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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-09-14
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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. 173/09 12-14.09.09
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Turkish Cypriot parties reacted to the proposals made by the Turkish side regarding the presidential elections Nami brought clarification over the proposalsIllegal Bayrak television (13.09.09) broadcast the following:
The ruling National Unity Party (UBP) has expressed serious concerns over the Turkish Sides latest proposals offered to the Greek Cypriot Side regarding Presidential elections for the partnership state, on the grounds that they are the same as those leaked in the Greek Cypriot press.
Speaking to the BRT newsroom, UBP Secretary-General Irsen Kucuk said his party will not in anyway accept such proposals or remain as onlookers.
Negotiators might have their own personal views but they should bring proposals to the negotiating table that have the governments approval and consent, Mr Kucuk said. Irsen Kucuk also questioned the way the proposals were leaked into the Greek Cypriot media.
Reiterating the UBPs desire for a settlement in Cyprus, he however said that the publics political will reflected during the outcome of early general elections in April, should be kept in perspective while conducting the talks. Rights of Cyprus Turks must not be taken backwards Kucuk added.
He also called on President Mehmet Ali Talat to be careful against Greek Cypriot tricks and tactics.
In addition, illegal Bayrak television (13.09.09) broadcast the following, regarding the reaction of the Democratic Party on the issue:
The Democrat Party (DP) strongly rejects the Cyprus Turkish proposals offered to the Greek Cypriot Side on the election procedure of Presidency for the partnership state envisaged with resolution.
In a written statement, the DP Leader Serdar Denktas said his party doesnt support proposals that the Cyprus Turkish side presented during the first meeting of the second round of talks, which were welcomed by the Greek Cypriot Side. DP Leader noted that the proposal envisages the election of the President by the Senate to be formed, from a single list that is going to include both Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot candidates.
According to DP, this actually removes the principle of two separate democracies which existed within the 1960 Cyprus Republic. When our democratic right is removed, we will become a minority community where we will only have our individual rights protected, DP said.
DP argued that if Cyprus Turkish and Greek Cypriot political parties are united under one roof, then this will lead to a decrease in the Turkish existence on the island. The issue of single list was included in the Annan Plan, too, the DP noted.
It said however that the current conjuncture is not the same with the one during the Annan Plan period. DP claimed that if the Cyprus Turkish side is pleased with the Greek Cypriot Sides satisfaction over a Turkish proposal which takes the Greek Cypriot offer as its ground, then this is a proof to diplomatic incompetence.
A solution-favored mentality in the TRNC should satisfy the needs and concerns of all circles of the TRNC as well as of the Greek Cypriot side.
Finally, illegal Bayrak television (12.09.09) broadcast statements made by Mr Ozdil Nami, the advisor of Mehmet Ali Talat, on the same issue:
The Turkish side offered new proposals on the issue of federal executive, during the first meeting of the second round of Cyprus negotiations, which was held last Thursday. Proposals envisage the election of the President and Vice-President of the new partnership state by the senate, where candidates will be listed under a single ballot paper.
TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talats Special Representative Ozdil Nami has brought clarification over the single list to the BRT newsroom, in response to todays media reports. Mr Nami said a single ballot paper will be presented to the senators of the new Cyprus state to be envisaged with the solution of the Cyprus problem. Nami noted that the majority vote of the Senate will determine who will hold the position of the President and the Vice-President where a rotatory presidency is envisaged for 2 Cyprus Turks and 2 Greek Cypriots.
The Presidents Special Representative emphasized that this system is based on full equality. The Senate will dissolve itself and go for early elections if an equal balance is not reached, Nami said. In such a case, Nami said that the proposal envisages the early election to take place with the biggest Cyprus Turkish and Greek Cypriot political parties, forming an election government.
 Talat said the DP and the UBP knew the proposals of the Turkish side on the executive and referred to sovereignty in the form of two separate democracies at the level of the constituent stateTurkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (14.09.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat commented on the reactions of the Democratic Party (DP) and the National Unity Party (UBP) regarding the proposal of the Turkish side on the executive power within the framework of the negotiations for reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem.
In statements to the illegal TAK news agency, Mr Talat said that the two political parties behaved as if they did not know the Turkish proposal, in spite of the fact that they were informed about it.
Mr Talat argued that the reason for which the proposal was considered to be unacceptable is the fact that in the Greek Cypriot press the news were reported wrongly. Mr Talat said that in the proposal they have submitted, sovereignty will be used at two levels. The one is the level of the constituent state and the other is the federal state level, he noted adding that both levels will be equal with each other and that hierarchically the one level will not be on the top of the other.
Mr Talat said that the sovereignty which will be used at the level of the constituent state will appear in the form of two separate democracies and added that the Turkish Cypriots will govern themselves and enjoy their democracy in the Turkish constituent state, while the Greek Cypriots will do the same in the Greek Cypriot constituent state. He noted that the sovereignty at the federal level will be common and that there will be a common federal government with a common program and common targets. He noted that the leaders of this government will be one Greek and one Turk. Therefore, he said, it is very natural to accept that the Turkish and the Greek Cypriot leaders should participate in the elections with a common list.
Mr Talat noted that the common list has been proposed by the Turkish side since the period of the Annan Plan and added that the only change they made to the proposal is the presidential council, instead of which they suggested the election of two presidents.
Responding to a question regarding the possibility of the UN Secretary-General visiting Cyprus, Mr Talat said that they estimate that this visit will be in October.
Mr Talat expressed his concern about the Turkish proposals having been leaked to the Greek Cypriot press and said that this was not pleasant and correct and will not influence positively the process. Although the proposals are not secret, their being leaked to the press caused discomfort to the Turkish side, he noted.
 Talat commented on the property issue during a visit to occupied Myrtou villageTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (12.09.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, during a visit to the occupied village of Myrtou, commented on the latest developments in the negotiations for the Cyprus settlement.
Mr Talat said that as time passes by it serves against the Cyprus settlement and added that the Turkish Cypriot side wants a fast negotiation process in order to have results in a short time.
Noting that the Greek Cypriot side said that the former owners of the property should have the say regarding the decision on the property issue, Mr Talat said that if the former owner of the property wants to take the property back he should take it, if he wants to exchange it he will exchange it, if he wants compensation he will get it. Mr Talat also added that in case on the plot a construction has been built then if the owner wants his property back, he should pay for the cost of the construction.
Noting that nowhere in the world, after wars and displacements, the property issue was settled in this way, Mr Talat said that everywhere criteria were agreed and according to these criteria they proceeded to a solution.
Mr Talat added: This is not something that we could accept since it is against the UN principles. For this reason no progress was achieved in the property issue and no paper was prepared.
 Eroglu said that the subordinate regime Ankara set up in occupied Cyprus is the second Turkish state in the world. Statements from NigdeIllegal Bayrak television (12.09.09) broadcast the following:
Prime Minister Eroglu is in Nigde for a series of contacts. Speaking to reporters during the visit, Mr Eroglu said the agreement to be reached between the two sides during the second round, depends on the stance owned by the Greek Cypriot Side. Greek Cypriots have got used to say no to everything. And they are sitting at the negotiation table with a strategy to get more concessions from the Turkish side. The Greek Cypriot intransigency still continues Eroglu stated.
The Prime Minister however stressed that the people of the TRNC will not be following concession-oriented policies anymore, and this must be well-understood by Greek Cypriots. He noted that one reason for the Greek Cypriot Side to maintain its intransigent attitude was its unilateral membership to the European Union, which happened contrary to international agreements. Eroglu said the solution of Cyprus problem had been prevented as a result of the outcomes brought by this and the Greek Cypriot Sides spoiledness. Greek Cypriots rejected the Annan Plan with a majority of 76 % in 2004. And now, they are waiting to see another resolution plan that will include more concessions from the Cyprus Turkish side. We will no way accept this the Premier emphasized.
The international community has made two mistakes on the Cyprus issue, according to the Prime Minister. One is when the UN Security Council recognized the Greek Cypriot Administration and the other is the Administrations unilateral EU membership. Eroglu went on saying that those who still expect to take more concessions over Cyprus by exerting pressure on Turkey, should now come to realize the fact that this is only an imagination.
Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu said that the Cyprus problem can only be solved when Greek Cypriots see the realities on the island. One other condition for the solution for Mr Eroglu is not to ignore the events before and after 1974. Otherwise, negotiations can last for many more years, he warned. As part of his visit to Nigde, Eroglu was also received by Nigde Mayor Faruk Akdogan and the Garrison Commander-Colonel Osman Nuri Erkan. The Prime Minister also attended the Nigde Culture and Arts Festival and then inaugurated a park named after him. He will return to the TRNC tomorrow night.
Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (13.09.09) reports the following:
Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu arrives in the republic after completing his contacts in the Turkish city of Nigde. As part of his contacts Mr Eroglu attended the inauguration ceremony of a park named after him in Nigde.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Prime Minister said that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was the second Turkish state to be established in the world and the Cyprus Turkish people were determined to maintain the existence of the TRNC. Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu expressed his gratitude to Turkeys unconditional support to the TRNC. Pointing out that the Cyprus Turkish people had achieved freedom with the 1974 peace operation; the Premier said that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will continue to exist with the support of motherland Turkey.
 Talat to hold contacts in BrusselsIllegal Bayrak television (13.09.09) broadcast the following:
President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Mehmet Ali Talat will be leaving for Brussels tomorrow for a series of contacts. President Talat will be meeting with leading EU officials during his one day stay in the European capital. As part of his contacts, the President will meet with the EU Commissions Vice-President Margot Wallstrom and the Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn.
He will also come together with representatives from some think-tank institutions at a working breakfast. President Talat will return to the TRNC on Tuesday night.
 Davutoglu briefed EU ambassadors to Ankara on Cyprus during a fast-breaking dinner offered by the Ambassador of SwedenTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (14.09.09) reports the following:
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has told ambassadors of European Union member countries based in Ankara that their countries should pressure the Greek Cypriot government to reach a compromise in the ongoing reunification talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders.
Swedish Ambassador to Turkey Christer Asp, whose country has held the six-month rotating presidency of the EU since July, hosted an iftar (fast-breaking dinner) in honour of Davutoglu on Friday evening. Other EU ambassadors based in Ankara were in attendance at the dinner.
Turkish diplomacy is flexible, but it knows when to say no, Davutoglu was quoted by reliable sources as telling EU ambassadors while speaking on the Cyprus issue. He warned that Ankara's constructive manner regarding the issue should not be misinterpreted as a sign of weakness. The minister complained about the absence of a timeline in the ongoing Cyprus talks and referred to the uncompromising attitude of the Greek Cypriot side.
While this is the situation, do not bring up the ports issue' as a problem in front of us, Davutoglu told the ambassadors, encouraging them to support resolution of the Cyprus issue.
 Taner Dervis accused Talat for his stance on the issue of the fenced city of VaroshaTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (14.09.09) in its front page and under the title The defence of our rights is not sufficient, reports on the statements made by Taner Dervis, former director of the Vakif Foundation who accused the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat for his stance on the issue of the fenced city of Varosha. Mr. Dervis criticized Talat for not defending and protecting the property and the compensation rights of the Turkish Cypriots in a sufficient manner as regards the negative developments which appear regarding the Varosha issue due to the Greek Cypriots.
Mr. Dervis in his statements reminded the fact that the Greek Cypriot Administration, as he called the Republic of Cyprus, follows an active policy regarding the fenced city of Varosha, adding: In the framework of this policy, it took into the agenda of the European Parliament the issue of the fenced city of Varosha, the issue of Varosha was a matter of discussion in every period of the rotating presidency of the EU and the Greek Mayor of Famagusta undertook an active role regarding the fenced city of Varosha by starting a preparation plan for the reconstruction of the city.
Mr. Dervis said also that the Greek Cypriot leader, Demetris Christofias has sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanding the return of the closed city of Varosha to the Greek Cypriots. He then accused the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat that he did not undertake sufficient initiatives on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots regarding their property and compensation rights. He also accused him of falling behind on the issue of protecting and defending the property and compensation rights of the Turkish Cypriots. Due to this negative stance of the Esteemed President, the enlightenment of the UN Secretary-General in the framework of his civil initiative was necessary and compulsory, Mr. Dervis said, adding that the EU organs were also informed.
Mr. Dervis went on and gave detailed information on the issue of the property and compensation rights of the Vakif Foundation in Varosha.
 A man was arrested in occupied Cyprus under the charge of selling meat that was carrying stamps by butcheries in the free areas to the Turkish occupation armyTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (13.09.09) reports as a front page story on the sale of meat which was illegally imported from the Greek Cypriot side to the Turkish occupation army and writes that officials of the Celebi Meat Products who, in July 2007, had been arrested for illegally trading in 1.5 tone of meat from the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus in the occupied areas, were detained again under the same charge.
According to the paper, in a control performed by officers of the Veterinary Office on September 11th, it was found that more than 634 kg of meat delivered to the occupation army were carrying stamps of abattoirs in the free areas. Hasan Uzer, so-called deputy inspector responsible for the investigation, said to the court that the meat was sold to the Turkish Armed Forces in Cyprus by Vanet Company, the owner of which is Salih Celebi. The court ordered that Salih Celebi remains in custody for three days.
 The self-styled Municipality of occupied Lefkosia intends to buy AnkarasporTurkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (14.09.09) under the title Is the Municipality of occupied Lefkosia purchasing Ankaraspor? reports that according to allegations, the Municipality of occupied Lefkosia is planning to buy the Turkish football team Ankaraspor. According to the allegations, the Lefkosia Municipality is planning to use as an instrument the Ankaraspor team for lifting the embargoes imposed on the TRNC in sports. The paper reports that the self-styled chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation, Mr. Omer Adal, confirmed this development with statements.
The paper also writes that officials from the so-called Lefkosia Municipality will hold contacts during the forthcoming days in Ankara on the issue and that on the one hand they will present the issue of purchasing Ankaraspor as a national policy of the TRNC whereas on the other hand they are planning to ask for funds from several ministries. According to information acquired by Goal.com, Lefkosia Municipality will knock on the door of both ministries of Turkey and the TRNC for this aim, and in case it finally purchases Ankaraspor, then it will be represented not only at Super League, but also it will lift the embargoes imposed on the TRNC in sports. The paper writes also that it is said that right after the necessary funds are secured by the Municipality of occupied Lefkosia and the team is purchased, the name of the team will change to Lefkosaspor. There are also alternative names such as Yesiladaspor or Lefkosa Belediyespor.
 Todays Zaman: US to sell Turkey Patriot missiles in $7.8 billion dealUnder the above title Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (14.09.09) reports the following:
US President Barack Obama's administration has notified Congress of a possible $7.8 billion sale of Patriot PAC-3 antimissile batteries and related equipment to Turkey, the only NATO ally bordering Iran.
The sale would include 13 Patriot fire units, 72 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles and a range of associated hardware for ground-based air defense, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a notice made public on Friday, reported the Reuters news agency.
It estimated the cost at $7.8 billion, which would be one of the biggest US government-to-government arms sales in years and would mark the return of Turkey as a major US arms buyer.
Turkey would use the PAC-3 guided missiles to boost its missile defense capability, strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats, the defense agency said. Turkey is a partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in the region, it said. It is vital to the US national interest to assist our North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability that will contribute to an acceptable military balance in the area.
At this stage it is unclear whether Turkey's planned purchase of PAC 3 missiles is part of a procedure related to its ongoing international tender to acquire long-range air- and missile-defense systems (T-LORAMIDS) intended to counter both missiles and aircraft.
There is also speculation that the Turkish plan to buy US Patriots is part of the US's missile shield program under which Turkey will be one of the sites to deter a possible missile threat from Iran, which has been accused by the international community of developing nuclear weapons.
But Turkish diplomatic sources speaking to Today's Zaman said the purchase was part of efforts to modernize Turkey's defense assets, dismissing any notion that it was for purposes of deterrence.
Turkey's Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM) issued a request for proposal (RFP) quietly in mid-April for the direct purchase of T-LORAMIDS. It is envisaged that the project, valued at some $4 billion, will entail the purchase of about 12 systems.
Separately, the SSM sent a letter of request (LOR) to the US administration since possible purchase of long-range missiles from the US will take place under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) credits. Local defense industry sources told Today's Zaman that it is highly possible that the Obama administration's notification to Congress of the possible $7.8 billion sale to Turkey is part of the procedure for US companies to compete for Turkey's tender.
The US administration will set a higher price on the arms purchases that will take place during the negotiations with the countries concerned, said the same sources. The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency announcement stated that the primary contractors for the Turkish sale would be Raytheon Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. The notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean a sale has been concluded.
That announcement falls in line with the Turkish tender since Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are teamed on the Turkish project.
The SSM issued a request for information (RFI) in March 2007 to find out the price and availability of the missile systems. US companies Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have jointly offered a combination of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) and PAC-2 low to high-altitude SAMs purchased through US FMS credits. The China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CPMIEC) has offered the HQ-9 (reported export designation FD-2000) air-defense system. Russia, meanwhile, has so far refrained from participating in the tender and instead offered for Turkey to start state-to-state negotiations with Moscow for the sale of missiles as a sole source.
Turkey, which asked Russia to compete in the tender with its more advanced S-400 missile systems instead of the vertically launched S-300 air-defense system, rejected the Russian offer of having direct talks without a tender. The RFPs have been issued to enable international competition in the T-LORAMIDS project. They involve, among other things, a request from the companies to offer some parts of the missiles to be produced in Turkey, said a local defense industrialist.
US sources who requested anonymity earlier told Today's Zaman that there have not been big restrictions from the US on what Turkey wants to be produced domestically.
The SSM sent RFPs to the Lockheed Martin-Raytheon partnership and CPMIEC as well as to Russia's Rosoboronexport, asking for them to respond by mid-July. However, Turkish sources said that the deadline for responses had been extended to the end of this year.
Subtitle: Missile umbrella speculation
In the meantime, the Obama administration's notification to the US Congress for the missile sale to Turkey is also linked to a US project to build a missile shield to deter ballistic missile threats that may come from rogue states. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Iran's leaders on July 26 that if they were seeking nuclear weapons, your pursuit is futile, days after she raised the possibility of a US-built defense umbrella over the Middle East to counter Iranian clout.
In separate notices to Congress released Friday, the Obama administration announced a potential $220 million artillery rocket sale to Jordan and a possible $187 million sale of F-16 fighter-carried weapons to Morocco.
In the case of a NATO member such as Turkey, Congress has 15 days to block a proposed arms deal by passing a joint resolution of disapproval, though it never has stopped a sale once formally notified.
The proposed supply of the equipment to Turkey, along with US logistical support, would not alter the basic military balance in the region, the notice to Congress said. This would mark the first Turkish purchase of PAC-3 missiles, it said. It would reverse a Turkish trend away from US arms purchases in recent years, said Soner Cagaptay, an expert on Turkey at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a nonpartisan research group.
Such a purchase would represent a big consolidation of US-Turkish military ties, he said. The Patriot PAC-3 missile would provide Turkey with some capability to defend against short-range Iranian SCUD missiles with a range of 500 kilometers to more than 800 kilometers, said Steven Hildreth, a missile-defense expert at the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.
Iranian missiles are currently capable of reaching all of Turkey, Hildreth said. Turkey's geo-strategic importance for the United States depends partly on Incirlik Air Base, located near Adana in southeastern Turkey. KC-135 refueling planes operating out of Incirlik have delivered more than 35 million gallons of fuel to US warplanes on missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the research service said in a report last year.
Carol Migdalovitz, an expert on the country at the research service, said the proposed sale showed Turkey was hedging its bets on improved ties with Iran. While it has improved [bilateral] trade and energy ties, Turkey remains wary of Iran's nuclear program, she said.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Turkish Cypriot columnist says the breakaway regime has been founded on plunderWriting in Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (13.09.09) under the title Its foundation is plunder, Turkish Cypriot journalist Ali Osman reports, inter alia, the following:
It is considered that the impasse in the Cyprus problem will last forever. The Turkish Cypriots who abandoned their homes and villages in 1963 were not able to return to their homes, villages, that is, to their properties. Those who attempted to return were beaten up and threatened. The order for abandoning the homes and properties has been given by the TMT with the pretext of life safety.
Behind this there was the propaganda of the Turkish leadership that The Greeks banished the Turkish Cypriots from their villages and properties, in order to prove to the world that it had right rather than the safety of the Turkish Cypriots. Even if it seemed like that in the beginning, afterwards those who wanted to return to their villages and homes were not permitted to do so. Meanwhile, many have been registered as fighters and were linked to a salary.
The fact that dynamite exploded at the house of the Minister of Health of the Republic of Cyprus, Niyazi Manyera, after he insisted to return to his duty in spite of the fact that he was warned not to go, is a well-known reality. The same is valid for the fact that he who exploded the dynamite is still alive.
Anyway, the Turkish Cypriots, who abandoned their homes and properties in 1963, could say that this is my property and my house, as soon as things relaxed.
Together with those who returned to their villages risking everything, there were also some others who returned and stayed for a certain period of time. Then these properties were not considered plunder.
The movable and immovable properties left by the Greek Cypriots who were banished, killed, murdered or intimidated and forced to run away, have been seized saying that it is plunder and it is legitimate.
The state called TRNC, before which the Turkish Cypriot Federate State (KTFD) existed, has been built on the foundation of this plunder.
May be today and for a long period of time afterwards, unearned profit will continue to be secured from this plunder, but in the end, even if the north remains to Turkey, even if a separate state is created, these properties will be returned to their real owners or their inheritors.
Do not take into consideration those who talk through their hat. They are the ones who live for the day.
I am not saying that a solution to the Cyprus problem will be reached. I am only saying that the property issue will be solved and this means that the TRNC shop will be closed down. .
 From the Turkish Press of 11, 12 and 13 September 2009Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 11, 12 and 13 September 2009:
a) Efforts of the government to control the press:
In an article entitled "Goodbye, Bekir!" in Hurriyet (11.09.09) columnist Ayse Arman says that columnist Bekir Coskun has left Hurriyet probably because of his disappointment resulting from events which she does not mention and will write for Haberturk in the future.
On Bekir Coskuns leaving Hurriyet a report entitled "AKP's list of unwanted columnists" in Cumhuriyet (11.09.09) quotes Coskun as implying in an interview with Aksam that he left Hurriyet due to pressure placed on him. Coskun also claimed that Aydin Dogan had received a request from the Government to fire around 10 columnists writing for newspapers owned by the Dogan Group because they were criticizing the Government unfairly.
In an article entitled "We have misunderstood," in Hurriyet (11.09.09) columnist Oktay Eksi says that a fine of 3.7 billion Turkish Liras imposed on Dogan Medya Holding due to alleged tax evasion stood in stark contrast to Erdogan's earlier promise that his government would respect and not attempt to dictate its terms to people who do not support the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP. He says: "When tax experts informed us that the fine was a glaring example of disrespect for laws, we understood that we had misunderstood the Prime Minister... His remarks were only directed to Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin. He actually promised democracy and sincerity to them."
In an article entitled "Sultan's revenge," in Hurriyet (11.09.09) columnist Mehmet Yilmaz says that the tax fine was interpreted by Europeans as a sign that the Turkish Government has no tolerance for criticism and that it wants to punish and silence the press by using that method. He comments: "The Prime Minister is not aware that he is causing greatest harm to Turkey while attempting to punish the Dogan Group. It appears that his anger prevails over his reason. The picture seen by outsiders is as follows: A company has carried out a transaction in accordance with rules clearly specified in laws. But, the Prime Minister gave an order to impose a tax fine in order to cause the company to go bankrupt because he is angry with it. Would you want to invest in such a country if you were the executive of a foreign company?"
In an article entitled "It will soon be their turn," in Milliyet (11.09.09) columnist Mehmet Ali Birand says that columnists writing for some Turkish dailies are rejoicing at the tax fine while others are afraid of standing out against it because of possible retaliation. He says: "They call secretly or only say that they support Aydin Dogan behind closed doors. They try to keep a low profile because they see that the era of obeying ruling parties has not ended and that those who attempt to take a firm stand are beheaded. You might have noticed that businessmen, including those who are members of TUSIAD no longer dare criticizing the government openly. Its critics have simply vanished. They now prefer to obey and praise the Prime Minister to the skies as they used to do in the past."
In an article entitled "Are you not sick and tired of long and narrow roads and endless pits?" in Sabah (11.09.09) columnist Mehmet Barlas ascribes current problems facing Aydin Dogan, owner of the Dogan Group, to Hurriyet's campaign against liberal views and to his mistakes, such as using columnists for attacking his rivals. He notes: "I hope that the Dogan Group will convince the Ministry of Finance to find a solution that would allow it to maintain its existence through a compromise. But, I am really tired of witnessing the same events as a result of the same mistakes despite that unpleasant experience."
In an article entitled "Distress," in Cumhuriyet (11.09.09) columnist Hikmet Cetinkaya describes the tax fine imposed on Dogan Medya Holding as a development giving rise to serious concerns. Accusing the AKP of violating the principle of the rule of law in a bid to intimidate its critics, Cetinkaya comments: "Real intellectuals, patriots, and leftists in this country raise their voices against their violations whenever they find an opportunity to do so. Neo-liberals in both North Cyprus and Turkey which were rejoiced at the Annan plan are now walking on air because of the 'Kurdish Overture' and 'relations with Armenia.' An unbelievable tax fine was imposed on the Dogan Group just at that time. They want a media acting as their mouthpiece. They want columnists who oppose them to be fired or frequently warned by their managers. Such actions can only be seen in authoritarian regimes."
In an article entitled "Aydin Dogan and the IMF," in Taraf (11.09.09) columnist Amberin Zaman points out that the fine has strengthened the argument that the new media system being designed by the Prime Minister is only intended to create an army of sycophants spreading his own propaganda. She says: "Thousands of our colleagues may lose their jobs because of an attempt to punish Aydin Dogan. If this is actually done as part of a political showdown, how could Erdogan reconcile it with his conscience on this day of holy Ramadan?"
In an article entitled "You get what you deserve", in Vakit (11.09.09) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak refers to the infliction of a major tax penalty on the Dogan Group as a development that confirms the truth of the saying, "They sow the wind, they reap the whirlwind." He recalls how the Dogan Group dailies conducted a "campaign" against Fethullah Gulen that resulted in Gulen leaving the country, how they ran headlines announcing an "all-out war" on reactionism, how they tried to "provoke military takeovers," and acted as "Trojan horses" in a "psychological war" against religious groups. He also calls on the Koc Holding Company and Republican People's Party, CHP, and Nationalist Action Party, MHP, leaders Deniz Baykal and Devlet Bahceli to draw a "lesson" from what is happening to Aydin Dogan.
In an article entitled "Punishing through inflicting tax penalties", in Bugun (11.09.09) columnist Gulay Gokturk emphasizes the "bizarreness" of trying to attribute "justice" to the tax penalty imposed on the Dogan Group by making references to the Dogan Group's earlier "sins." She asks whether there is any democracy or rule of law where basic rights and freedoms can be enjoyed only by "flawless" citizens. She also recalls how Prime Minister Erdogan called for a boycott against the Dogan Group before the Revenue Office found the Dogan Group guilty of tax evasion and warns that the tax penalty against Aydin Dogan has created the image of a prime minister "burning with revenge and trying to gag the free press."
In an article entitled "Freedom of the press," in Hurriyet Daily News (12.09.09) columnist Yusuf Kanli asserts that the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, forced the owners of various newspapers and television stations, including KanalTurk, ATV, and the Star and Sabah and Star newspapers to sell them because they were critical of the government. Describing the tax fine of 3.75 billion Turkish Liras imposed on Dogan Medya Holding as a concerted offensive against the media by the government, Kanli says: "Unfortunately, the AKP government is bulldozing freedom of the press with a "surrender or vanish" understanding. Yet, I am confident that there will be a free Turkish press when the AKP is no longer around."
In an article entitled "Confiscation," in Milliyet (12.09.09) columnist Derya Sazak says that the AKP regards the Dogan Group as his main rival preventing it from achieving its goals and is, therefore, trying to confiscate it by resorting to heavy tax fines. He adds that EU leaders are aware that freedom of the press is facing a serious threat in Turkey.
In an article entitled "Is that the way to set things right on the Media Front?" in Yeni Safak (12.09.09) columnist Kursat Bumin asserts that the major tax penalty imposed on the Dogan Media Group has caused serious suspicions of a Government effort to gag the dissident press ahead of a possible general election and other similar allegations to which the ruling AKP cannot afford to remain indifferent. He claims that reminding the public about the Dogan media's "sins" is the most improper way of trying to justify the YTL 3,7 billion fine. He also warns that such suspicions are set to undermine the Government's latest "democratic overture."
In an article entitled "If tax fines are terrorism, so are compensation cases", in Vakit (12.09.09) Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya slams Dogan media group newspapers for declaring "all-out war" on the Erdogan government in a bid to "intimidate" it into withdrawing the tax penalty against the Dogan Holding Company. He asks Dogan Group writers who criticize the penalty as a fatal blow to freedom of the press why they refrained from so much as "uttering a word" to censure an earlier court ruling against Vakit that required it to pay TL 1,3 trillion to some 312 generals in compensation for an article by Asim Yenihaber.
In an article entitled "Facts behind incidents", in Zaman (12.09.09) columnist Sahin Alpay asserts that the fact that the latest "record" tax penalty against the Dogan group followed a row between the Government and the Dogan Group and that the Erdogan administration is refraining from establishing an autonomous tax authority as demanded by the IMF is creating doubts that the Government is out to bring down the Dogan Group and use tax fines as a weapon against the press. Alpay asserts that this is only one side of the matter, adding that those criticizing the penalty as a blow to press freedoms are making no mention of how media tycoons like Aydin Dogan have used their power as a means of pressuring governments and furthering commercial interests not related to the news media business.
In an article entitled "Weak defense of press freedom for Aydin Dogan", in Today's Zaman (12.09.09) columnist Abdullah Bozkurt asserts that the Dogan Group has failed to enlist the support of other media groups for its objections to the "hefty" tax fine of $2,53 billion "precisely because of the fact that Dogan had never been hesitant to abuse his near-monopoly on power in the past to railroad rivals in the publishing industry or to launch smear campaigns against his competitors to secure his hegemonic power."
In an article in Hurriyet (13.09.09), Ferai Tinc focuses on an 11 September Radikal article by Akif Beki, Prime Minister Erdogan's former press adviser, who implied that the $2.5 billion fine was not really an issue of taxes, but the result of a political conflict between the government and the Dogan media. Tinc argues that the conflict was related to the "Lighthouse" charity scandal, and that due government pressure on the media, the scandal is no longer mentioned anywhere. All journalists are frightened, she says, and censures Beki for comparing journalists who write about the issue to "hired killers."
In his article entitled "Freedom of the Pressing for tax evasion and corruption)," in Sunday's Zaman (13.09.09) columnist Ihsan Yilmaz says: "The first thing that strikes me is that only a few people said and wrote that the issue was a matter of freedom of the press. On the contrary there is almost a consensus that media owners in Turkey have always pressed not for freedom of the press but for their economic gains, even if by unethical and even illegal means. Dogan Media Group is seen as a towering example by many in this regard."
b) On Davutoglus megalomania:
In an article entitled "FM Davutoglu should choose his words carefully," in Hurriyet Daily News (11.09.09) columnist Semih Idiz says that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu should select his words carefully correctly when he puts forward his grand foreign policy vision, since his remarks can be interpreted incorrectly in neighboring or nearby countries that used to be part of the Ottoman Empire. Drawing attention to Davutoglu's recent remarks that Turkey would be the prime mover in the establishment of a "new order" in this part of the world, Idiz comments: "I had indicated that when you highlight the country's strength, this generally connotes military strength for many, and that when you talk about being "instrumental in establishing a new order," this has imperial connotations for many in the region. I had also underlined the fact that it is precisely such remarks by Davutoglu that have resulted in him being branded as a proponent of "neo-Ottomanism," a notion that does not go down well in surrounding countries because it also suggests that Ankara has imperial designs."
c) Armenian signers request to be buried in Turkey:
A report entitled "People of Turkish origin must be granted citizenship" in Hurriyet (11.09.09) says that a group of Armenian and Turkish intellectuals will today send a joint letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, demanding that everybody who can prove that he or she is of Turkish origin should be granted Turkish citizenship and be allowed to be buried in Turkey after his or her death abroad. According to the report, the letter will be sent to Erdogan because the Turkish Government did not allow Aram Dikran, an Armenian singer and composer, to be laid to rest in Diyarbakir despite his will.