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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-06-01
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 100/09 30.05-01.06.09
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Talat stated that the Turkish Cypriots might be obliged to give land backUnder the title We will be obliged to give land back, Turkish Cypriot daily Bakis newspaper (01.06.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat stated that this is the most appropriate period for the solution in the island, but the Turkish side might be obliged to give land back.
Mr Talat made these statements during visits he paid the day before yesterday to the occupied Kazivera and Elia villages.
Mr Talat stated that the sides came closer in many issues at the ongoing negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem and added that a 100% agreement was reached on the issue of the judicial power. He said that the most difficult issue will be the issue of land and added: Because we agreed on 29% plus from the very beginning we will have to give land back. The most difficult issue in the negotiation progress will be the territory issue because giving land is very difficult. However, our people should not worry. None of the investments that have been made in the Republic will go to waste.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (30.05.09) reports that Mr Talat stated that after the opening of the Limnitis crossing point it might possible for persons from Kokkina to settle in the village. Mr Talat made these statements speaking at Havadis and Polemic Program at the Genc television station. Mr Talat also stated that Kokkina is a TRNC territory and added that in order for the settling to be safeguarded a period will be needed so that people are settled in the village. He also stated that the occupation regime will give these people money to repair their houses.
In addition, illegal Bayrak television (30.06.09) broadcast the following:
A settlement to the Cyprus Problem could be reached by 2010. President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that current negotiations could yield a settlement by the start of 2010. In a short statement to the Reuters News Agency, the President said that the current opportunity to settle the Cyprus Problem may be the last chance to solve the Cyprus Problem. If we miss this opportunity we might not find a another one, he warned. Stating that it was the Turkish Cypriot Sides goal to reach an agreement by the end of this year and hold a referendum at the start of 2010, Talat said that chances of reaching a settlement until then was quite high.
 Turkeys Foreign Ministry reacts to the oil activities of the Republic of CyprusAnkara Anatolia news agency (29.05.09) reported the following from Ankara:
Burak Ozugergin, spokesman for the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the Greek Cypriot administration's efforts to explore oil and natural gas contradicted with the ongoing full-fledged negotiations, and called on parties to refrain from tension-escalating attempts.
In a written response to news reports in the Greek Cypriot press that an American company would begin exploring oil and natural gas in southwestern part of the island, Ozugergin said, earlier, we shared our views about Greek Cypriot administration's attempts. First of all, those attempts contradicted with the ongoing full-fledged negotiations. Such attempts are lack of legal ground and have the potential of escalating tension in the region. Also, they damage Turkish Cypriot people's equal rights and interests over natural assets of the island, he said. On the other hand, Turkey has some fundamental rights and interest acknowledged by the United Nations in that marine areas. Turkey will naturally protect its rights, he said.
Ozugergin called on the Greek Cypriot administration to act with common-sense and refrain from any attempts that could lead to tension in the region.
 The UN Security Council approved the resolution for extending the mandate of the mission of UNFICYP; The Turkish side expressed its separatist views once moreTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.05.09) reports that the UN Security Council has approved the resolution for extending the mandate of the mission of the UN Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 15 December 2009. Turkey voted against the resolution, which was adopted with 14 votes in favour and one against.
In statements after the approval of the resolution, ambassador Baki Ilkin, Turkey's permanent representative at the UN, told the reporters that Turkey does not accept this resolution as it has not accepted all the other resolutions in the past regarding the UNFICYP. He said that they oppose to the resolution because it refers to the Republic of Cyprus, which according to the Turkish side means the Greek Cypriot side. Mr Ilkin noted that the Turkish Cypriot side has not been asked for the extension of the mandate of the mission of the UNFICYP and its consent has not been taken because it is not accepted as a side. He went on and alleged: However, normally both sides should be officially asked and the views of both sides should be taken.
Meanwhile, in statements after the adoption of the resolution, the self-styled representative of the breakaway regime in New York, Kemal Gokeri alleged that the Greek Cypriots occupy the title and the seats of the Cyprus government and that they have stolen by force the two-nation government established in 1960. Gokeri claimed the following: We have our own government in the northern part of the island. The TRNC state exists. The Greek Cypriots do not represent us. This is the reason for which the Cyprus problem is on the agenda of the UN since 1963.
 Moroccan Attorney General visits ErogluTurkish Cypriot daily Cyprus Times newspaper (31.05.09) reports the following:
The Moroccan Supreme Court Attorney General Abderrahim Denslama paid a visit to Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu Friday.
The Moroccan Attorney General is on the island as a guest of the TRNC Foreign Ministry.
Speaking during the visit Mr Benslama expressed the belief that his visit to the island would enable the development of cooperation between the two countries.
Noting that he was closely following the developments on the Cyprus issue and the struggle waged by the Turkish Cypriot people, the Attorney General said the struggle waged by the Turkish Cypriot people had led them to these days.
Explaining that the outcome of the referendum that was held on the UN sponsored plan had proven the Turkish Cypriot peoples desire for a solution, Mr Benslama said Morocco and the Islamic world would continue to stand by the Turkish Cypriot people.
Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu for his part noted that Morocco was a friend of both the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey.
Explaining that the Turkish Cypriot people were looking to find a solution that would safeguard their equal rights over the island, Prime Minister Eroglu expressed the hope that the Cyprus problem would be solved before his next meeting with the Moroccan Attorney General.
I also hope that the problems in Morocco will also be solved before our next meeting, he added.
 Alexander Downer continues his contacts with Turkish Cypriot trade unionsIllegal Bayrak television (29.05.09) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:
The UN Special Advisor Alexander Downer has expressed cautious optimism over reaching a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Problem.
The UN Envoy met with representatives from Turkish Cypriot trade unions Hur-Is and KTAMS today as part of ongoing visits to civil society organizations and trade unions in North Cyprus aimed at listening to their views on the ongoing negotiations process.
Speaking during the visits, the UN Secretary-Generals Special Advisor expressed his happiness for meeting with representatives of the trade unions. He said he was pleased to see that the trade unions in the North supported the ongoing direct talks between the two leaders. We are cautiously optimistic that a settlement, trying to be reached by the two hard working leaders, will take place, he said. The UN envoy said that one of the most important reasons for his presence in Cyprus was to listen to the views of civil society organizations on both sides of the island. Downer also expressed his view that living and working standards as well as job opportunities would get better once a settlement is reached, especially for Turkish Cypriots.
For his part the President of the Hur-Is Federation of Trade Unions Yakup Latifoglu expressed his organizations support to reaching a new partnership on the basis of two founding states and Turkeys effective guarantee. We are prepared to support President Mehmet Ali Talat to the very end in achieving that goal, he added.
Also speaking, the President of the Cyprus Turkish Public Employees Union (KTAMS) Ahmet Kaptan said that they wanted the UN to take on a more active role in the current talks. Explaining that KTAMS has been working hard with trade unions in the South to end the long standing division on the island, Kaptan said that their efforts will continue in the future.
In addition to his official task of meeting with the two leaders and hosting the formal negotiations, the UN Special Advisor Alexander Downer is holding regular meetings with the leaders of political parties, representatives of the business community and trade unions, the academic community, civil society groups and others. Within this framework, the UN special envoy earlier in the week met with representatives of Turk-Sen, Kamu-Sen and KTOS. All three trade unions had expressed their support to the ongoing direct talks between the two leaders aimed at reaching a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Problem.
 Turkish Cypriot lawyer to file a lawsuit at the ECHR against the Republic of Cyprus regarding a property in Tahtakala areaTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.05.09) reports that a Turkish Cypriot lawyer named Ata Dayanc will file a lawsuit at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against the Republic of Cyprus regarding a house which belongs to his family at the Tahtakala area in Lefkosia. Mr Dayanc told Kibris that the building is currently being used as a school and he will demand for ¬ 2 million as compensation and the return of the property. He argued that he has sent two letters to the Ministry of Education and Culture but he received no satisfactory reply. He noted that if a person lived in the house, he might not have considered filing a lawsuit. However, he added, the occupier of the house is the state and this state should both compensate us for our loss and return our house to us.
 A member of the London Bar Council urges the occupation regime to become a party in the Orams caseUnder the title The Orams case can be turned to our favourite, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (01.06.09) publishes statements by the member of the London Bar Council, Alper Riza, who argued that in case the occupation regime becomes a party in the Orams case, the case could be turned in favour of the Turkish Cypriots. Alper Riza said that after the TRNC intervenes in the issue, the case it can be sent again to the European Court of Justices (ECJ). As he said, the participation of the occupation regime as a party will show that the case is political and alleged that the ECJ which evaluated the case as a civil and trade case, will have to express its views again within this framework.
 Afrika reports on a case of selling Turkish Cypriot properties in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus with the use of fake documentsUnder the title They sold her property showing that she was dead, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (01.06.09) newspaper reports that the dimensions of the issue of selling Turkish Cypriot properties in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus with the use of fake documents are bigger than they were expected to be. The paper alleges that the names of influential persons are involved in the case.
According to the paper, the property, which is located at the Prodromi village in Pafos, belonged to Mentes Ahmet Hoca who had a lot of property in the village, married twice, and had a son after his second marriage under the name of Fahri Kaya. He (Fahri Kaya) had five children. One of these children is Meryem Fahri, who after 1974 lives in occupied Morfou with her husband, Magundali Musa. Before the partial lifting of the restrictions on the freedom of movement, neither Meryem Fahri nor any other relative visited their property in Prodromi. According to the paper, some lawyers from the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus presented documents according to which all the inheritors of the property died in London or America and therefore an administrator was selected for the property. Among the allegedly dead inheritors was Meryem Fahri who took legal action after she was informed on the issue. The property was sold to a Greek Cypriot for 18 million Euro and the lawyers who appeared to be involved in the falsification documents gained 1.8 million as earnest money.
 Turkey will give 60 trillion Turkish liras to the occupation regime for the salaries and the pensionsInvoking reliable sources Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.05.09) under the title Ankara relieved reports that an amount of approximately 120 trillion Turkish liras per month is needed for the payment of the public servants salaries and the pensions.
As the paper writes, the National Unity Party (UBP) government, which found the coffers of the self-styled Ministry of Finance empty and which has to cover debts over 100 trillion Turkish liras in a short period of time, asked for an urgent financial aid from Ankara in order to be able to pay the salaries and the pensions of the employees and retired persons. As a result of the intense efforts, which were exerted by the self-styled ambassador of Turkey in the occupied areas, Mr Sakir Fakili, the amount of 60 trillion TL has been transferred to the Central Bank of the occupation regime.
The paper reports that the self-styled Minister of Finance, Mr Ersin Tatar demanded the amount of 120 trillion liras for the payment of the salaries, but Turkey has sent 60 trillion TL.
 BKPs reaction to the 60 trillions: Those who take money take instructions as wellTurkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (31.05.09) reports that the Abdullah Korkmazhan, member of the executive committee of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) has issued a statement noting that the first thing which the National Unity Party (UBP) has done after coming to power was asking money from Turkey. Those who take money, take and instructions, pointed out Mr Korkmazhan who said that the fact that Turkey will send 60 trillion Turkish liras for the payment of the salaries of the employees, it is not something for which they should be happy, but they should be ashamed. He noted that the necessary adjustments should be made for ending the economic and political dependency from Turkey.
 The so-called central bank announced the report for the last quarter of 2008Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (01.06.09), under the title The global financial crisis hit the North Cyprus as well, reports that the so-called central bank in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus published its report for the last quarter of 2008 regarding the economy, the finance sector and the public finance of the occupation regime. According to the report, the number of unemployed persons in the occupied areas was 9,882 in 2008, while the unemployment rate was 9.8%. The unemployment rate for the age group between 15-24 is estimated at 24.7%. The employment rate was 45.2%, decreasing to its lowest level for the period 2004-2008.
The paper reports that the inflation rate was 14.5% last year in the occupied areas. The imports increased to 1575 million dollars and rose by 2.37% in 2008. During the fourth quarter of 2008, the imports decreased to 290,7 million dollars falling by 35.3%. The group of the first five goods with the biggest shares in the imports was fuels, vehicles, construction iron, barley and ready-made clothes.
In 2008, the exports were 94.4 million New Turkish Liras (NTL) decreasing by 9.92% (10.4 million NTL).
The arrivals through the occupied ports and airports have increased by 2.23% in 2008 compared to 2007 and 808.682 persons visited the occupied areas in 2008 comparing with 791.036 in 2007.
Furthermore, illegal Bayrak television (29.05.09) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:
The Minister of Economy and Energy Sunat Atun has announced that the recent drop in state revenues was not at a level that should create panic in the countrys economy. The economy minister evaluated the countrys economy at a meeting organized yesterday by the Young Businessmens Association (GIAD), which he had chaired before becoming to office.
Speaking at the regular Thursday meetings organized by the Young Businessmens Association, the Minister of Economy and Energy Sunat Atun said that there was a loss in state revenues but that this was not at a level that would drag the country into an economic crisis. Pointing out that the government was capable of generating financial resources, particularly to cover pension funds, Atun said that the economy was going to be run rationally from now on. Reminding that the government embraced the idea of a free market economy, the Economy Minister said that an aid package was necessary in restructuring the economy.
 Turkish Cypriots can receive the Turkish citizenship according to a Draft Law, which is approved by the TGNATurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.05.09) reports that the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) has approved the Draft Law for the Turkish Citizenship. According to the Law, the Turkish Cypriots who want to receive the Turkish citizenship can submit a written application.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (30.05.09) reports on the same issue and writes that the approval of the Bill for the Turkish Citizenship in Turkey will bring new dimensions to the issue of citizenship in the occupied Cyprus part of which has been debated a lot. According to the Law, if someone is married to a Turkish citizen he/she gains the right of nationality, but he/she will have the right to apply for the citizenship only three years after the marriage.
 Antiquities were found in a private house and in a restaurant in occupied Kazafani villageTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.05.09) reports that the police of the breakaway regime have carried out two operations in occupied Kazafani village the day before yesterday and found 40 pieces of antiquities. The first operation was carried out in the restaurant named Erol restaurant and the second operation in the house of the owner of the restaurant Ibrahim Erol Baha. It is believed that the antiquities have been stolen by Baha from a person named Ali Bulut during 1992. The antiquities belong to the Hellenistic, Roman, Geometric and Copper periods. The paper publishes a photo with the antiquities.
 Turkey is taking over the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council as of today; Davutoglu to discuss Cyprus with Hilary Clinton in the USUnder the title In June the world is entrusted to Turkey, Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (01.06.09) reports on Turkeys taking over the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as of the beginning of June and writes that the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, travelled to the United States on Sunday on the occasion of this historic task.
Turkish Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Baki Ilkin, will take over the presidency on behalf of Turkey from the current president, Russia, and according to the paper, during its presidency, Ankara will deal with certain issues as:
North Korea: Turkey, which enjoys the support of the five permanent members of the UNSC on the crisis regarding North Koreas nuclear tests, will hold contacts with the other members of the UNSC on the Russian proposal for reconciliation with North Korea. During its presidency, Turkey will continue to preside the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee against North Korea.
Sri Lanka: Turkey will also deal with the developments, which are taking place in Sri Lanka as one of the main issues in the agenda of the UNSC.
Middle East, Iraq and Iran: The disagreement between Israelis and Palestinians, the re-commencing of the talks between Syria and Israel, the problem in Lebanon, Iraq and Iran will be among the important issues of the UNSCs agenda.
The Caucasus: Last years war between Russia and Georgia and the overall difficulties in the Caucasus and the talks between Turkey - Armenia and Azerbaijan Armenia will be among the issues Turkey will have to deal with.
Cyprus: Cyprus, the Balkans and problems existing in other regions of the world could come onto the agenda of the UNSC meetings.
On Ahmet Davutoglus visit to the United States, the newspaper further reports on statements made by the Turkish FM at the Ataturk airport before his departure from the country. According to Mr Davutoglus statements: Important meetings were held during Mr Obamas visit to Turkey. My visit will carry the character of following up Mr Obamas visit to Turkey.
The Turkish minister said that during his stay in Washington, he will meet with the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, with whom he will discuss Cyprus, Iraq, the Caucasus and Afghanistan. He will also hold meetings with officials from the US Senate and the House of Representatives.
On the issue, Turkish daily Cuhmuriyet newspaper (01.06.09) writes that as of today, Turkey will take over the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council for one month. It was made known that during this term, the UNSC will focus on the issues of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Yesterday, the Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who left for the United States to attend the ceremony said: This is a responsibility of an extremely high importance. We will carry out a very active term presidency in the one-month period.
 Ankara prepares for an intense diplomacy on the Armenian issue after Russian prime ministers visit to TurkeyUnder the title Critical visit: Putin is coming after the Armenian summit, Turkish daily Cuhmuriyet newspaper (01.06.09) writes that after the visits paid to Baku, Azerbaijan, by the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, Ankara is preparing for an intense diplomacy on the Armenian issue in June. According to the paper, the Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, is expected to visit Turkey on June 25, right after the summit in Moscow where he will host the Azeri president, Ilham Aliyev and the Armenian president, Serzh Sargsian on June 6-7. This will be the first time Vladimir Putin is visiting Turkey as prime minister and according to information obtained from diplomatic sources, apart from the Turkish-Russian bilateral relations, prime-minister Putins visit to Ankara bears great importance for the resolution of the dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia. According to the paper, if the outcome of the Moscow summit is what Ankara expects, Turkey will request from Russia to speed up the efforts of the Minsk group on normalizing the relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
 The fourth Turkish-Arab Economy Forum to be held in IstanbulAnkara Anatolia news agency (30.05.09) reported the following from Istanbul:
The 4th Turkish-Arab Economy Forum (TAF'09) will be held in Istanbul on June 11-12. The forum will be organized by Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal Group (AIWA) in cooperation with the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK) and the Arab League, DEIK said in a written statement on Saturday.
Turkish State Minister Egemen Bagis, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister Mehmet Mehdi Eker, chairperson of both DEIK and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Rifat Hisarciklioglu and Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa would participate in the forum, DEIK's statement said. Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also expected to deliver a speech at the inauguration of TAF'09.More than 800 high-level officials from numerous companies, institutions and associations from Turkey and the Arab world will attend this year's forum.
 Turkish Health Ministry says two Turkish citizens infected with influenza A(H1N1)Ankara Anatolia news agency (31.05.09) reported the following from Ankara:
The Turkish Health Ministry announced on Saturday that two people were infected with swine flu. The ministry released a statement in which it said that two Turkish citizens, who came from the United States, were infected with swine flu.
According to the ministry, the two citizens applied to hospitals as they suffered from high fever, muscle and joint pain. At the end of tests, both citizens were proved to be infected with "Influenza A/H1N1" (swine flu).
Doctors said both patients were isolated and under medical treatment, and other passengers aboard the two planes were being closely monitored. The patient in our city is in stable condition, doctor Mehmet Ozkan, the local health director in Izmir, said.
One of the citizens flew from New York, the United States to the Turkish Aegean city of Izmir via Istanbul on May 29, and the other came from Houston, the United States to Istanbul via Amsterdam the same day.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press of 29, 30 and 31 May 2009Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 29, 30 and 31 May 2009:
a) Turkey's EU bid/French fear of Turkey
Viewing France's opposition to Turkey's EU membership and the campaign launched by Sarkozy on the issue against Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt who will be taking over the EU Term Presidency on 1 June and who is supportive of Turkey's membership, Milliyet columnist (31.05.09) Kadri Gursel argues in his column that there are three main reasons for France to fear Turkey: "The first is the risks the EU enlargement process will bring; the second is migration, and the third is Islam."
In an article in Hurriyet (31.05.09), Ferai Tinc examines the stands adopted by Swedish Foreign Minister Bildt and French President Sarkozy regarding Turkey's accession process, stating that Turkey's membership will be the second important issue after the Lisbon Agreement that the EU will be discussing still the end of this year. Recalling that the EU is expected to prepare a report on whether Turkey is keeping the promises it made on the Cyprus issue, Tinc goes on to quote Foreign Minister Davutoglu regarding Turkey's determination to implement the EU reforms.
Viewing Foreign Minister Davutoglu's foreign policy vision in an article in Milliyet (30.05.09), Taha Akyol writes: "He clearly sees the complicated chess game on the path to the EU. He sees that a Turkey that is strengthened in the Middle East and the Caucasus will have a stronger hand in the EU process." Criticizing those who accuse Davutoglu of tearing Turkey away from the West because of his effective Middle East policy without seeing the picture as a whole, Akyol adds that Davutoglu who strongly supports the EU process believes that Sarkozy and "French chauvinism" and not Germany's Merkel are the real problems to Turkey's EU accession. As for the Turkish overtures in the Armenian issue, Akyol maintains that they have once again placed the Karabakh problem on the agenda and have speeded up the "Minsk process." In conclusion, Akyol asserts: "From the viewpoint of the 'big picture,' Turkish foreign policy is on the right track."
Summing up the messages conveyed by Davutoglu in his recent meeting with press officials in an article in Milliyet (30.05.09), Sami Kohen says that Turkey has not deviated from its "European vision," adding that Ankara has the political will to revive and speed up the EU process. At the same time, "Turkish diplomacy is determined to continue its 'proactive' approach in the Caucasus and the Middle East," assesses Kohen, adding: "the 'normalization process' initiated with Armenia has speeded up the Minsk Group 'process directed toward the solution of the Karabakh problem.'" Pointing out that Turkey is getting ready to take new initiatives concerning Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, Kohen maintains that these intense regional and global activities will make a positive contribution to Turkey's relations with the EU.
Viewing Foreign Minister Davutoglu's foreign policy strategy in an article in Referans (30.05.09), Cengiz Candar details the principles guiding Turkish foreign policy in the Caucasus and the Middle East as explained by the foreign minister. On the issue of Turkey's chronic problems such as the Karabakh issue, Candar relates Davutoglu's approach that one should concentrate on processes rather than solutions, quoting Davutoglu who believes that in the current world Turkey does not have the power to solve issues but can use its "soft power" expertise by participating and playing a role in processes toward a solution.
In an article entitled "Sarkozy's retaliation against Sweden because of Turkey," Sabah columnist (29.05.09) Erdal Safak says that French President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly cancelled his official visit to Sweden due to comments made by Swedish Foreign Minister Carld Bildt who said that the EU should not close its doors to Turkey. He comments: "There is no doubt that Ankara gives and will continue to give proper responses to the French President's attitudes through appropriate channels because Sarkozy's opposition to Turkey's accession to the EU can no longer be explained by his prejudices and political objectives. It is, however, necessary to publicly pretend that that process of accession continues, France will eventually drop its opposition, and Turkey will sooner or later join the EU and that it does not actually hear provocative remarks made during the elections for the European Parliament because Turkey only needs membership perspective rather than the EU and membership as a guarantee and leverage for political and economic stability. That is all."
b) Turkish-US relations
Viewing the Turkish-US Council meeting to convene in Washington this evening in an article in Radikal (31.05.09), Murat Yetkin argues that the high level participation at this meeting, including Generals Basbug and Mullen, indicate that one of the goals of this meeting and of Basbug's visit to the United States as the guest of General Mullen is to redefine bilateral relations. Enumerating the various issues that are currently on Turkey's agenda such as the Kurdish problem, the normalization process with Armenia, the energy lines, and the Cyprus issue, Yetkin stresses that many of these issues closely concern the United States. Explaining that Basbug's visit is taking place at such a junction, Yetkin concludes: "The speech Basbug is expected to deliver at the meeting entitled 'US-Turkey: The Search for a joint solution during a period of Global Change' is, therefore, important. This speech might contain clues concerning the discussions that are continuing in Turkey."
Analyzing Turkish-American relations in an article entitled "There is convergence of views with the United States, but...[ellipsis as published]," Milliyet columnist (29.05.09) Sami Kohen says that there are various differences in strategies being pursued by the United States and Turkey about regional issues, including the Caucasus and Afghanistan. He says: "Those differences do not affect relations (and even cooperation) for the time being. But, we must see that there may be problems in bilateral relations if any of those issues lead to a crisis."
In an article entitled "US puppets," Cumhuriyet columnist (29.05.09) Ilhan Selcuk asserts that the ruling party is in a difficult situation because of US demands about Afghanistan, Kurdish question, and relations with Armenia and Israel.
In an article entitled "At the gate of the US military base in Incirlik," Radikal columnist (29.05.09) Oral Calislar says that a group representing the Coalition for Global Peace and Justice (BAK) will hold a news conference at 12:30 tomorrow in order to voice their demand that Incirlik base is closed down. Outlining reasons cited by various jurists and academics for the closure of the base, Calislar says: "Iraqi and Afghan territories are bombarded by planes taking off from that base and others refuel there which cause Turkey to assume a serious responsibility that could make it a party to a war."
c) Poll shows rising intolerance in Turkey
According to a report by Sakir Aydin in Milliyet, a poll conducted by Bahcesehir University on "radicalism and extremism" shows that Turks have a long way to go to be tolerant. The poll also shows that Turks view the United States and the EU with suspicion. According to the poll, 47 percent of the participants in the poll believe that the United States aims to divide Turkey.
A report entitled "There is no 'community pressure' in Turkey" in Zaman (31.05.09) says that 95% of the respondents interviewed by a team led by Prof. Yilmaz Esmer of the University of Bahcesehir said that they were not subjected to social pressure due to their religious beliefs. The report quotes as saying that the findings of the opinion poll, which was reportedly co-sponsored by the British government, refuted the argument that the Turkish society is gradually becoming more religious.
d) Minesweeping along Syrian border
Viewing the conciliation efforts between the government and the opposition regarding the mine bill in an article in Milliyet (30.05.09), Fikret Bila argues that, however, the problem of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) with regards to the bill is not limited to the obstructive efforts of the opposition parties. Pointing out that there are problems on the issue within the AKP as well, Bila notes that some 140 AKP deputies have refused to participate in the voting on the bill. The Republican People's Party (CHP) is insistent that the cleared areas be distributed to the landless population in the region, Bila explains, adding that the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) is also opposed to linking the mine sweeping activities to the subsequent use of the cleared areas. Bila explains that the bill does not only mention the use of the areas cleared of mines but "the other surrounding territories belonging to public institutions," which makes one question whether the Ceylanpinar State Production Farm of 1.7 million hectares will also be included in the area to be given to the firm that sweeps the mines, a possibility that the MHP is vehemently opposed to. In conclusion, Bila predicts that the government will be left alone in the parliamentary discussions to be held on the issue on 2 June.
In an article in Hurriyet Daily News (30.05.09), Cengiz Candar details the controversy over the minesweeping issue and doubts whether the cleared areas can be used in organic farming since the mines might have contaminated the soil. Declaring that Turkey has failed to fulfil the provisions of the Ottawa Mine Treaty, Candar argues that the problem in Turkey's inaptitude on the issue is the landmine in our minds, namely the virus of nationalism.
Assessing the controversy over the minesweeping bill in an article in Hurriyet Daily News (30.05.09), Mustafa Akyol agrees with Prime Minister Erdogan's views on "political and economic liberalism," adding that "the most crucial gap in this country is the one between nationalists and globalists."
In an article entitled "You are undermining Turkey's prestige", Yeni Safak columnist (30.05.09) Hakan Albayrak warns that allowing Israel to win a contract to demine and cultivate a large area along the Turkish-Syrian border would seriously undermine Turkey's standing in the Islamic world and cause Turkey "once more to be perceived as a satellite state" by Muslim countries. He also congratulates Prime Minister Erdogan and the ruling AKP for withdrawing the bill on landmine cleanup.
Under the headline, "Three-way formula for landmines," Zaman (30.05.09) carries a front-page report, which asserts that the Erdogan government is working on a "three-stage formula" to solve the "crisis" over the landmine clearance bill, which was withdrawn on Thursday for further debate. According to the report, the formula entails the three following arrangements: 1. The winning contender will only demine the land and not cultivate it. 2. The General Staff and the Ministry of Defence will arrange for NAMSA to submit a bid for the contract. 3. Leasing of the land to a mine clearance company will be the last option and efforts will be made to shorten the term of the lease. A related report entitled "Defence Industry Emerges as Bidder for Border Clearance Job" asserts that the Turkish Defence Ministry Undersecretariat has announced that it could undertake the job of ridding the Turkish-Syrian border of landmines.
Under the headline, "What powerful politics could achieve," Milli Gazete (30.05.09) runs a front-page report, which asserts that the AKP has had to withdraw the bill on landmine clearance as a result of public awareness about the possible consequences of the bill created by the Felicity Party, SP. An expanded version of this report on page 10 asserts that the (SP) is Turkey's "de facto main opposition party."
An article entitled "Ratified articles will be reviewed" in Hurriyet (29.05.09) says that the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) will today hold deliberations on some articles of a bill aimed at awarding a contract to a company for clearing mines along Turkey's common border with Syria which were ratified in previous sessions following strong criticism expressed by the opposition parties. According to the report, an article of the bill which is aimed to assign the right to use the border strip after the clearance of landmines for 44 years will be removed from the bill under a compromise reportedly reached between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the opposition parties.
In an article entitled "Human beings should be the main focus of the mine deal," Hurriyet (29.05.09) columnist Ferai Tinc says that the decision to review the bill on clearing landmines was a move in the right direction because, she notes, there are suspicions that the bill is actually designed to lease out the border strip rather than clearing the landmines. She says: "I do not approach the matter from the perspective of a hostile approach to other countries. I do not find it acceptable because I discern an ulterior motive aimed at combining clearing of landmines with leasing out that territory."
In an article entitled "Thank you Mr Prime Minister for not insisting on making a mistake", Vakit columnist Serdar Arseven lauds Prime Minister Erdogan for withdrawing the bill on landmine clearance in response to "friendly warnings" that in its current form, the bill would enable Israel to lease and control a large area along the Turkish-Syrian border for some 44 years. Arseven also claims that the withdrawal of the bill has pulled Turkey and the AKP "back from the brink."