A technical-level meeting has been held at the Ministry of Finance with the aim of bringing solutions to the problems being faced by British citizens living in the Republic in buying immovable properties, getting residence permits and to eliminate the hardships they experience at the customs.
Colin Mulcahy, British Residents Society Government Liaison Officer told reporters before the meeting that the number of British citizens living in the Republic is increasing day by day and that problems they are facing at government offices should be solved.
For his part, the Minister of Finance Ersin Tatar said that fresh efforts are being made by the government to solve the problems being faced by some 10-thousand British citizens living in the TRNC.
The Minister explained that the UBP Government made new regulations to bring solutions to their problems, adding that they will not be facing with similar hardships anymore. British citizens will make more investments in the country if they feel more at home, he said.
The vice-Chairman of the British Residents Society Stephan Day voiced their pleasure to see officials from the Interior Ministry at the meeting, thanking Mr Tatar for receiving them.
The Interior Ministrys Undersecretary Kamil Kayral, the deputy-Director of the Immigration Department Hasan Hacioglu was also present at the technical level meeting which was chaired by Minister of Finance Ersin Tatar.
The paper notes that the SRA did not mention whether the firm decided itself to stop its operation or this decision belonged to the SRA. Star Kibris writes that Vahib & Co stopped its operation as of 10 July and this fact caused shock. SRA officials have reportedly told the paper that as of 10 July 2009 the files of the cases handled by the Vahib & Co were delivered to other companies and that this transfer was carried out with the consent of the clients of the firm.
Reminding that the Orams case will be examined by the British Court of Appeal on 11 and 12 November, the paper wonders who will represent the Orams couple in the trial and adds that the above-mentioned couple heard the bad news from Star Kibris correspondent.
The Turkish Cypriots who belong to various religions in our country want to live freely with their religions. The Turkish Cypriots, the Bulgarian Turks and the Turks from Turkey, who are Protestants and consist of approximately 200 families, demand a church where they would be able to practise freely their worship.
In statements to the paper Kemal Basaran said, inter alia, the following: My democratic will is under occupation. There are 500 thousand people from Turkey in this country and with various associations they have established they are expressing support to the Koran lessons. Very well, then let me teach as well. The states must keep the same distance from all the religions. They must approach in the same manner every religion. Mosques are being built everywhere, but we do not have a place to meet. ...
I often receive threats against my life. I am used to them now. I am expecting to be killed. They have written many times that they will kill me in front of my door. Once I received a phone call from a village that they want a Gospel in the Turkish language. There was an imam there as well and those who were around him attacked me....
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.08.09) reports that the National Solidarity Association, the Association for Rights and Freedoms and the Democratic Rights and Beliefs Platform criticized the trade unions which prevented the Koran lesson yesterday in Gypsou and expressed the opinion that such lessons should take place.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.08.09) reports that referring to the same issue, the General Secretary of the Youth Executive Council of the New Cyprus Party (YKP), Nevzat Hami issued a statement noting that Turkey is exerting efforts to assimilate the Turkish Cypriots with impositions such as the Koran lessons, the flags placed along the roads and the monuments erected in various places.
The statement says, inter alia, the following: Giving Koran classes by using the institutions of the state which is a part of the assimilation policies, leaves the Cypriot population, which in any case is the minority, under social pressure because of the population transferred from Turkey. The subordinate administration which recently installed flags and monuments in many places, roads and crossing points with its increasing chauvinistic policies during the last years, is exerting efforts for the non-solution under the control of Turkey.
Representing 26 trade unions, KTOS, KTOEOS, KTAMS, Dev-Is, BES and Revolutionary Genel Is trade unions protested yesterday in front of the prime ministers office against the decision of the government to pay inflation-linked salary increases once every six months, instead of once every two months.
Furthermore, the paper writes that next week the workers in the health sector and the Kamu-Sen trade union will go on strike protesting against the decision of the government regarding the over-time payments.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot Public Servants Trade Union (KTAMS) started a strike at illegal Tymvou airport as of today protesting against the decision of the government regarding the over-time payments. The flights of the illegal Turkish Cypriot airlines will be delayed.
We will not have any complaint from such a development, we will attain permanent peace, said Mr Denktas in statements yesterday during a meeting with a delegation of women from the occupied Keryneia Akdeniz [Mediterranean Sea] Lions Club. Mr Denktas said that like the women who protect their children, the community should also protect its state. Mr Denktas called on the women to protect their children like Motherland Turkey protects Cyprus, its daughter land.
Mr Denktas alleged that the Turkish Cypriots started the negotiations saying that they do not want a state and wished for the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat to appreciate that he should change this stance after the difficulties he faced and to reach an agreement with Turkey.
Alleging that the negotiations which are going on within the framework of a single sovereignty and a single people are tantamount to annihilating a child who became 26 years old, Mr Denktas claimed that no one should accept this. He argued that the doors for the annihilation of the community will be opened when it remains without a state and sovereignty.
Supreme Military Council (YAS) made public on Tuesday the decisions it made in its August meeting.
Navy Commander Adm. Esref Ugur Yigit was appointed as Naval Forces Commander by replacing Adm. Metin Atac who will retire as of August 30, 2009.War Academies Commander Gen. Hasan Aksay was appointed as Air Forces Commander by replacing Gen. Aydogan Babaoglu.
Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug, Land Forces Commander Gen. Isik Kosaner and Gendarmery Forces Commander Gen. Atila Isik will continue their duties for one more year.
Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Hasan Igsiz was appointed as First Army Commander by replacing Gen. Ergin Saygun who will retire as of August 30, 2009. According to the YAS decisions, 34 generals and admirals rose to an upper rank, while 46 colonels became generals and admirals in Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). Also, the duties of 54 generals and admirals were extended for one year.YAS also dispelled --with majority of votes-- three TSK personnel as they have adopted fundamentalist views and acted accordingly.
Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, Hurriyet, Milliyet and Sabah report today (05.08.09) about the appointments made by the Supreme Military Council (YA^), and they publish the list of the new commanders of the three branches of armed forces and the name of the officers who were promoted. Cumhuriyet reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan put an annotation regarding the dismissal of officers from the Armed forces for their reactionary activities.
Meanwhile, under the title Zorlu in Cyprus for one more year, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.08.09) reports that the Supreme Military Council in Turkey (YAS) announced yesterday the army officers who have been promoted and those whose term of service was extended. The term of service of lieutenant general Hilmi Akin Zorlu, commander of the Turkish occupation army in Cyprus, was extended for one more year.
Three Turkish journalists who were taken into custody by Greek Coast Guard and later released arrived at Kas port of southern province of Antalya on Tuesday.
The journalists were taken into custody offshore Kas town while trying to take footage and photos of the Greek military presence on an island at a small distance.
One of the journalists, Bekir Onen San of Daily Sabah, said they saw a church, buildings and many soldiers on the island. San said Greek Coast Guard took them into custody shortly after they took footage of the island, "Greek soldiers did not want us to talk on the phone. However, we managed to inform our friends. Greek soldiers watched the footage and photos."
Journalists who set sail Tuesday towards Karaada upon rumors that Greek soldiers erected the Greek flag in the island, was approached by Greek Coast Guard who took the three reporters, their driver and the captain of the boat into custody.Turkish reporters who were heading towards Karaada witnessed the event and notified the Turkish Coast guard who immediately dispatched a Turkish Coast Guard boat to the region.
Turkish Coast Guard contacted the Greek Coast Guard over the phone and the Turkish journalists were released immediately.
The islands, islets and rocks in the Aegean which were not ceded to Greece by international treaties, the decision of Greece to broaden its territorial waters over 6 nautical miles, continental shelf, air space, the flight information region and demilitarization of islands are the top Aegean problems between Turkey and Greece. Turkey believes that all problems should be addressed as a whole together within the whole range of means for their peaceful solutions that are set forth in Article 33 of the UN Charter. Greece on the other hand advocates that there is no problem in the Aegean between Turkey and Greece other than the delimitation of the continental shelf which should be resolved only through recourse to the International Court of Justice.
Moreover, A.A. reported from Ankara the following:
Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Burak Ozugergin said on Tuesday that detention of Turkish journalists by Greek authorities was regardless of question.
Speaking to journalists, Ozugergin said some news reports appeared saying Greek Coast Guard took some Turkish journalists into custody, "Greek Coast Guard authorities stopped some Turkish journalists who wanted to take photographs near the island and asked about the aim of them. Turkish journalists returned to Kas town after talks between the Turkish and Greek coast guard boats in the region," he added.
The spokesman said Turkish Foreign Ministry launched necessary initiatives on the issue.
The Turkish energy minister said on Tuesday that Russia was interested in providing resources for Samsun-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline.
Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz held a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Ivanovich Shmatko in the Turkish capital of Ankara, and said Russia was interested in providing oil and other resources for the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline.
Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline is a crude oil pipeline between Black Sea oil terminal in Samsun and Mediterranean oil terminal in Ceyhan in Turkey. The aim of this project is to provide an alternative route for Russian and Kazakhstan's oil and to ease the traffic burden of the Istanbul and Canakkale Straits.
"We will sign a protocol to this end," Yildiz said before the Turkish-Russian Joint Economic Committee (JEC) meeting. Yildiz said the two countries would also sign a protocol on peaceful use of nuclear energy, and a memorandum of understanding between the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) and Rosneft, the integrated petroleum company owned by the Russian government.
The Turkish minister said that feasibility works would be carried out for the South Stream Project which would transport Russian natural gas to the Black Sea, Bulgaria and further to Italy and Austria, and they would later assess a partnership in the project and the use of territorial waters. The South Stream project would partly replace the planned extension of Blue Stream from Turkey through Bulgaria and Serbia to Hungary and Austria, and is seen as rival to the planned Nabucco pipeline. The completion is due by 2015.
Also, Shmatko said that some Turkish companies including Aksa, Calik, Tetas, and Russian companies such as Rosneft, Gazprom and Interrau would sign deals on electricity, natural gas and oil.
a) Kurdish Issue: In an article entitled "The deaf, the dumb and the blind...[ellipsis as published]," in Hurriyet Daily News columnist Cuneyt Ulsever argues that there are some methodological errors in the ruling Justice and Development Party's handling of its plan to resolve the Kurdish question. Pointing out that the government only listens to intellectuals and groups close to the ruling party and refuses to allow others to express their views, Ulsever comments: "The correct method is for the government to take all political risks, make solid suggestions, and open them to broad discussion."
In an article entitled "A civil coup," in Hurriyet columnist Enis Berberoglu asserts that the ruling party intends to prepare the ground for what he describes as a civil coup designed to silence its critics and to enable Turkey to assume a mission intended to provide a secure route for the flow of Kurdish and Arab crude oil after tackling the Kurdish problem. He says: "They will try to stage a civil coup rather than a military one. The Turkish Armed Forces, a faithful ally of the United States, will be silenced and the members of a religious community, another faithful ally of the United States, will be sent to the battlefront." Berberoglu also cautions that the government's plan may eventually fuel Turkish nationalism and radical secularism.
Criticizing the government's plan in his article entitled "What happened to 'Ataturk model'?" in Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila emphasizes that devising a separatist model based on ethnicity, granting political autonomy to Kurds, and writing a new constitution prescribing that there are two nations and two official languages would conflict with the underlying principles of the model established by Kemal Ataturk. He comments: "Such a model would be a different 'Turkey model' which would be tantamount to accelerating a process of disintegration rather than a solution. This process could make the Republic of Turkey which is based on a 'unitary system' and 'national unity' history and eventually transform into a process preparing the ground for a 'Greater Kurdistan Model.' Demands being voiced by the PKK and the DTP are actually aimed to achieve that goal."
In an article entitled "Devlet Bahceli's dangerous game," in Milliyet columnist Hasan Cemal, who was among a group of columnists who expressed their opinions about the Kurdish question at the Police Academy, accuses Nationalist Action Party leader Devlet Bahceli of trying to hinder efforts to settle the Kurdish question and to undermine peace and stability. He says: "No politician would turn his back on peace and attempt to take advantage of violence and fears. Such a political approach would only lead to blood and tears."
Criticizing Bahceli for using hate speech in his statements about the Kurdish issue in his article entitled "It is a sin to sabotage the 'Kurdish overture,'" Radikal columnist Cengiz Candar criticizes Bahceli for making comments about the Kurdish question which indicated that he would pursue a policy leading to ethnic polarization and continued fighting. He says: "I felt embarrassed because I had argued that he should also be involved in a possible dialogue and not predicted that he would act like a 'blood monger' at a time when hopes for peace which could stop fighting in Turkey are unprecedentedly blossoming among millions of people."
In an article entitled "What is wrong with this?" in Vatan columnist Rusen Cakir analyzes reasons which might have prompted Bahceli to level accusations against him and other columnists who attended the workshop. Emphasizing that he has not done anything wrong by taking part in the workshop, Cakir concludes by saying: "Nobody should doubt that I will continue to contribute to the current process because I sincerely desire the settlement of the Kurdish question."
In an article entitled "The Kurdish solution," in Milliyet columnist Derya Sazak says that opinions recently expressed by Minister of Interior Besir Atalay about the Kurdish question only reflect his desire to make sincere efforts to tackle the issue, adding that there is actually no model or project for the time being. Emphasizing that there is a suitable environment in the region which could facilitate a possible solution, Sazak notes: "Relations with the United States and the government in northern Iraq are at the best level since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Unlike the Bush Administration, Obama is aware that he can maintain stability in the north only by using diplomacy that would not disturb Turkey while trying to pull the United States out of the morass in Iraq. The PKK's threat will eventually vanish as normalization is achieved in the Kurdish region." Sazak also says that convincing the PKK to lay down arms will be the main challenge during that process.
In an article entitled "What is Barzani's role in the Kurdish question?" in Radikal columnist Deniz Zeyrek says that a decision adopted in a recent meeting of the National Security Council and diplomatic activities indicate that Turkey will take a constructive stand toward Kurdish leaders in Iraq and try to convince them to cooperate against the PKK rather than resorting to pressure. He says: "If the PKK agrees to lay down arms as a result of overtures in Turkey, Barzani will play a key role in various issues such as closing down PKK camps in Qandil, status of the organization's leaders, and permitting PKK militants who may not want to return to Turkey to stay in Qandil." He concludes by saying that Barzani may soon pay a visit to Turkey as part of plans devised behind closed doors.
In an article entitled "We should not daydream," Vatan columnist Gungor Mengi emphasizes that the opportunity to resolve the Kurdish question should not be missed. He says: "Unfortunately, the ruling party's desire to find a solution is not based on sufficient preparation. A meeting held at the Police Academy by the Minister of Interior with a group of journalists who share the view that the government should make unilateral concessions, reminded me of a man who tries to overcome his fear by whistling while walking through a graveyard. The government must unveil a plan in respect of which it can assume responsibility. Similarly, the opposition parties should avoid making statements and taking actions which could eventually be regarded as attempts to sabotage the process."
In an editorial entitled "Who will account for our martyrs?" Cumhuriyet columnist Ilhan Selcuk speculates about possible motives behind the government's plan about the Kurdish issue. He says: "Reasons and statements highlighted in the media about this issue have a common point: The United States is withdrawing its forces from Iraq. The PKK can no longer survive. There is a suitable environment for resolving the Kurdish question and this is what Obama desires to see. It is a realistic explanation. But, it is hair-raising for Turkey. It indicates that the United States has backed the PKK so far. The real enemy was not the PKK, but the United States."
In an article entitled "Erdogan-Turk meeting: a confidence-building step", in Taraf columnist Yasemin Congar says that a meeting which is expected to take place between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Democratic Society Party leader Ahmet Turk this week may be the first step aimed at convincing Kurds that the government is sincere in its efforts to resolve the Kurdish problem.
In an article entitled "A super family: Kurds, a super solution: making peace" in Yeni Safak columnist Ozlem Albayrak warns that the new process started by the ruling AKP's "Kurdish overture" will see nationalist groups accuse the Erdogan government of betraying the country by making major concessions to Kurdish groups. She also criticizes the "Kurdish report" prepared by the main opposition Republican People's Party, CHP, in a "counter-attack" against the AKP's initiative, asserting that the CHP's insistence in this report that an amended constitution should be free of an ethnic emphasis and include the provision that "every citizen of the Republic of Turkey is called a Turk" could be perceived as "a new declaration of war" because it is tantamount to asking citizens of Kurdish origin to call themselves Turks.
In an article entitled "Discussing the Southeast with Numan Kurtulmus" in Vakit columnist Serdar Arseven highlights Felicity Party, SP, leader Numan Kurtulmus' following messages regarding the Government's "Kurdish overture" in an interview held in Safranbolu, Karabuk: 1. It would be wrong to oppose the effort to solve the Kurdish problem simply because it is being conducted by the ruling AKP. 2. It would be "extremely wrong to exclude the DTP [Democratic Society Party] or another group from this process." 3. Turkey should confront and deal with extra-judicial killings, practices that undermine the freedom of religious faith and conscience, and other manifestations of state coercion. 4. While the "southeast issue" is not the result merely of economic factors, any solution initiative should entail creating employment opportunities in the region and replacing neoliberal policies with a public investment program.
In an article in Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone criticizes Nationalist Action Party, MHP, leader Devlet Bahceli for responding to the Government's plan to solve the Kurdish question by targeting certain journalists who support the AKP's bid and announcing that the MHP will "take to the mountains" if the Government presses ahead with this project. Turkone claims that the MHP is trying to protect the nation state by deepening the crisis and to "counterbalance Kurdish political demands by creating a center of gravity on the opposite pole." Explaining what is "wrong" with this strategy," Turkone argues that the MHP's reaction to the Government's Kurdish plan threatens to damage Turkey's unity by paving the way for a Kurdish-Turkish conflict.
In an article entitled "Essentials of the 'Turkey model'", in Zaman columnist Sahin Alpay argues that the "Turkey model" that the Government is trying to create as part of its effort to solve the "Kurdish issue" should include the following components. 1. The political dimension: the Government should "recognize all aspects of the Kurdish identity" following a process of dialog with all legitimate political and intellectual representatives of Kurds. 2. The security dimension: Ankara should grant an amnesty for all "ordinary" PKK militants and allow them to engage in politics. 3. The economic dimension: New investments in the region are not feasible unless the PKK lays down arms. 4. The international dimension: Turkey should win the respect and confidence of all regional Kurds by promoting the fundamental rights and freedoms of its Kurdish citizens.
In an article entitled "Proposals for a solution to the Kurdish problem", in Zaman columnist Ihsan Dagi asserts that replacing the definition of citizenship in the current Constitution with the one in the 1924 Constitution ["The people of Turkey are called Turkish in terms of citizenship regardless of religious or racial differences"] could be an initial step toward addressing the "Kurdish issue" successfully.
In an article entitled "Kurdish issue needs more than Democratic reforms", in Today's Zaman columnist Kerim Balci asserts that to be able to solve the Kurdish problem, Turkey needs "a new constitution prepared in such a way that it will deconstruct our imagined identities and start from scratch to build an amalgam of celebrated differences."
In an article entitled "One more step and ...", in Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal argues that what the Erdogan government calls its "Kurdish overture" is part of a plan to unite Turkey with the "puppet state" in northern Iraq. He warns that this project entails Turkey's transformation into a federal state. He goes on to claim that the PKK has used the EU membership process as a means of obtaining everything it wanted from Turkey in the 1990s and that if the ongoing process continues, it will lead to the replacement of Turkey's nation-state structures with a multi-national partnership model that would be a candidate for partition "at the first opportunity" just like Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Belgium.
b) New strategic balances
In an article entitled "The new eastern frontier of the west, the new western frontier of the east", in Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul cites US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent statement warning that a US security umbrella will be established in the Middle East as an indication along with the Georgia crisis, "the new mission defined for Iraq," recent developments involving Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Western "interventions in the Russian-Chinese-Indian triangle" that the United States and Europe have redefined their Eastern border. He asserts that whereas the old Western frontier used to be Eastern Europe, the Straits, and the Suez Canal, it has now been extended to the Eastern Black Sea region, the Iranian-Turkish border, and the Persian Gulf, adding that the Middle East and Turkey lie within the new Western borders and that Turkey's regional perspective will be determined based on this "new geopolitical line" from now on. He also argues that the West will be using Muslim minorities in China, India, and "possibly" Russia as a means of destabilizing these countries in this new period and that the Western goal will be to break the Russian-Chinese axis, obstruct the formation of anti-Western groups in Asia, and weaken China's hand by establishing good relations with Russia.