazete (03.05.09) columnist Sakir Tarim argues that Obama's recent visit to Turkey showed that there was no change in the US foreign policy and goals. Asserting that the United States intends to use Turkey as a launch pad for achieving its goals in the world, especially in Muslim countries, Tarim says: "The United States felt it necessary to improve its tarnished image which is associated with war, occupation, torture, exploitation, pain, blood, and tears during the Bush presidency. It, therefore, elected Obama as president. Nobody should be deceived by nice talk, praise, and gifts sent by trucks. There is no room for sentimentality in foreign policy. Mutual benefits are the main factor between countries."

    e) May Day rallies:

    In an article entitled "Labor at Taksim square," Hurriyet Daily News (02.05.09) columnist Yusuf Kanli emphasizes that Turkish trade unions were allowed to organize a rally at Taksim Square in Istanbul in order to mark May Day for the first time since 1 May 1978 when 37 demonstrators were killed after unidentified snipers opened fire on the crowd. He says: "This year the government has re-instituted May Day as an official holiday and for the first time since 1978 allowed labor to have a May Day celebration in Taksim Square with a 'reasonable number' of participants. Despite violence on the sideways leading to Taksim, steps have been taken toward eradicating the May Day tensions and violence that have become a tradition since the 1977carnage. Hopefully, next year the government will allow a mass celebration in Taksim."

    In an article entitled "1 May," Sabah (02.05.09) columnist Nazli Ilicak says that there were significant differences between May Day rallies held yesterday and on 1 May 2008. Emphasizing that labor unions took a reconciliatory stance yesterday which contrasted sharply with their policies in the past, Ilicak comments: "It is normal that the ghost of the bloody 1 May still haunts us. We overcame our fears to a certain extent by partly opening Taksim Square to workers yesterday. We will gradually normalize the situation in the coming years."

    EG/


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