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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-07-31

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. 142/09 31.07.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The 39th meeting between Christofias-Talat; Statements by Talat after the meeting
  • [02] Ozgurgun sees no possibility for an agreement in Cyprus
  • [03] US lawmaker calls on Turkey to pullout Turkish troops. US Ambassador warned that the window of opportunity in Cyprus will not remain open forever
  • [04] Dev-Is points out that not wanting a single state, a single sovereignty and single citizenship is tantamount to supporting the non-solution
  • [05] The Association for Protection of the TRNC will organize a symposium in November to discuss the status of the breakaway regime
  • [06] The Alevites living in the occupied areas of Cyprus oppose to Koran classes
  • [07] Self-styled minister says the breakaway regime has no money to buy fuel and pay the salaries of its employees
  • [08] Two thousand and five hundred stolen antiquities from Cyprus are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul
  • [09] The results of two surveys about the Turkish Cypriot press
  • [10] The commander of the occupation army met Eroglu and Bozer in the framework of events marking historic anniversaries from the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus and the struggle to Turkify the island
  • [11] TDN Former Turkish diplomat picked to shape NATOs future
  • [12] Davutoglu seeks to help resolve Lebanons government crisis
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] From the Turkish Press of 30 July 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The 39th meeting between Christofias-Talat; Statements by Talat after the meeting

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.07.09) reported the following:

    President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot administration leader Demetris Christofias met for the 39th time on Thursday within the frame of negotiations to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.Following the tete-a-tete meeting of Talat and Christofias that lasted around one hour, the delegations of the two sides joined the talks.

    The meeting at the buffer zone in Lefkosia is being hosted by Taye Brook Zerihoun, UN Secretary General's special representative to Cyprus.

    Talat and Christofias are discussing the issues of Migration, Citizenship, Foreigners and Right of Asylum on Thursday. Talat and Christofias's first round of talks as part of comprehensive negotiations is expected to end on Thursday. The second round of talks will begin on August 6.

    Turkish Cypriots aim to complete negotiations by the end of this year and hold a referendum at the beginning of 2010.

    Talat told reporters after the meeting that they would complete the first round of talks and prepare the program of the second round on August 6.

    Talat noted that they discussed the issues of Migration, Citizenship, Foreigners and Right of Asylum under the topic management and share of power today. He said that they would discuss these issues again in next week's meeting and also prepare the second round's program. Talat recalled that they would have a break until September 3 after the meeting on August 6.

    The two leaders will begin the second round of talks on September 3. Talat and Christofias had started the talks on September 3, 2008. Turkish Cypriots aim to complete negotiations by the end of this year and hold a referendum at the beginning of 2010.

    Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (30.07.09) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat told journalists after the meeting that he expected to learn the Greek Cypriot sides response to a proposal made earlier by the Turkish Cypriot side suggesting that important issues on which the sides failed to reach agreement in the first round should be taken up at leaders level. Mr Talat also said that the two sides gave their responses to the papers submitted by each side on the issues of aliens, immigration, asylum and citizenship and that an evaluation was made on their responses.

    He added that the program of the 2nd round will also be drawn up at Thursdays meeting and that the response to the Turkish sides proposal suggesting that important issues on which the sides failed to agree in the first round should be taken up at the leaders level, would be learned.

    Responding to a question concerning the tete-a-tete meeting, Mr Talat said that daily issues were discussed and an evaluation was made on mutual statements issued by the two sides, but he added that the issues being taken up as part of the negotiation process were not on the agenda.

    Answering another question put to him, he stated that the Greek Cypriot side hasnt yet said anything on the suggestion that a referendum could be held at the beginning of 2010, but pointed out that in recent statements to the press, Greek Cypriot officials were hinting that this could be done in certain conditions.

    [02] Ozgurgun sees no possibility for an agreement in Cyprus

    Under the title Foreign Minister Ozgurgun: The possibility of an agreement in five years is zero, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.07.09) refers to statements made by the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Huseyin Ozgurgun to illegal Bayraks BRT-1 television. Mr Ozgurgun said that the criteria of the Turkish Cypriot side for the solution of the Cyprus problem are bi-zonality which is not watered down, the political equality of the two people and Turkeys effective and de facto guarantees. Mr Ozgurgun noted that during the meetings they held with the Greek Cypriot parliamentarians at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for five years he observed that the possibility of an agreement between the Greeks and the Turks on the island is zero.

    Evaluating the decision of the British High Court regarding the direct flights between the UK and the occupied areas of Cyprus, Mr Ozgurgun argued that this decision is a minor development when compared to the fact that the promises given to the Turkish Cypriots during the period of the Annan Plan were not kept.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] US lawmaker calls on Turkey to pullout Turkish troops. US Ambassador warned that the window of opportunity in Cyprus will not remain open forever

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online 30.07.09) reported the following:

    A key U.S. lawmaker has called on Turkey to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus by removing all of its troops from the divided island.

    Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the top Republican on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, made the appeal after a meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Cyprus, Frank Urbancic, on Wednesday.

    It is my hope that Turkish officials in Ankara, as well as leaders of the Turkish community in Cyprus, will fully embrace efforts for reunification, including by removing all Turkish troops to allow the leaders in Cyprus to negotiate freely and without undue foreign influence, she said. Any solution to the division of Cyprus must be developed by the Cypriot leaders and supported by the Cypriot people themselves.

    In 2004, a U.N.-backed reunification plan was scrapped after being rejected in a referendum by Greek Cypriots but backed by Turkish Cypriots.

    Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (30.07.09) broadcast the following:

    The American Ambassador to South Cyprus Frank Urbancic has said that there was a window of opportunity for a solution in Cyprus.

    But, he warned that it will not remain open forever, adding that intense efforts should now be made to solve the problem.

    Speaking at a discussion organized by the Washington-based think-tank, Woodrow Wilson Centre, the Ambassador said that there was no ethnic fighting and that the gates were open in Cyprus while the two sides were working towards a solution.

    The Ambassador stressed that the United States did not intend to impose a solution to the sides, adding that Washington wanted to play a role to speed up and ease the negotiation process.

    Reminding that the European Union was to review Turkeys membership process at the end of the year and that the presidential elections would be held in the TRNC in April next year, he said the window of opportunity in Cyprus should be used to bring a solution to the problem by that time.

    `The window of opportunity will not remain open forever`, he warned.

    Responding to a criticism made by a Greek Cypriot diplomat who complained that Turkey was preparing to start oil exploration in eastern Mediterranean, he reminded that the Turkish Side accused the Greek Cypriots of reaching a deal with a US company to explore oil.

    `No one should act provocatively, the process in Cyprus should not be put into danger.

    On the same issue, Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (31.07.09) reports on the statements made by the US Ambassador in Lefkosia, Frank Urbancic under the title Turkish Cypriots do not feel Turks. Speaking at a discussion organized by the Washington-based think-tank, Woodrow Wilson Centre, the Ambassador said that the majority of Turkish Cypriots do not consider themselves as Turks.

    Regarding the negotiation process in Cyprus, he said that they took courage from the negotiations in the island, that they feel optimistic and that progress has been achieved. He said also the following: We do not deny our support and help. However, the window of opportunity will not remain open forever. The US Ambassador said also that he wants to be the first US Ambassador to the United Cyprus.

    (AK)

    [04] Dev-Is points out that not wanting a single state, a single sovereignty and single citizenship is tantamount to supporting the non-solution

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.07.09) reports that Mehmet Seyis, chairman of the Revolutionary Workers Trade Unions Federation (Dev-Is) has said that they will continue to support a bi-zonal, bi-communal Federal United Cyprus based on a single state, a single sovereignty and single citizenship with political equality between the communities. In a written statement issued yesterday, he noted that the form of the solution in all the UN documents and the agreements reached until today is a single state, a single sovereignty and single citizenship and added that the negotiations between the two leaders are held on this basis.

    In any case, this is the only ground of a mutually acceptable solution. Putting forward a different view is tantamount to not wanting a solution, he pointed out.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] The Association for Protection of the TRNC will organize a symposium in November to discuss the status of the breakaway regime

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.07.09) reports that the so-called Association for Protection of the TRNC will organize a symposium between 12 and 14 of November 2009 under the title Symposium of the Status of the TRNC. The resolutions of the UN Security Council No 541 and 550 will be among the issues which will be discussed at the symposium.

    Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (30.07.09) broadcast the following:

    The Society for the Promotion of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has protested the Greek Cypriot sides negative attitude with a march in the capital.

    Members of the Society walked from Caglayan to the presidential palace carrying flags of the TRNC and Turkey and placards that read `We didnt gain our sovereignty at the table`, `Turkeys guarantee cannot be diluted`, `We will not allow the ignorance of our will`.

    In an address in front of the presidential palace, the president of the Society Efgan Bilgi said that the march was organized to protest South Cyprus and to notify the Greek Cypriots that they have lost their trust in them.

    Later, he handed the TRNC Constitution, flags of the TRNC and Turkey, and a painting carrying the emblem of the Society and a note read `either to be recognized or to be recognized` to the Presidential Adviser on culture and Arts Mehmet Ali Serak to be given to president Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Mr Bilgi told Mr Serak that the Society wanted all these to be given to the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias by president Talat.

    Mr Bilgi said `we will work for the promotion of the TRNC rather than persuading the Greek Cypriots to accept something`. Later, members of the society walked to the Martyrs Monument, where they ended the protest.

    [06] The Alevites living in the occupied areas of Cyprus oppose to Koran classes

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (31.07.09) reports that the community of the Alevites living in the occupied areas of Cyprus organized yesterday a protest against the Koran classes which the UBP government of the breakaway regime will organize. The paper covers the issue under the title The Alevite community has revolted against the fact that Sunni Islam is made obligatory.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Self-styled minister says the breakaway regime has no money to buy fuel and pay the salaries of its employees

    Under the title The State has no money to buy fuel, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (31.07.09) reports that the third meeting between the government and the six trade unions of the public sector was held yesterday. During the meeting, the self-styled minister of labor and social insurance, Turkay Tokel said that the financial structure of the state has collapsed.

    Noting that the vehicles of the breakaway regime remain in the roads because the state has no money for fuel and for taking the cars for service, Mr Tokel argued that the state has come to a point where it cannot pay the salaries of the employees, it cannot buy medicines and it cannot meet the expenses of the sick persons it sends for treatment to the university hospital after a decision of the council of ministers.

    Furthermore, the self-styled minister of finance, Ersin Tatar pointed out to the economic difficulties which the regime is facing and the deficits in the budget and said they expect the trade unions to show understanding for the year of 2009. Turkey will cover the deficit with an extra fund, but we must do our own duty, he noted.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Two thousand and five hundred stolen antiquities from Cyprus are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (31.07.09) reports that 2.500 antiquities which have been stolen from Cyprus are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul. The paper notes that these antiquities are only a part of the stolen antiquities by Luigi Palma Di Cesnola, American councilor in Cyprus during the last years of the Ottoman rule on the island.

    The paper publishes statements by the former editor-in-chief of the illegal TAK news agency, Mustafa Gursel who said that the antiquities are exhibited on the second floor of the museum. The paper notes that the antiquities should be returned to Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] The results of two surveys about the Turkish Cypriot press

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.07.09) reports that according to a research carried out by KADEM Research Company in July 2009 among 1017 persons in the occupied areas of Cyprus, 63.8% of the inhabitants of the occupied areas of the island prefer to read Kibris newspaper. The method of the survey was the face to face interviews, notes Kibris adding that 17.9% of the participants in the research said they prefer to buy Havadis newspaper which comes to the second place followed by Yeni Duzen newspaper with 11.4%, Afrika with 9.8%, Halkin Sesi with 7.1%, Star Kibris with 5.2%, Gunes with 4.2%, Kibrisli with 3.3%, Volkan with 2.4%, Ortam with 1.8% and Demokrat Bakis with 1.3%.

    According to the results of the survey, the columnist the people prefer to read most is Resat Akar of Kibris with 36 %, followed by Hasan Hasturer of Havadis with 32.7%. Huseyin Ekmekci and Basaran Duzgun of Havadis are in the third and fourth place respectively, followed by Akay Cemal and Bilbay Eminoglu of Kibris and Cenk Mutluyakali of Yeni Duzen. The paper publishes the 20 most read columnists of the Turkish Cypriot press.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (31.07.09) publishes also a research on the same issue. This survey was carried out by Red Border Research, Consultant and Media Services Company among 560 persons with the method of face to face interviews based on the population census held in 2006 in the occupied areas of the island. Replying to the question which newspaper they read every day or at least three times a week and given the opportunity to mention more than one newspaper, the participants in the survey gave the following responses: Kibris 76.4%, Havadis 34.2%, Afrika 14.3%, Yeni Duzen 12.3%, Halkin Sesi 8.5%, Volkan 4.91%, Star Kibris 4.91%, Vatan 4.47%, Gunes 3.39%, Kibrisli 2.95%, Demokrat Bakis 2.73% and Ortam 2.52%.

    According to the same survey, the ten most read columnists are: Hasan Hasturer of Havadis with 21.9%, Resat Akar of Kibris with 9.7%, Basaran Duzgun and Huseyin Ekmekci of Havadis with 9.1% and 8.2% respectively, Sener Levent of Afrika and Akay Cemal of Kibris with 5.8%, Cenk Mutluyakali of Yeni Duzen with 4.3%, Arif Hasan Tahsin of Afrika with 3.4%, Hasan Kahvecioglu of Halkin Sesi with 3.2% and Ahmet Tolgay of Kibris with 2.8%.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] The commander of the occupation army met Eroglu and Bozer in the framework of events marking historic anniversaries from the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus and the struggle to Turkify the island

    Illegal Bayrak television (30.07.09) broadcast the following:

    The 1st of August Communal Resistance Day, the anniversary of three glorious events in the history of the Turkish Cypriot people; the 33rd anniversary of the establishment of the Cyprus Turkish Security Forces, the 51st anniversary of the Turkish Cypriot Resistance Organization the TMT, and the 438th anniversary of the conquest of Cyprus by the Ottomans - is being marked with various events.

    Within the framework of the events, the Commander of the Cyprus Turkish Security Forces Major General Abdullah Recep has paid visits to the Speaker of the Republics Assembly Hasan Bozer and Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu.

    Speaking during his visit to the Prime Minister, Major General Abdullah Recep said that the Cyprus Turkish Security Forces will continue to be the guarantee of the Turks of Cyprus.

    We are taking our strength from our people. We are continuing our work in a structure which promises more reliability and better future in awareness of the self-sacrifices made by our people the commander said.

    Welcoming the Commander, Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu said the Peace Operation on the 20th of July 1974 was realized trusting the Turkish Armed Forces which have been continuing for years.

    He also said that the Turks of Cyprus is wanting the continuation of motherland Turkeys guarantorship in Cyprus forever.

    Pointing to the fact that the international inhumanity against the Turks of Cyprus is still continuing, Mr. Eroglu said however we are determined to live freely on this land under the guarantorship of Turkey.

    The premier called on the international community to see the existence of the TRNC with all its institutions and democracy.

    [11] TDN Former Turkish diplomat picked to shape NATOs future

    Under the above title, Turkish Daily News (online 29.07.09) reported the following:

    A former Turkish ambassador will be one of the 12 wise men who will help shape NATOs future role, Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review has learned.

    Umit Pamir, Turkeys former representative to the military alliance will work with the group of experts that the secretary-general has tasked with reviewing NATOs "Strategic Concept," which is the official document that outlines NATOs enduring purpose and its fundamental security missions.

    Since its inception, NATO has regularly reviewed its tasks and objectives in view of the evolution of the strategic environment. Allies decided at a summit last spring to replace the current strategic concept that was endorsed in 1999.

    They asked the secretary-general to convene and lead a broad-based group of qualified experts, who in close consultation with all allies will lay the ground for the secretary-general to develop a new strategic concept and submit proposals for its implementation for approval at next years summit.

    The Turkish government has nominated Pamir, a veteran diplomat, to work on the committee. While the official decision will be made public Monday, the Daily News has learned that Pamir was picked to work in the committee that is expected to be headed by a former U.S. secretary of state. The committee will table proposals on how the alliance could better address current threats ranging from energy security to proliferation, cyber defense and terrorism.

    Prominent diplomat:

    Pamir is one of the most prominent diplomats in the Turkish foreign ministry. He is very familiar with NATO issues as he was last posted to NATOs headquarters in Brussels as the Turkish representative, before he went into retirement. He also worked at the U.N. headquarters in New York as a Turkish representative and took an active role in the talks in the Swiss town of Bürgenstock, where negotiations between relevant parties took place to finalize the so-called Annan Plan on the Cyprus dispute. He also served as the Turkish ambassador to Athens. In his new mission, Pamir will not represent Turkey but will work on behalf of NATOs secretary-general.

    While Turkey apprehends the importance of preparing NATO for current challenges, it does not want its conventional missions to be diluted. In this sense, Turkey gives special importance to Article 5 of the charter, which lays out collective defense.

    While it is important to deal with out-of-area threats like Afghanistan that stay outside the initial theater in which NATO used to function, we believe the Alliances initial objective, that is, the defense of its members, should not be undermined, said a Turkish official on condition of anonymity.

    [12] Davutoglu seeks to help resolve Lebanons government crisis

    Under the above title Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (online 31.07.09) reported the following:

    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had talks with Lebanon's prime minister designate, Saad Hariri, during a visit to Lebanon on Thursday as the Lebanese politician tries to break a deadlock with political rivals to form the country's next government.

    Coalition negotiations following the elections have taken a little bit too long, Davutoglu told reporters before departing for Lebanon earlier in the day. We believe that Turkey, which has close contact with all political groups in Lebanon, could make a positive contribution in this critical period.

    Hariri's March 14 alliance has been in talks with a rival coalition including the powerful Iran and Syria-backed Hezbollah and its allies to form a coalition government since elections in June. The main sticking point had been the opposition's demand for 11 ministers in the cabinet, giving them the power of veto.

    Hariri's task has been further complicated by influences of rival states that back the opposing sides. A thaw in ties between Syria and Saudi Arabia is seen as instrumental in the successful creation of a new government.

    A smooth cabinet formation is vital to instilling confidence in Lebanon, one of the world's most heavily indebted states.

    Davutoglu said Turkey valued Lebanon's political stability highly and added that efforts led by Hariri to form the government have recently been on a positive path.

    Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who also had talks with Davutoglu on Thursday, said on Wednesday that Lebanese politicians have agreed on the shape of the new coalition government and will complete the allocation of ministerial portfolios within days.

    Berri said only "technical issues" remained, such as distributing ministerial portfolios and assigning ministers to them, a process which should be completed in the next few days. The political process that is related to forming the government ... it can be confirmed that it has been completed, Berri told reporters after meeting with President Michel Suleiman.

    Hariri later held talks with Suleiman for more than an hour on Wednesday, and told reporters: The formula for the government is almost complete. ... We will work seriously, calmly and maybe a little faster to come out with a government. ...

    A senior politician told Reuters on Tuesday there was agreement on dividing seats in a new 30-minister government in a way that would give neither Hariri's alliance an absolute majority nor Hezbollah and its allies the power of veto.

    President Suleiman would be given a decisive say by being allowed to nominate five ministers, including one Shiite to be approved by Hezbollah and its ally the Shiite Amal movement.

    Hariri, who met Berri on Tuesday night, has said very little publicly about his talks.

    A senior political source said the two agreed on the formula for dividing the seats in which Hariri's coalition would get 15 seats, Hezbollah and its allies 10 seats and five to Suleiman -- the interior and defense posts and three state ministers.

    Hariri's March 14 coalition, backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia, defeated Hezbollah and its allies in a June 7 parliamentary election, winning 71 of 128 seats.

    Berri said on Wednesday agreement was reached on the "guaranteeing role" of the presidency, the main direction and policies the government will undertake and its position on national and resistance issues, referring to the controversial issue of Hezbollah's weapons.

    Lebanon has enjoyed relative calm this year following four years of turmoil unleashed by the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik al-Hariri, Saad's father. A Doha-mediated deal halted Lebanon's brush with armed conflict last year when rival groups fought in a power struggle.

    Davutoglu will meet with President Suleiman before wrapping up his visit today. The government has been working actively for stability in Lebanon as part of its ambitions to resolve conflicts in the troubled Middle East. Turkey also mediated peace talks between Syria and Israel, but the talks collapsed in January after Israel launched a deadly offensive in Gaza.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] From the Turkish Press of 30 July 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 30 July 2009:

    a) Judges and prosecutors inspection controversy

    A column by Oktay Eksi of Hurriyet focuses on the conflict between the Justice Ministry and the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, (HSYK), saying that the independence of the judiciary has become a questionable issue in Turkey because of the laws that allow the inspection of judges and prosecutors by the Ministry instead of the HSYK. Recalling that the Justice Ministry does not only inspect the jurists but also keeps their record files, Eksi asks whether "the judicial organs can make independent decisions" when the HSYK is prevented from reaching any files without the approval of the Ministry. He also criticizes the judiciary for failing to take action for the "annulment of the laws that violate the independence of judiciary."

    Another column by Umit Zileli in Cumhuriyet slams the "pro-AKP media" for their "dishonorable attack" against the HSYK with the claim that the Board members were trying to replace the elected prosecutors and judges of the Ergenekon case. Recalling that neither the minister of justice nor his undersecretary responded the "lies" of the pro-AKP media outlets, Zileli asserts that the HSYK denied that unfounded claim with a statement that what they wanted was a Justice Ministry response to the complaints about the irregularities in the Ergenekon case. The columnist argues that the pro-AKP media even held HSYK member Ali Suat Ertosun responsible for the murder of Mustafa Duyar, a suspected assassin of Ozdemir Sabanci, in order to prevent him from giving an interview to journalist Can Dundar. Zileli urged Dundar to disclose why he did not disclose the claim against Ertosun when President Gul appointed him as an HSYK member in 2008.

    In an article entitled "The response to the HSYK statement is as important as the rejection of the 27 April memorandum", Vakit columnist Ali Ihsan Karahasanoglu compares the Justice Ministry statement issued in response to a HSYK announcement on Tuesday to the Government's reaction to the military's strongly-worded 27 April 2007 memorandum. He claims that just as the AKP's sharp response to the 27 April memorandum was a rejection of "military tutelage" over civilian politics, so the Justice Ministry statement amounts to a rejection of the sort of "judicial tutelage" exercised by pro-Republican People's Party, CHP, justices appointed during Mehmet Mogultay's term as justice minister.

    In a commentary entitled "The prerequisite of democratic reforms is to restructure the judiciary", Professor Levent Koker argues that the current judicial system in Turkey protects and maintains a detrimental "unicultural" order, in this way preventing this country from achieving the high democratic standards needed for it to be able to solve problems like the Kurdish issue, the Alevi issue, the non-Muslim minorities issue, and issues related to the exercise of the freedom of conscience and religious faith. He claims that for this reason the way to ensure the successful implementation of democratic reforms in this country would be to restructure the higher judiciary starting from the Constitutional Court.

    Today's Zaman carries a front-page report entitled "HSYK indirectly confirms attempt to replace Ergenekon prosecutors," which claims that the HSYK statement issued on Tuesday amounts to an indirect confirmation of this board's attempt to reassign some of the prosecutors conducting the Ergenekon trial because the statement does not deny that the board tried to replace the prosecutors while emphasizing that it "had no thoughts, proposals or attempts against the judges" hearing the case.

    b) Turkey's role in the Middle East

    A column by Semih Idiz of Milliyet comments on a media seminar he participated in Brazil. Idiz says that during the seminar, which focused on the new initiatives to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he observed that none of the participants mentioned Turkey's role in the efforts to solve the conflicts in the Middle East. According to the Israeli participants, he notes, the "Turkish government is having a credibility problem in Israel" since Erdogan walked out of a panel in Davos in reaction to Israeli President Shimon Peres. Idiz asserts that he had the impression that President Abdullah Gul and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu paying official visits to Israel may help eliminate the tension between the two countries.

    An article by Barcin Yinanc of Hurriyet Daily News censures Erdogan for signaling during his recent visit to Damascus that the Turkish government could play a role in the start of talks between the Syrians and the Israelis. Recalling the tension Erdogan's Davos walkout created between Turkey and Israel, Yinanc says: "It is a mistake to send the message that Turkey can play a role in the Israeli-Syrian contention, without first improving relations with the Israeli government. It will be difficult to expect Israel to give the green light to such an endeavor without first improving relations with Ankara."

    EG/


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