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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-09-10

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. 171/09 10.09.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Ercakicas briefing to the press prior to the launching of the second round of negotiations
  • [02] Turkeys Eximbank to provide a 10 million dollars loan to the illegal regime for exports to Turkey, the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus and third countries
  • [03] Members of KTSYD to attend Champions League and Championship games which are scheduled to take place in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [04] A swimming team from Israel is visiting the TRNC
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [05] Columnist in Hurriyet Daily News analyses the methods employed by the Turkish government to control the media
  • [06] From the Turkish Press of 09 September 2009 a) Kurdish Problem b) Fine imposed on Dogan Media Group c) On Davutoglus megalomania

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Ercakicas briefing to the press prior to the launching of the second round of negotiations

    Illegal BAYRAK television (09.09.09) reports the following:

    Bi-communal relations in Cyprus get frustrated, when the Greek Cypriot officials use each negative development as an opportunity to blame the Turkish side.

    The remarks were made by the TRNC Presidential Spokesperson Hasan Ercakica at his weekly press briefing held today.

    Mr Ercakica touched upon the latest developments on the Cyprus issue, ahead of tomorrows meeting which is going to mark the re-launch of Cyprus peace talks.

    Reminding that the launch of the second round of negotiations was postponed as a result of an incident about crossings at the Yesilirmak (occupied Limnitis) Gate, Ercakica said some were trying to put the blame on the Turkish side on the issue.

    This only serves distrust between the two peoples of Cyprus, Ercakica warned.

    Presidential Spokesperson noted that the Turkish side has not violated any principles as agreed with the Greek Cypriot side before, regarding the Yesilirmak crossing of Greek Cypriot pilgrims.

    The reaction was inappropriate Ercakica said, while he also added that the Greek Cypriot Leader Dimitris Christofias himself later confessed the Greek Cypriot responsibility in the incident.

    Mr Ercakica also pointed to the fact that the Greek Cypriot Side has recently increased its initiatives to use Turkeys European Union membership process against the Cyprus Turkish side.

    He reminded that the Greek Cypriot government spokesperson Stefanos Stefanou has himself admitted that Mr Christofias recent international visits are in line with this issue.

    If such initiatives are taken forward, this is going to deeply hamper peace efforts in Cyprus Ercakica warned.

    The Spokesperson once again brought to mind that the TRNC people want to settle the Cyprus problem with their own free will.

    While answering a question on the appointment of a government representative to the Turkish negotiating team, Hasan Ercakica confirmed that a representative from the Foreign Ministry will join the team and he will also be involved in works carried out at the Presidential Palace regarding the negotiations process.

    He said the representative will be chosen by government officials and no name has been confirmed yet.

    In addition, illegal BAYRAK (09.09.09) also broadcast the following:

    ĞA meeting on amendments to the TRNC Military Law was held at the Presidential Palace today. The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu, Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun and high level military officials.

    Speaking about the meeting, Presidential Spokesperson Hasan Ercakica said they took up possible amendments to the Military Law on a technical level. He noted that the issue is a matter of social order.ğ

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (10.09.09) reports on the statements made yesterday by the presidential spokesman, Mr Hasan Ercakica in the framework of his weekly press briefing.

    In his statements on the issue of the appointment of a person from the government who will participate in the negotiation team of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, Mr. Ercakica said that an agreement has been reached between the president and the prime minister adding that the above-mentioned person is expected to be appointed by prime minister Eroglu and he will represent the self-styled Foreign Ministry.

    Replying to the question whether there is a name being under discussion for the appointment, Mr. Ercakica gave a negative answer and said that it will be the prime ministers responsibility and duty to determine this person.

    Asked to comment on the statements made on the Cyprus problem by prime minister, Dervis Eroglu the day before yesterday during a press conference he gave, Mr. Ercakica stated that Mr. Eroglus statements were not exaggerated and that he did not express extreme positions.

    (AK)

    [02] Turkeys Eximbank to provide a 10 million dollars loan to the illegal regime for exports to Turkey, the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus and third countries

    Under the title Eximbank will provide export credits to the TRNC, Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper reports that the Turkish Republic Eximbank will provide in the first stage a 10-million dollars loan to the illegal regime in occupied Cyprus for exports to Turkey, the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus and third countries.

    The news was announced during a press conference held yesterday in the prime ministry in the presence of the self styled prime minister Dervis Eroglu, the illegal ambassador of Turkey in occupied Cyprus Sakir Fakili, the self styled minister of Economy and Energy Sunat Atun and the deputy general director of Eximbank, Osman Aslan.

    In his statements Mr. Eroglu said that during a visit to him by the Eximbank general director and his deputy two months ago, it was asked that the TRNC too should benefit from Eximbank loans, that the contribution of the ambassador of the Turkish Republic is appreciated and added: Today we have come to the point where Eximbank credits can be dispensed.

    Sakir Fakili said that the Republic of Turkey provides support for the economy of the occupied areas to become self-sufficient and stable and added that during the meetings he held with civil organizations and economic institutions after taking up his duties, he became the receiver of requests by businessmen and the Chamber of Commerce and Trade for boosting the private sector and revitalizing the economy. Mr. Fakili said that after they evaluated these requests, they have exerted efforts for establishing programs applicable in the real sector and that the delegation of Small and Medium Sized Industry Development Organization of Turkey (KOSKEB) which visited occupied Cyprus, has exerted efforts for safeguarding zero interest rate loans to the producers, members of the Turkish Cypriot Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (KOBI), which constitute more than 90% of the economy of the illegal regime. Mr. Fakili concluded by saying that along with the ministry of economy, they support the efforts undertaken for forming in the occupied areas an organization similar to KOSKEB.

    In his statements Economy and Energy Minister Sunat Atun said that informing exporters about the opportunities offered by Eximbank and supporting the real sector is an important part of the government programme.

    Finally, the Eximbank Deputy Director, Mr. Osman Aslan, gave information regarding the credits and stressed that they have the view that the TRNC is among the parties which should benefit from the opportunities existing in Turkey.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (10.09.09) reports on the same issue under the front page banner title New opening and writes that by providing financial support to the Turkish Cypriot businessmen and entrepreneurs just before the second round of the negotiations for reaching to a solution to the Cyprus problem, Turkey is aiming to conduct trade and establish trade relations with the free territories of the Republic of Cyprus. For this reason, the Turkish Eximbank is allocating in the first stage, a fund of 10-million dollars to be spent as loans. The money will be given as long-term low interest loans to manufacturers in order to be able to compete with the manufacturers in the free territories and to be able to find markets for their products.

    (ML)

    [03] Members of KTSYD to attend Champions League and Championship games which are scheduled to take place in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (10.09.09) reports in its sport pages that a new step has been taken on the issue of the development of the institutional cooperation between the Turkish Cypriot Sports Writers Association (KTSYD) and the Greek Cypriot Sport Writers Association (EAK). According to the paper, the night before yesterday, the members of the administration of EAK met with members of KTSYD and took some decisions. According to these, a total of 15 persons, members of the KTSYD will attend the Champions League Games that Apoel will play with Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Porto, five in each match. The administration of the KTSYD has announced that those who are interested to benefit from the free seats must apply to the secretary of the association.

    Moreover, the paper adds that 10 free seats will be allocated every week for the members of the executive council of the Turkish Cypriots Sports Writers Association in order to participate in Championship games which are taking place in South Cyprus. According to this decision, 10 members of the KTSYD will be able to have free entrance cards and watch the matches. The paper writes also that the Turkish Cypriot Sports Writers Association will apply a similar procedure for the members of EAK. The two associations agreed also to organize a friendship futsal match.

    (AK)

    [04] A swimming team from Israel is visiting the TRNC

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (10.09.09) in its sports pages and under the title A swimming team from Israel in the TRNC, reports that a 50-person team from the Water World Swimmer Club, which is one of the biggest swimming clubs of Israel with 4000 members, is in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The team arrived in Cyprus through Larnaka airport and then crossed over to the occupied areas from Agios Dometios crossing point. As the paper writes, the team will stay in the occupied areas of Cyprus for holidays and for training.

    (AK)


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [05] Columnist in Hurriyet Daily News analyses the methods employed by the Turkish government to control the media

    Under the title: Erdoan s seven-year war with the media Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review (09.09.09) publishes the following news analysis by Serkan Demirlas.

    The media-government tension is not unique to Turkey as almost all developing democracies have suffered and are still suffering from their politicians growing intentions to control the media.

    But what is almost unique to Turkey is the governments use of the state power to tax as an instrument to silence the media outlets whose coverage is not liked.

    The record 3.755 billion Turkish Liras ($2.5 billion) tax levy imposed on the Doan Media Group, following the $592 million fine imposed in February, is seen by some as a blatant attempt to use state means to silence vocal critics of the government.

    Since coming to power in late 2002, the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has tried many other ways to control the media, which included limiting the freedom of expression through the penal code, refusing to approve the accreditation of some journalists who were not wanted to be present around the prime minister or calling on the people to boycott the newspapers belonging to a certain media group.

    The governments tactics to this end could be listed as follows:

    1. Use of state means: The governments first target was the Uzan Group, which was one of the most vocal critics of the AKP policies. As Cem Uzan was also AKP s Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdoan s political rival, the government s move in launching a large-scale operation against Uzan Holding and its media outlet was seen by many as an effort to silence both a critic and a rival. The groups illegal money transfer from its banks to the holding was the starting point that ended with the confiscation of the daily Star and Star TV channel as well as the groups other publications.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan, after the imposition of first tax fine, hinted that the problem was occurring because of reports in Doan group newspapers, especially on the ongoing Lighthouse e.V. corruption case in Germany, which is allegedly linked with some top AKP officials.

    The government was also bothered by the group s reports on the corruption cases of some local AKP officials, known as the Ali Dibo deals.

    After the imposition of the first tax fine, Erdoan said he was made aware of the move, making it clear that the process was under control.

    In a similar way, Kanal Türk, a TV channel owned by staunchly secularist and activist Tuncay Özkan, was made a subject of investigation by the state tax office and other units for months in 2007. Özkan said he had to sell his TV channel as a result of pressure. Apart from these examples, many other independent media organizations are under detailed inquiry.

    2. Jail journalists: A number of prominent journalists were arrested as part of the ongoing Ergenekon case, an alleged organization that is accused of aiming to topple the government in 2003 and 2004. Columnists of daily Cumhuriyet, one of the most vocal dailies against the AKP government, were arrested and thus silenced. Mustafa Balbay has been in prison for the last six months, while 0lhan Selçuk and Erol Manisal1 were released because of their poor health. Among more than 200 suspects, there are around 20 journalists who were arrested by the prosecutors of the Ergenekon case. Özkan, Kanal Türk s former owner, is currently in jail on Ergenekon-related charges.

    3. Limit the freedom of expression: One of the first legislative works of the government was amending the press code. Though, in the name of the European Union bid, some improvements were made by this amendment, many of them were taken back through the 2005 penal code. Dozens of journalists, writers and intellectuals have suffered from Article 301 of the penal code. Despite the minor changes in the article, it still poses a threat to the freedom of expression.

    4. The prime minister s call to boycott: It was perhaps a first in this country when Erdoan publicly called on the public to boycott the newspapers belonging to the Doan Media Group. Though the public did not respond to his calls, his constant insults to the media were in fact hurting the credibility of the media, an indispensable instrument of a healthy democracy.

    5. Dont adopt good examples: As a candidate to the EU, Turkey was expected to harmonize more with the European countries standards for the freedom of press. On the contrary, government officials preferred to remain indifferent to calls from international organizations. Recently, Turkeys decision not to sign in a declaration issued by the EU, in a move to show solidarity with a Kazakh journalist, drew reactions from inside and outside.

    6. Isolate journalists: Journalists accreditations were always a problem in this country but mostly because of the militarys strict approach toward certain media groups. The Prime Ministry is another institution that has used its authority to register journalists who are tasked to cover the activities of the prime minister as a means to avoid some reporters whose stories were not liked by Erdoan. Seven journalists applications to renew their accreditation were refused by Erdoan s former press adviser in 2006.

    7. Create your own media: Over the last seven years, one of the most remarkable developments in the Turkish media was the increase in the number of pro-government newspapers and television channels. The sale of the daily Sabah and ATV to the Çal1k Group was an issue much debated in the country as the group financed the $1.1 billion newspaper and channel through a loan granted from two public banks. The prime minister s son-in-law was also a senior Çal1k Group official.

    [06] From the Turkish Press of 09 September 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 9 September:

    a) Kurdish Problem

    In an article entitled Minds are confused about the recent situation," Hurriyet Daily News columnist Mehmet Ali Birand outlines mixed reactions to the Turkish Government's initiative to resolve the Kurdish view and its possible outcome. He says: "It seems the government will reveal its solution formula when Parliament resumes its work. Attitudes will then be clarified. Nobody can foresee anything regarding the probable outcome as of yet. We should not expect the opposite anyway. We are really on a narrow and difficult road. Whatever might happen, even being on the road is a correct step."

    In an article entitled "'Kurds should live with Kurds," Milliyet columnist Taha Akyol draws attention to arguments voiced by some Kurdish politicians and intellectuals, including Ismail Besikci to the effect that Kurds must establish their own independent state which, Akyol cautions, could set the stage for ethnic violence and cleansing. He comments: "How could Turks and Kurds be separated? This is the question that the champions of a 'state based on ethnicity' should ponder over." Akyol advises Turks and Kurds to exercise prudence and self-restraint and to take a pragmatic approach to the problem rather than succumbing to nationalist feelings.

    In an article entitled "Is not Ismail Besikci afraid of bloodshed?" Sabah columnist Emre Akoz criticizes Besikci for saying in a recent interview with Taraf that Turks and Kurds must live in their own states which Akoz describes as a dreadful idea that could lead to ethnic strife because nationalist groups could attack Kurds living in the Western part of the country.

    In an article entitled "Institutionalization of differences," Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila points out that the Democratic Society Party, DTP, and the PKK may not be satisfied with steps that could be taken by the Government to grant some cultural rights to Kurds such as private television stations broadcasting in Kurdish, inclusion of Kurdish as an optional language in school curriculum, and opening Kurdish departments in universities because their ultimate goal is to "institutionalize differences in the Constitution" which, Bila cautions, could lead to secession.

    In an article entitled "Is the 'Kurdish Overture' an American plan?" Radikal columnist Oral Calislar criticizes left-wing and nationalist politicians in Turkey for ascribing the Government's overture to US pressure. Pointing out that the United States is using its influence for ensuring that the Kurdish question is resolved in Turkey because it will contribute to peace and stability in the region after the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Calislar says: "Hopes of a solution are stronger than ever because plans devised by the United States and the EU coincide. But nobody should think that the problem can be settled simply because the United States wants it. It could be resolved only if Kurds and Turks want to do so."

    In an article entitled "Where are we in the Kurdish overture?" Vatan columnist Rusen Cakir analyzes approaches taken by the AKP, opposition parties, and the military to the Kurdish issue, noting that the government seems to have slowed down its initiative amid rumors that the military does not want to share responsibility for the overture and is reluctant to be involved.

    In a commentary entitled "The dilemma facing the Kurdish overture", Vakit writer Mustafa Kamalak asserts that the Erdogan government appears to be refraining from disclosing its "formula" for solving the Kurdish problem because its plan is contrary to the current concept and implementation of secularism in Turkey. Explaining the "dilemma" facing the Government, Kamalak claims that the AKP will risk being closed down if it applies secularism as it is practiced in the West or failing to solve the Kurdish problem if it does not reinterpret secularism.

    b) Fine imposed on Dogan Media Group

    According to a report entitled "Unprecedented tax fine of 3.8 billion Turkish Liras Imposed on Dogan Yayin" in Hurriyet, the Turkish Ministry of Finance has informed Dogan Yayin Holding (DYH) owned by Aydin Dogan that it should pay 3.8 billion Turkish Liras, including tax and a fine arising from transfer of shares between two companies owned by the group as part of their reorganization. The report quotes Soner Gedik, Vice President of DYH, as saying that the transaction did not generate any income for the group, adding that the fine was imposed as a result of a "personal approach" taken by tax inspectors who arbitrarily concluded that the shares of the companies were sold and purchased.

    In an article entitled "The price to be paid for Prime Minister's tyrannical approach to the Press," Hurriyet columnist Mehmet Yilmaz describes the tax fine as another phase in an alleged plan designed to force Dogan Yayin Holding to go out of business which, he asserts, is being implemented on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's instructions. He says: "There is no doubt that those fines will eventually prove to be unfair. The government will not only refund the fine that it has imposed on the company together with an interest, but also indemnify losses it has caused. In other words, people should be ready to pay a price for Erdogan's anger and mistakes made by his hit men."

    In an article entitled "President is the only person who could say that the tax fine of 3.7 Billion Turkish Liras is wrong," Milliyet columnist Gungor Uras argues that the fine imposed on Dogan Yayin Holding is aimed to silence the Dogan Medya Group and calls on President Abdullah Gul to intervene.

    In an article entitled "A war which the ruling party cannot win," Radikal columnist Ismet Berkan points out that the total amount of fines imposed on Dogan Yayin Holding for tax evasion has reached five billion Turkish Liras. He says: "I think that everybody who has some conscience sees that those fines have nothing to do with taxation purposes and that what they are actually trying to achieve is to liquidate a media group by using the government's power." Berkan concludes by saying that the ruling party will not be able to win the war that it has waged on Dogan Yayin Holding because courts are still independent and the public wants to get information from different media establishments, including those which are not supportive of the government.

    Under the headline, "Boss in a Fix," Vakit runs a front-page report which outlines two "scenarios" regarding what could happen in the wake of the imposition of a tax penalty of TL 3,7 billion on the Dogan Media Group. According to the report, Aydin Dogan will either pay off his debts by selling the Petroleum Office Corporation, the Star Television Channel, and the Milliyet newspaper or "flee abroad."

    Under the headline, "TL 3.76 billion tax fine jolts Dogan," Today's Zaman runs a front-page report which asserts that the "unprecedented" tax penalty imposed on the Dogan Media Group "approaches the total value of the holding companies."

    Under the headline, "Aydin Dogan subjected to record tax penalty," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which says that the Dogan Media Group has been subjected to a record tax penalty of TL 3,75 billion for tax evasion in the transfer of shares between a number of Dogan companies. According to the report, the Dogan Group cannot pay off its tax debts even if it sells all the 70 companies owned by the group.

    c) On Davutoglus megalomania

    In an article entitled "Davutoglu, building new orders, and Neo-Ottomanism", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul comments on criticisms of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's recent remarks announcing that Turkey is the greatest country in the Middle East, the Caucasus, and the Balkans and that "we should be the one to build new orders in this region." Karagul argues that the "challenging" and "ambitious" tone of Davutoglu's pronouncements notwithstanding, his words reflect a realistic perception of how Turkey is redefining its missions for the first time in a hundred years and how that will change the course of history in "our region."

    EI


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