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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-05-25

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. 95/09 23-25.05.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by Talat on the negotiation process
  • [02] Eroglu evaluated the election result and stated that the recognition of the TRNC does not constitute an obstacle for an agreement
  • [03] Statements by Ozgurgun during his visit in Ankara
  • [04] The self-styled foreign minister attends the OIC
  • [05] Whom to believe in?
  • [06] Serdar Denktas: The goal of Eroglu is to become a president
  • [07] Turkish Ambassador to UN Ilkin said that the negotiations in Cyprus should be accelerated in order for the outcome to be successful
  • [08] Talat put the condition of the passing of military equipment for the opening of the Limnitis crossing point
  • [09] Yusuf Suicmez departed for Saudi Arabia for participating in a conference
  • [10] More illegal immigrants from Syria arrived in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [11] SETA report claims that opportunities and challenges await Davutoglu
  • [12] From the Turkish Press of 22, 23 and 24 May 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by Talat on the negotiation process

    Illegal Bayrak television (22.05.09) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Yesilirmak [occupied Limnitis] Gate remains controversial

    President Mehmet Ali Talat has reacted against the Greek Cypriot sides blaming statements over the opening of the Yesilirmak Gate for crossings.

    We are not being incoherent as they claim. Our argument has been the same since the beginning and we have not presented anything new on the Yesilirmak issue, the President stressed.

    Speaking at a panel this morning, President Mehmet Ali Talat said the negotiations process is continuing with ups and downs. He said yesterdays round with the Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias was marked by manipulation. Mr Christofias walked off the meeting by coming up with the issue of the Yesilirmak Gate. Our topic was the Economy but he used Yesilirmak as an excuse to leave the table, he added.

    President Talat explained that the opening of the Yesilirmak Gate has been on the agenda with the goal to ease the arrival to capital Lefkosia for people coming from the Pyrgo village and around.

    Since the beginning, we demand free access to Erenkoy [occupied Kokkina] for crossings in return for the Yesilirmak opening. We spoke of everything needed except the weapon and munitions. However, the Greek Cypriot side tries to show us like we asked for something new when it claims that we have not mentioned the fuel oil before. But there is nothing new in that, Talat said.

    He strongly reacted against Christofias who accused the Turkish Cypriot side of being greedy, in a press statement at the end of yesterdays meeting.Mehmet Ali Talat said a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem is what really matters for the Turkish Cypriot Side.

    This country needs a solution. And Turkish Cypriots need it most under current conditions. We have encouraging reasons for looking for a settlement but the Greek Cypriot Side does not have enough motivation for that. Because it is a member of the EU. When they cant catch it up, the EU is there to support them, he added.

    Calling on the international community to take necessary measures to make the Greek Cypriot side want a settlement, Talat emphasized that the removal of international isolation on Turkish Cypriots and the establishment of direct flights will form a good example to these measures.

    Thats the only way to motivate the Greek Cypriot side, he said. The President went on to say that the Turkish Cypriot side wants a solution on the basis of the UN parameters, noting however that Mr Christofias has some opposing views to some articles included in those parameters.

    Christofias opposes to UN parameters which envisage a bi-zonal federal structure in Cyprus while Turkish Cypriots will have their founding state in which they will form the majority in terms of population and property. But he accepts some UN Security Council reports as parameters which mention demilitarization, the President noted.

    Talat stated that the Turkish Cypriot arguments presented on the negotiations table, which he said are satisfactory, have been embraced by the international community.

    The President finalized his speech by reiterating the Turkish Cypriot sides commitment to the negotiations process together with Turkeys support.

    Furthermore, illegal Bayrak television (24.05.09) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat has reiterated that a solution to the Cyprus Problem is in the interests of both sides in Cyprus. He said that he expected the United Nations to take on a more active role in the ongoing negotiations process and to reach a settlement by the end of this year.

    Speaking during a visit to Kalavac [occupied Kalivakia] village yesterday, the President said that he found the Greek Cypriot sides motivation insufficient and lacking.

    I believe that the Greek Cypriots want a solution to the Cyprus Problem but they lack the necessary motivation to reach a settlement. It should not be forgotten that a settlement can only be reached through the efforts of both sides on the island, he added.

    The President also reminded that the process was moving along a natural timetable because of Turkeys EU membership process and the upcoming presidential elections in the TRNC in 2010.

    Talat said that the Greek Cypriot side too had come to acknowledge and accept this timetable approved by the United Nations and the EU but was refraining from officially announcing this. We must work intensively and hard so as to be able to draw up a settlement plan by the end of this year, he added.

    Pointing out that convergence had been reached on many issues, the President said its hard to give a percentage but I can definitely say that the areas of convergence are much more than our differences.

    [02] Eroglu evaluated the election result and stated that the recognition of the TRNC does not constitute an obstacle for an agreement

    Under the title, Is the game over? Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (25.05.09) reports that the self-styled prime minister of the occupation regime, Dervis Eroglu, gave an interview to the May-June edition of the Turkish 2023 magazine of political and strategic issues. The paper notes that the Turkish magazine, evaluating the results of the elections in the occupied areas of Cyprus, indicates that the results show that the Turkish Cypriot people support their state and it also makes an important point whether the game in Cyprus is over.

    Replying to questions the self-styled prime ministers stated, inter alia, that the National Unity Party (UBP) is aware of the reasons that led the people to vote for the party and that it will take its decisions according to this knowledge. He also stated that the Cyprus problem is a national cause and that the cooperation with the motherland Turkey is a condition.

    He went on and added that the TRNC president is Mehmet Ali Talat who has one more year to complete his duty. As he said, UPB knows Mr Talats and the Turkish governments views on the Cyprus problem and added that they know UBPs views as well. We took the power as one-party government by placing our views on the Cyprus problem in front of the people. According to the data which reflect the public opinion poll, it is clear that our people accept the fact of the two separate states, he noted.

    Mr Eroglu stated that the result of the voting came as no surprise for the party, which knew that the voters were not pleased with the Republican Turkish Partys (CTP) administration. Commenting on his partys victory, Mr Eroglu stated that this was due to the following three reasons:

    The dreams of the Turkish Cypriots as regards the solution were broken since CTP was not able to solve the Cyprus problem in three months as it has promised. The fact that the embargoes and the isolation continued despite the Turkish Cypriots saying yes to the Annan plan and the Arestis and Orams cases, which affected negatively the construction sector, influenced the voting of the Turkish Cypriots in favour of UBP.

    The CTP destroyed the economy and the wrong decisions it made led various sectors to collapse.

    The fact that some MPs of UBP and the Democratic Party (DP) left their parties upon various promises of the CTP and formed the Freedom and Reform Party which became the senior coalition party and which committed various bribes, disturbed the Turkish Cypriots.

    Asked if the party will adopt a new policy as regards the recognition of the occupation regime, Mr Eroglu stated that the strategies and what they aim at should not to be made public. He said that they have never thought that the recognition of the TRNC constitutes an obstacle for an agreement; to the contrary it may encourage a solution. Only in case we appear in the scene with an equal state will the Greek Cypriots feel the need of a new partnership in Cyprus. According to us the policy of we do not want the recognition of the TRNC is wrong and it serves to nothing but to relax the Greek Cypriots, he stated.

    Asked if they will appoint an observer to accompany the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, to the negotiations, as it was said prior to the elections, Mr Eroglu said they are thinking on this issue. We will sit down and discuss this issue with Mr Talat, he stated.

    To a question whether the party will revise the history books which were changed recently causing a big reaction, Mr Eroglu said that this issue was referred to the partys program and added that they will not close their eyes to the fact that wrong information will be taught to the children.

    Finally, Eroglu was asked if he will be a candidate in the 2010 so-called presidential election. It is too early to talk about this issue, he stated.

    (CS)

    [03] Statements by Ozgurgun during his visit in Ankara

    Hurriyet Daily News.com (22.05.09) reported the following from Istanbul:

    Basic parameters of a solution to the decades-old Cyprus dispute such as political equality and Turkey's guarantorship cannot be watered down, said the new foreign minister of northern Cyprus, where the National Unity Party government received the parliament's vote of confidence.

    A non-watered down bi-zonality in Cyprus, political equality of the two peoples, equal status of the two constituent states and Turkey's efficient guarantee is a must, Huseyin Ozgurgun told reporters Thursday at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, in Ankara. These are red lines and cannot be negotiated.

    His visit came before a trip to Damascus for the foreign ministerial meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC. The ascension to power of the nationalist party in northern Cyprus raised questions about the fate of ongoing negotiations on the island. But the foreign minister highlighted the government's support for Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat, who has been negotiating with the Greek Cypriots, and Turkey.

    For his part, Davutoglu said tactical delays and efforts to exert pressure on Turkey by linking the Cyprus problem to the country's bid to join the European Union were done outside of goodwill. If we, and the parties concerned, want a genuine and comprehensive peace, this should happen as soon as possible and the process should not be open-ended, he said.

    Ozgurgun warned that the court cases would hamper the ongoing peace talks on the island. He was referring to how the judgment by the European Court of Justice ordering British couple Linda and David Orams to demolish their house in Turkish Cyprus must be recognized by EU countries even if it concerns land in the north of the island.

    He said core issues such as land and property can be resolved only through negotiations, not through legal interference. Attempts to back our motherland Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot people into a corner will bring no solution to anybody and will deal a heavy blow to the negotiating process, he added.

    The Turkish side has so far seen European Parliament elections as an opportunity to ensure the representation of the Turkish Cypriots because two out of six seats allocated for the Cypriots belong to the Turkish Cypriots but today all six seats are occupied by the Greek Cypriots.

    Ozgurgun said: Two out of the six seats owned by the Greek Cypriots belong to the Turks, but it is not well-known that the Turkish Cypriots are not taking part in the elections for the two seats, thus there are two seats confiscated by the Greek Cypriots.The two foreign ministers criticized Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias who reportedly claimed that the Turkish Cypriots would be assimilated step by step after the resolution of the Cyprus problem.

    Ozgurgun slammed the statements of the Greek Cypriot leader as unacceptable, while Davutoglu said his remarks were not constructive.

    In addition, illegal Bayrak television (23.05.09) broadcast the following:

    The 36th Foreign Ministers meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) kicked off in Damascus today. In an opening speech, the OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu touched upon the Cyprus developments. Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun is representing the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus at the conference, which will continue until the 25th of May.

    Mr Ozgurgun along with his accompanying delegation flew to the Syrian capital last night from Istanbul after completing his contacts in Turkey. According to information released from the Foreign Ministry, Mr Ozgurgun will be addressing the foreign ministers meeting at the OIC and will use this time to inform the participants of the latest developments on the Cyprus issue. He will also call for the removal of the unjust isolations imposed on the Turkish Cypriot People.

    The minister is also expected to hold bilateral talks with foreign ministers of OIC member countries as well as the Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. Ways to improve existing relations between member countries and the TRNC are expected to be discussed during the meetings.

    Ozgurgun held his first bilateral meeting in Damascus with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

    At the end of the OIC meeting in Istanbul in 2004, it was decided that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus would from then attend the meetings of the OIC under the title of the Turkish Cypriot State.

    Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun and his accompanying delegation are expected to return to the Republic on Tuesday after completing their contacts abroad.

    Separately, in an interview to the Turkish TRT Channel before starting his contacts in Damascus, the Foreign Minister reiterated the ruling National Unity Partys support to the maintenance of negotiations between the two sides.

    Mr Ozgurgun however noted that there is not much progress achieved between Talat and Christofias so far and that there is not even any level of rapprochement reached between them on vital issues. There are must-haves and red lines for the Turkish Cypriot side. But the Greek Cypriot side keeps bringing proposals to the negotiations table which are far away from these, Ozgurgun told TRT.

    On the opening of the Yesilirmak [occupied Limnitis] Gate for crossings, which has been a very controversial subject for Talat and Christofias in their round this week, Mr Ozgurgun said the opening of Yesilirmak carries great importance in terms of gaining free access at Erenkoy [occupied Kokkina] where people are only allowed to enter into the area by sea. We own a positive approach towards the Yesilirmak opening, he said.

    Foreign Minister Ozgurgun also touched upon the belief that Turkish Cypriots might have the chance to promote the TRNC as an equal political partner in Cyprus.

    On the same issue and under the title, If there is no result, the alternative is the recognition of the TRNC, Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (23.05.09) reports that Turkey and the TRNC have determined a common stance to be followed for the recognition of the TRNC to the entire world as an alternative in the case of a result is not reached until the end of this year the latest at the negotiation process which continues.

    The statement was made during the visit paid to Ankara by the self-styled foreign minister, Mr Huseyin Ozgurgun, who clarifying that he discussed this issue during the other day meeting he held with the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said the following:

    The negotiations must by all means continue. Yet a timetable must be set for these. Everyone should know where the result will lead while sitting at the table and as a result of this timetable and clearly at the end of the period it must be revealed that clearly the aim is an agreement and the materialization of a comprehensive solution. It must be made known by everyone that if a solution is not reached, the Turkish Cypriot side will not continue to sit at the negotiations table forever. There is no understanding in the 80% of the issues being discussed. There is a serious diversion of opinion on fundamental issues, particularly in governance and power sharing, guarantorship and the status of the founding states.

    (ML)

    [04] The self-styled foreign minister attends the OIC

    Illegal Bayrak television (24.05.09) broadcast the following:

    Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun is continuing his contacts in Damascus.

    Mr Ozgurgun who is representing the TRNC in the 36th Foreign Ministers meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Conference also held bilateral talks with foreign ministers of O.I.C member countries as well as the OIC Secretary General Ekmelettin Ihsanoglu.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the Foreign Minister said he and Mr Ihsangolu agreed to improve ongoing relations between the TRNC and Organization as well as relation between the TRNC and member countries of the organization.

    He also noted that he informed Mr Ihsangolu on the plans for opening new representation offices in member countries.

    As part of his contacts, Mr Ozgurgun met with the United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash and Egypts Deputy Foreign Minister Nayla Gabi.

    During his meetings, the Foreign Minister informed foreign dignitaries on the latest developments concerning the Cyprus issue and asked for their support for the removal of the unjust isolations on the Turkish Cypriot People.

    Anwar Gargash United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said political problems should not prevent the improvement of economic relations and pointed to the importance of improving relations with Turkish Cypriots.

    Egypts Deputy Foreign Minister Nayla Gabi said his country is supporting the ongoing negotiations process in Cyprus and expressed the hope for an immediate solution to the problem.

    The conference will continue until the 25th of May.

    [05] Whom to believe in?

    Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Bakis newspaper (25.05.09) reports in its front page the following:

    While Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Talat says the convergences are much more than the differences, regarding the ongoing negotiations, the foreign minister Ozgurgun says there are not any convergences.

    While Mr Talat says that he expects a solution by the end of the year, Mr Ozgurgun says that it is not possible to reach an agreement in this time frame.

    While no tension was experienced between the two leaders after the decision regarding the Orams case, the tension with the opening of the Limnitis crossing-point has attracted the attention.

    Our people (Turkish Cypriots), who has not expected much regarding the negotiations, has been confused more because of the diverging statements that are made.

    Mr Christofias, who uses ironic expressions regarding the confusion of the Turkish Cypriot side, seems to be satisfied.

    The political observers argue that the main reason of this confusion that exists in the Turkish Cypriot side is because of the information insufficiency regarding the developments and suggest that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, in order to overcome this confusion he should increase the cooperation with the political parties by behaving with more transparency.

    The political observers, who say that the developments every day that passes are turned against the Turkish Cypriots, think that the Turkish Cypriot side is much behind compared to the 2004 outcome and at this moment the Greek Cypriot side has covered a distance in the international arena.

    There is the allegation that the Turkish Cypriots at the referendum which will be held around 2010, in case they do not surpass the domestic problems, they will experience great losses.

    (DPs)

    [06] Serdar Denktas: The goal of Eroglu is to become a president

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (25.05.09) in its front page and under the title The goal of Eroglu is to become a president reports on statements of the leader of the Democratic Party, Mr. Serdar Denktas who has said, inter alia, that the UBP government is not actually a government of actions but its aim is to establish a government.

    Mr. Serdar Denktas went on and said that the goal of the leader of UBP and prime minister Dervis Eroglu is to be elected as president in the TRNC.

    Speaking in a program broadcast by the local channel ADA TV, Mr. Serdar Denktas evaluated the Orams case and other issues. Evaluating the developments in the occupied areas after the elections, Mr. Serdar Denktas criticized in a strong manner the self-styled Prime Minister, Dervis Eroglu and said that the program of the new government is a program aimed satisfying everyone.

    Referring to the latest meeting of the two leaders in Cyprus, Mr. Serdar Denktas criticized the two leaders for the tension they created due to economic issues and said the following: If a tension was to be experienced in the negotiation process, this should have been experienced after the Orams case.

    (AK)

    [07] Turkish Ambassador to UN Ilkin said that the negotiations in Cyprus should be accelerated in order for the outcome to be successful

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.05.09) reports that Turkey's permanent representative to UN Baki Ilkin made some statements to the Anadolu news agency after the discussions on the UN Secretary-Generals latest report on Cyprus, which was held at the United Nations Security Council.

    Ambassador Ilkin described the ongoing negotiations in Cyprus as a rare opportunity and added that this negotiation may be the last opportunity. Noting that there are some requirements in order that the negotiations which are going on between the two leaders in Cyprus to be successful, Mr Ilkin listed them as following: the two leaders should be meeting more often, there should be a timetable for the process and there is the feeling that the UN should help the sides on the negotiation process.

    (DPs)

    [08] Talat put the condition of the passing of military equipment for the opening of the Limnitis crossing point

    Under the title, He wants military equipment to pass as well, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (24.05.09) reports in its first page that the fate of the opening of the Limnitis crossing point resembles the fate of Lokmaci (Ledra Street) crossing point and notes that as soon as the Greek Cypriot side accepts the conditions put, the Turkish Cypriot side is placing new conditions.

    According to the paper, Talat first asked for the free movement of the families of the military to Kokkina and the Greek Cypriot side accepted it. Then he asked for electricity and then this condition was accepted as well. He now puts the condition of the passing of military and fuel supplies to be used by the army.

    The paper notes that the rejection by President Christofias of the last condition set by Talat stopped the opening of the Limnitis crossing point.

    In addition, the paper also writes that the United Cyprus Party (BKP) strongly criticized the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and called on him to stop acting in favour of the army and those who are against the solution, but to act according to the will of those who are in favour of the solution.

    (CS)

    [09] Yusuf Suicmez departed for Saudi Arabia for participating in a conference

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.05.09) reports that the head of the Religious Affairs Department, Dr. Yusuf Suicmez will participate in a conference to be organized in Jeddah of Saudi Arabia under the title Freedom of Thoughts.

    According to the statement made by the Religious Affairs Department, the head of the Religious Affairs Department departed yesterday for Jeddah of Saudi Arabia in order to participate in a gathering to be organized there between 23-25 of May with the participation of Ministers and Head of Religious Affairs Departments from 75 countries.

    (AK)

    [10] More illegal immigrants from Syria arrived in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.05.09) reports that a group of 38 illegal immigrants from Syria were found the night before yesterday in the occupied part of Cyprus. According to the paper, the immigrants have been brought to the occupied areas of Cyprus from Syria and were found in the occupied Koma tou Gialou village. All of the immigrants are men between the ages 15-50 years old. All the suspects were sent yesterday to the illegal Famagusta District Court, which decided that they remain in custody for three days. As the paper reports, among the immigrants who have been arrested by the so-called police is also Faud Hasan, the captain of the boat who brought the Syrians to the occupied areas and two other person who helped him.

    In his statements to the Famagusta District Court, Mr. Hasan Yaliner, the policeman who investigates the case, stated that during the night of the 21st of May, the self-styled Coast Guard found out that a speedboat carrying illegal immigrants from Syria left the immigrants at the shores of the coast of the Koma tou Gialou village.

    (AK)


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [11] SETA report claims that opportunities and challenges await Davutoglu

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (25.05.09) publishes the following report:

    The Ahmet Davutoglu era in Turkish foreign policy will deepen Turkey's involvement in regional politics, international organizations and world politics, claims a new report issued by the Ankara-based Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA).

    A policy paper written by Bulent Aras, professor of international relations at Isik University, argues that Davutoglu, appointed foreign minister on May 1, will face different challenges now that he is at the forefront of diplomacy.

    Davutoglu was advisor to the prime minister from 2002 and is known as the intellectual architect of Turkey's foreign policy under the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

    Stressing that Davutoglu's duty will now shift from the intellectual design of policies to greater actual involvement in foreign policy, Aras pointed out that Davutoglu's vision is likely to have a widespread impact on the culture of national security and the culture of geopolitics which will enable the country to emerge as a peace-promoter in neighbouring regions. With Davutoglu at the steering wheel of foreign policy, Turkey promises to contribute to security, stability and prosperity in a wide range of territories that go beyond Turkey's immediate neighbourhood, Aras noted.

    The report dismisses allegations that Turkey is tilting toward the Middle East and breaking away from the West. Davutoglu focuses on what the report describes as integrated policy which collects all foreign policy areas and issues into a single picture of policy formulation. It enlists examples of Turkey's increasing commitments to Western institutions, such as occupying a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, being an active member of the G-20 and preserving its utmost commitment to the EU membership process. It notes, however, that with the new approach initiated by Davutoglu, Turkey has deepened connections with the East.

    The SETA report also lists the importance of proactive diplomacy and the significance of being on the ground during times of crisis. Davutoglu was the key proponent of active shuttle diplomacy during, for example, the Russian-Georgian crisis of last year and the Gaza crisis early this year. Prime Minister Erdogan visited Georgia, Azerbaijan and Russia before any other leader from the region or Europe. Erdogan also visited four influential Arab countries in the immediate aftermath of Israel's Gaza offensive, and a Turkish team led by Davutoglu himself pursued shuttle diplomacy between Damascus and Cairo during the crisis.

    In concluding remarks, Aras spoke about a number of challenges Davutoglu will face as a chief foreign policy diplomat. He will have all the foreign policy files on his desk. Although he probably won't have the chance to personally be involved in all issues and problems, he will work together with or delegate to ministry officials, the report argued. He may very well encounter serious internal problems and obstacles while trying to reconcile his vision with the bureaucratic mechanisms of Turkish foreign policy. What is more, populist pressure from both the government and opposition parties will continue to complicate the situation as external obstacles, Aras cautioned.

    [12] From the Turkish Press of 22, 23 and 24 May 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 22, 23 and 24 May 2009:

    a) Lighthouse Fraud Case

    According to a report in Milliyet (22.05.09), Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has announced that he has asked Zahid Akman, chairman of the Radio and Television High Council, RTUK, who is involved in the Deniz Feneri [Lighthouse] fraud case, to resign from his post. According to Arinc, Akman, whose term in office will end in July, will not submit his candidacy for the position once again. RTUK member Saban Sevinc, however, is reported to have said that this move not to submit his candidacy once his term in office is completed is another ploy to deceive the people, adding that Akman should not only resign from the RTUK chairmanship, but he should also resign from his position as a RTUK member.

    Accusing the government of mishandling the Lighthouse fraud case in an article in Vatan (22.05.09), Okay Gonensin argues that the harsh reaction shown by Prime Minister Erdogan each time the lighthouse case was raised has strengthened the impression that Justice and Development Party, AKP, officials are linked to this scandal. The only way to prevent this impression was for the Justice Ministry to take swift action on the issue, maintains Gonensin, adding that, however, the government resorted to steps that might be interpreted as delaying tactics such as the translation of the documents sent on the issue from Germany, documents that German officials said had already been translated. Recalling that Zahit Akman, who is implicated in this fraud case is still heading RTUK, Gonensin concludes that the "AKP has failed to do whatever is necessary to prevent the Lighthouse scandal from sticking to the party and should therefore bear the consequences."

    In his column in Milliyet (23.05.09), Guneri Civaoglu tries to examine whether Bulent Arinc will be a second Abdullatif Sener. Viewing Arinc's criticism that the government was not represented in Turkan Saylan's funeral as a sign that Arinc is deviating from the party line, Civaoglu maintains that Arinc's statements regarding Zahit Akman, chairman of the Radio and Television High Council, RTUK, is another sign that Arinc is not towing the Erdogan line. Rising the possibility that the AKP is conveying a message to Akman through Arinc, the writer concludes: "One should follow whether Arinc will become 'a second Abdullatif Sener case.'"

    At a time when the majority of the ministers refrain from issuing statements without receiving the approval of the prime minister, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has spoken on behalf of the public, explains Fikret Bila in his article in Milliyet (24.05.09) and cites Arinc as saying that Education Minister Nimet Cubukcu should have attended Turkan Saylan's funeral, that the Deniz Feneri-Lighthouse incident is not only criminal, but also immoral, and that Zahit Akman, chairman of the Radio and Television High Council should resign from his post. Bila stresses that despite the fact that he does not agree with Arinc's views on secularity primarily and on many issues, he finds his stand on the aforementioned three issues very ethical.

    b) Visit of the President of Brazil to Turkey

    Under the headline, "You do not need anyone," Yeni Safak (22.05.09) publishes a front-page report, which highlights messages by Brazilian President Lula Da Silva at the Turkish-Brazilian Business Forum in Istanbul yesterday. According to the report, Da Silva, "who has enabled Brazil to grow enough in the past seven years to be able to lend money to the IMF," urged Turkey not to let the IMF dictate policies to it, saying that economic revival depends on smart government policies rather than IMF programs.

    Lamenting the lack of interest shown in the visit of Brazilian President Lula da Silva in an article in Milliyet (23.05.09), Derya Sazak draws attention to the interesting assessments made by the visiting president. Viewing Obama as the "representative of an extraordinary possibility" for not pursuing imperialist policies, Sazak says that Turkey has a lot to learn from the messages conveyed by da Silva on political and financial independence. Explaining that Brazil has not been affected by the global financial crisis, Sazak quotes da Silva who points out that Brazil has been transformed from a country that used to borrow from the IMF to one that lends money to that organization.

    Praising Brazilian president's achievements against poverty in an article in Hurriyet Daily News (23.05.09), Gila Benmayor notes the parallels the visiting president has drawn between Brazil and Turkey, adding that it will benefit Turkey if it closely follows developments in Brazil from now on.

    c) On Erdogans becoming President

    In an article entitled "Will the 12th President be Erdogan?" in Zaman (22.05.09) columnist Huseyin Gulerce discusses whether Prime Minister Erdogan might be preparing the ground to become Turkey's next president on the basis of his recent remarks disclosing that party statutes do not allow him to run for parliament for more than three consecutive terms and that for this reason he will have to "quit" after being elected for another term. Gulerce asserts that Erdogan's election as Turkey's next president would be a major step toward establishing a US-type presidential or semi-presidential system in Turkey.

    In an article entitled "Politics without Erdogan" in Zaman (22.05.09) columnist Mumtazer Turkone criticizes certain commentators for posing the question whether Erdogan's recent disclosure that he will quit politics following another term as a member of parliament signals that the AKP is preparing to adopt the "Putin model." Turkone argues that Erdogan's remarks only reflect the amount of his self-confidence before he goes on to object to Erdogan's decision, saying that "quitting politics is like surrendering to the enemy on the battlefield. You are not only surrendering yourself but your army as well. A political leader's decision to quit politics could only be made by the people on his behalf. ... As long as you continue to enjoy public support, involvement in politics is an obligation."

    d) Landmine clearance along the Turkish-Syrian border

    In an article entitled "The Syrian border and payments for shortening Military Service," in Yeni Safak (23.05.09) columnist Hakan Albayrak says that the leadership of the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, is in favour of awarding a contract to a foreign company to clear landmines planted along Turkey's common border with Syria in return for the right to use the area for agricultural purposes for 44 years instead of paying several billion dollars. Pointing out that most of the foreign companies specializing in clearing landmines are based in Israel, Albayrak asserts that Israel may use the area for other purposes. He notes: "It would be risky enough for both Turkey and Syria if they remain in the region for four or five years for mine-clearing operations, let alone 44 years. Not only Israel, but any foreign (Western) element would constitute a risk factor." Albayrak concludes by saying that the Turkish government should initiate a system enabling prospective draftees to shorten their military service in return for payment of a specific amount so that money needed for funding the mine-clearing contract can be raised and the option of letting a foreign contractor to use the area can be eliminated.

    Under the headline "Landmines may explode in your hands," Milli Gazete (23.05.09) carries a front-page report, which highlights comments made by Felicity Party leader Numan Kurtulmus about a bill aimed at awarding a contract for clearing landmines in a news conference he held yesterday. According to the report, Kurtulmus urged the ruling party to revise the bill in order to avoid a possible problem in relations with Syria if the contract is awarded to an Israeli company.

    Questioning why the government insists on granting the project for the clearing of the mines along the Syrian border to private foreign companies, Cuneyt Arcayurek in an article in Cumhuriyet (24.05.09) draws attention to the risks of enabling Israel which will probably win the tender and which will operate these lands for 44 years to share a common border with Syria in Turkey.

    Under the headline "Israel is more dangerous than landmines," Milli Gazete (24.05.09) carries a report, which highlights comments made by Sevket Kazan, deputy leader of the Felicity Party, in a news conference. It quotes Kazan as saying that landmines planted along Turkey's common border with Syria should be cleared by the Turkish Armed Forces rather than awarding a contract to a foreign company.

    In an article entitled "Is it so difficult to clear landmines?" in Milli Gazete (24.05.09) columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan argues that granting the right to use a large area along Turkey's southern border to Israel after the clearance of landmines would not be acceptable because it allegedly subjected Palestinians to genocide in the Gaza Strip. He says: "The mine clearing operation should be carried out by using our own resources. If it is not possible, it should be done by a foreign company in return for a payment so that those areas would be prevented from being controlled by another country or a company based in that country."

    e) On the establishment of an ethnically clean Turkey

    According to a report in Milliyet (24.05.09), the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the policy that was based at forcing certain minority groups to emigrate from Turkey as the result of a fascist understanding and spoke in defence of granting the tender for the clearing of the mines along the Syrian border to Israel.

    Recalling the statement made by National Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul six months ago in Brussels to the effect that Turkey would not have become a nation-state if the Greeks and the Armenians had not been forced to emigrate, in Vatan (24.05.09) columnist Gungor Mengi, refers to Mr Erdogan's statement on the harms caused by the forced emigration of minority groups, and says: "If the prime minister has issued this statement in association with Gonul's statement, he has actually declared that a historic crossroads has been crossed. Cultural diversity is the wealth of countries that are the inheritors of empires and we were not able to appreciate this historical capital, points out Mengi and argues that the prime minister's speech may be the sign that the government is on the eve of more self-confident overtures regarding the Kurdish problem primarily and other domestic problems.

    f) On Obamas policy in the region

    Referring to the meeting held by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama in Washington, columnist Kadri Gursel in Milliyet (24.05.09) draws attention to the "Iran stress" between the two countries. Detailing Israel's concerns about a nuclear Iran, Gursel notes that Washington has warned Israel against attacking Iran by itself. It is true that Obama has emphasized that the United States will reassess the talks with Iran at the end of 2009, but it is impossible to say that the United States will bomb Iran at the end of this road because Washington has been engaging in the mental exercises of living with a nuclear Iran for a long time, says Gursel. Referring to the report released by Centre for Strategic and International Studies entitled "Obama, Netanyahu, and future of Israeli Relations" and the reports of the Israeli and the US intelligence organizations on the nuclear capabilities of Iran, Gursel asserts that Israel, in line with the most important principle of its defence policy, has never launched a strategic initiative at the cost of risking the United States strategic interests in the region. Nonetheless, adds Gursel, at a time when one of every four Israelis think of leaving Israel if Iran becomes nuclear and when 41% of the people believe that Israel should hit Iran, it is clear that Israel will have to pay a certain price for maintaining this most sensitive principle of this partnership.

    With the failure of the latest talks held between HAMAS and Fatah in Cairo and with the establishment of the new government in the West Bank the division between the Palestinians has almost become permanent, says Erdal Safak in a commentary in Sabah (24.05.09). In addition to the fact that presidential elections will not be held in January and that Mahmud Abbas will be viewed as the sole leader by the Palestinians in the West Bank and by the international community, it will be impossible to reconstruct Gaza because the donations have been bound to the condition that Fatah and HAMAS will establish a joint administration and the authority of Abbas will be accepted in Gaza, asserts Safak and argues that at a time when US President Obama is preparing a new plan that is based on the principle of "two states for the two peoples," this plan will be vaporized because of this division. This will merely serve the interests of Israel and lead to the further suffering of the Palestinians, notes Safak.

    Finally, in an article entitled "Taliban uprising," in Vakit (24.05.09) columnist Serdar Demirel draws attention to remarks made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who said that US policy toward Pakistan over the last 30 years has been inconsistent. Demirel comments: "But, it seems that the United States has no intention of abandoning wrong-headed policies. The United States will not remove threats posed by Pakistani Taleban and Al-Qa'ida from the agenda before controlling Pakistan's nuclear weapons."

    EG/


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