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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-12-22

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. 242/09 22.12.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] President Christofias and Mr Talat held their 58th meeting in the framework of the negotiations for solving the Cyprus problem
  • [02] An Azeri delegation is carrying out contacts in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [03] KTOS held a demonstration with puppets outside the parliament
  • [04] A new newspaper starts publishing in the occupied areas
  • [05] The so-called assembly approved the budget for 2010
  • [06] The chapter of Environment has been opened in Turkeys EU accession talks
  • [07] Statements by Turkish and EU officials after the intergovernmental conference in which the chapter of the Environment was opened in Turkeys EU negotiations
  • [08] One fifth of Turkeys population lives below poverty line
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [09] It might be true, we are crucifying the patriarch
  • [10] From the Turkish Press of 21 December 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] President Christofias and Mr Talat held their 58th meeting in the framework of the negotiations for solving the Cyprus problem

    Illegal Bayrak television (21.12.09) broadcast the following:

    TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat and the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias met again today to continue their discussions towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    The meeting was the last for this year. The two leaders will resume negotiations in the first week of January 2010. Mr. Talat and Mr. Christofias worked today on the agenda and dates of their consecutive meetings scheduled to take place next year.

    A joint statement by the two leaders was read out by the UN Secretary-Generals Good Offices Mission Coordinator, Yasser Sabra, at the end of the meeting. The leaders reconfirmed their earlier decision to intensify their efforts by meeting on the 11th, 12th, 13th and 18th, 19th and 20th of January 2010 the statement read. The two leaders also expressed their aim of reaching more convergence on Governance and Power sharing, Economy and EU matters in their intensified meetings which they agreed to hold at the residence of the UN Special Representative in the UN Protected Area.

    On the occasion of their last meeting of the year, the two leaders also extended their best wishes to both peoples on the island and expressed their strong hope that 2010 will be the year of a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    The UN Good Offices Mission Coordinator also told reporters after reading the statement that the next meeting between the two leaders will be on the 4th of January 2010 during which they will take up the issue of EU matters. He said that the special representatives of the two leaders will be meeting next week on the 28th December to set the agenda of this meeting.

    Meanwhile, speaking upon his return to the Presidential Palace, President Mehmet Ali Talat said that they had availed themselves to the invitation of the UN Special Advisor to hold the intensified meetings at the residence of the UN Special Representative due to logistical reasons.

    It has been announced earlier by President Mehmet Ali Talats Special Representative for Negotiations, Ozdil Nami that the leaders would not be hosting the intensified meetings at their residences, as previously reported.

    [02] An Azeri delegation is carrying out contacts in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (22.12.09) reports that a delegation consisting of employees of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Education is visiting the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus in order to examine the services that are offered to families and children within the framework of the Foster home care project.

    The Azeri delegation had also separate meetings with the so-called minister of foreign affairs, Mr Huseyin Ozgurgun, the so-called minister of labour and social insurances, Mr Turkay Tokel and the so-called minister of education, Mr Kemal Durust.

    (DPs)

    [03] KTOS held a demonstration with puppets outside the parliament

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (22.12.09) reports that the Cyprus Turkish Teachers Union (KTÖS) held a demonstration with puppets yesterday in front of the so-called parliament to protest against a series of practices and decisions regarding the salaries of the civil servants.

    KTOS brought in front of the parliament puppets with the pictures of the members of cabinet claiming that the will of the Turkish Cypriots is not represented in the parliament and those who serve the will of the Turkish Cypriots in the parliament are puppets.

    (DPs)

    [04] A new newspaper starts publishing in the occupied areas

    Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (22.12.09), under the title A new newspaper: Haberdar, reports that a new daily newspaper under the name Haberdar will start publishing in the occupied areas of Cyprus as of today. Haberdar will consist of 40 pages.

    The General Director of the paper is Rasih Resat and its editor in chief is Artun Gaga. Ortam reports that the number of the daily newspapers in the occupied areas of Cyprus, with the exception of the newspapers published in the English language, is increased to 13. The slogan of HABERDAR is if you do not want something to be written, do not do it and its target will be independent and cheerful news reporting.

    (AK)

    [05] The so-called assembly approved the budget for 2010

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.12.09) reports that the so-called assembly approved last night with majority the budget of the occupation regime for 2010 after a four-day debate. The budget reaches 2,645,273,043 TL.

    (DPs)

    [06] The chapter of Environment has been opened in Turkeys EU accession talks

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.12.09) reported the following from Brussels:

    Turkey has begun negotiations with the EU on 12 out of 33 chapter headings.

    The chapter heading of environment has been opened as part of Turkey's EU accession negotiations at an intergovernmental conference in Brussels.

    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, State Minister and chief negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis and Environment & Forestry Minister Veysel Eroglu represented Turkey at the meeting.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt of Sweden, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, attended the meeting on behalf of the Union.

    [07] Statements by Turkish and EU officials after the intergovernmental conference in which the chapter of the Environment was opened in Turkeys EU negotiations

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.12.09) reported the following from Brussels:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday that the European Union (EU) has gotten close to a stage of strategic decision.

    The EU will either not permit one sided declarations and approaches by seeing Turkey's pluses or sacrifice strategic pluses to political concerns, Davutoglu stressed.Speaking in a press conference after an intergovernmental conference in which the chapter heading of environment was opened as part of Turkey's EU accession negotiations on Monday, Davutoglu displayed fierce reaction to a statement made by the Greek Cypriot administration that they would block the opening of six chapters in Turkey's accession negotiations.

    We have been disappointed with a declaration made by a member state (Greek Cypriot administration) to block the opening of certain chapters with a unilateral act. Turkey is concerned by such one-sided obstacles, Davutoglu stressed.From now on, both Turkey and the EU will continue cooperation in many strategic issues. Hopefully, Turkey's membership will take place before a long time passes, Davutoglu noted.

    Turkey will continue to support the solution process in Cyprus in line with United Nations perimeters. We want to see eastern Mediterranean reach stability and peace and hope that extraordinary efforts made by the Turkish Cypriots facilitate such stability and peace, Davutoglu said.

    Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks, Egemen Bagis, in his part, said that Turkey's EU accession negotiations carry a win-win perspective.At a time when global leaders could not reach a common understanding at the UN conference on climate in Copenhagen, Turkey's convincing of 26 government institutions and 27 EU members to open negotiations on environment is a miracle, Bagis said.

    Turkey wishes to join the EU as an equal member and must complete accession negotiations with success, Bagis also said.

    Turkish Minister of Environment and Forestry, Veysel Eroglu, said that Turkey made crucial reforms in order to open the chapter on environment to negotiations with the EU.

    Turkey has gone a long way especially in fighting against air pollution, Eroglu stressed.Turkey has taken important steps in collecting waste, preservation of water reservoirs and cleanliness of sea water, Eroglu also said.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday Turkey will complete all technical requirements to facilitate visits made by Turkish citizens to the European Union (EU) countries without visa.

    Davutoglu's comments came after the EU lifted visa requirements for the citizens of Balkan countries of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia [FYROM] last week.If the EU does not lift visa requirements for Turkish citizens after we fulfill all technical requirements, this would imply double standards, Davutoglu stressed.Speaking in a press conference after an intergovernmental conference in which the chapter heading of environment was opened as part of Turkey's EU accession negotiations on Monday, Davutoglu said that Turkey supported EU's decision to lift visa requirements for the citizens of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.The EU's decision should also apply to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania, Davutoglu said.

    EU Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn said on Monday whether or not the European Union (EU) will become a global player will be tested by its treatment style of Turkey.

    Speaking in a press conference after an intergovernmental conference in which the chapter heading of environment was opened as part of Turkey's EU accession negotiations on Monday, Rehn said that since 1999, when Turkey was given the stature of candidate country, Turkey's EU process lived through ups and, since 2004-2005, the process experienced downs.

    The years of downs ended in the recent past and stability has been reached. Turkey's EU process began again an ups trend with the establishment of a strong base, Rehn stressed.

    It was known that the process would have ups and downs. What is crucial is to preserve strategic approach and for Turkey to continue reforms to strengthen basic freedoms, rule of law and other EU values and standards, Rehn said.

    The way the EU treats Turkey would be a test for the EU to find out if it will be a global player or not, Rehn noted.

    The opening of the chapter on environment to negotiations show that Turkey's EU train is moving forward, Rehn also said.

    The EU term president Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, in his part, said that Turkey's accession negotiations reached a more demanding level.

    We need more comprehensive and well-qualified reforms (in Turkey), Bildt said.Pointing out the importance of the democratic move in Turkey, Bildt said that the closure of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) by the Turkish Constitutional Court did cause some concern but he believed that Turkey would continue to make reforms on the way to the EU.

    As the debate on Turkey continues in the EU public opinion, the strategic importance of Turkey's accession process is understood better, Bildt said.As the EU became a more assertive union, membership to the union became tougher when compared to 10-20 years ago. Further democratization and continuation of reforms are crucial for Turkey's (membership) process, Bildt said.Rehn and Bildt wore pins displaying the flags of Turkey and the EU side by side during the press conference in Brussels.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis and Minister of Environment and Forestry Veysel Eroglu later departed from Brussels following the intergovernmental conference in which the chapter heading of environment was opened as part of Turkey's EU accession negotiations and the press conference.

    With the chapter on environment, 12 chapters out of 33 have been opened for Turkey's EU accession negotiations.

    [08] One fifth of Turkeys population lives below poverty line

    Istanbul Bianet News Centre (21.12.09) reported the following:

    According to a research carried out by The Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK), the total income of the wealthiest 20 percent of the Turkish population is 8 times higher than the earnings of the poorest part of the population. As reported in the Income and Living Conditions Research , 20.6 percent of the population is living below the poverty line, 18 percent live under the risk of poverty.

    The income difference is most significant between Istanbul with the highest per capita income of 11,454 TL (¬ 5,200), and 3,591 TL (¬ 1600) the South-East of the country as the region with the lowest income.

    One out of two people have a dept, as revealed by the research, one in four people of the people in dept have difficulty to pay their obligations.

    Seven out of ten people are not able to pay for a 1-week holiday, unexpected expenses or the replacement of worn-out furniture.

    The research is based on data from the year 2007. The data revealed the following aspects:

    * 60.8 percent of the population lives in their own homes.

    * 39.1 percent of all privately-owned homes have problems such as leaking roofs, damp walls, rotten window frames etc.

    * In 39.8 percent of all homes heating is an issue due to insufficient isolation

    * 55.5 percent of all households have to pay dept or installments. Of the people in dept, one out of four people cause a severe burden for the household they are living in.

    According to the research, the share of income from wages within the total income decreased by 1 percent and the rate of social benefits increased by 0.4 percent. The social benefits almost entirely consist of retirement payments and benefits for widows and orphans.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [09] It might be true, we are crucifying the patriarch

    Under the above title, Hurriyet Daily News (21.12.09) publishes the following commentary by Mehmet Ali Birand:

    I dont agree with Foreign Minister Davutoglu. The patriarch is right. The state, with its ignorance of a Turkish institution for 38 years, has not been able to keep its word and has crucified the patriarch.

    No offense, but the culture and custom of crucifying exists in our state. It did not only apply it to the Patriarchate but also to its citizens and institutions, and it continues to do so.

    For those who dont know, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew is a leader who is followed by millions of Orthodox people from all over the world and one who holds the international status of a patriarch in the heart of a Muslim country. And we, who are supposed to be proud of this, underestimate it by calling him a patriarch based in Istanbuls Fener neighborhood.

    As if we are asked or allowed to make a decision. Even if we dont accept his ecumenical presence, Bartholomew is one of the most important religious functionaries living in Istanbul. His international influence is enormous and he can immediately reach any person he wishes to reach. He is a leader for who millions of people get in line to kiss his hand.

    This country has lived with conspiracy theories for many years. The Patriarchate has been viewed as an institution that sneaks plans about dividing Turkey so Greece can invade the country anew. (!) When his ecumenical presence is accepted, people thought the Christians would create a Vatican in Turkey. This absurd theory was supported by the state, military and some nationalists.

    Subtitle: AKP's promises...

    The AKP was the first to object. After Tayyip Erdogan came to power, relations with the patriarch went back to normal. He often met with the patriarch and promised to work and actually did work on a solution for the Halki seminary, which persists since 1971.

    Bartholomews problem with Turkey, and maybe the sole problem, is not being able to open up the Halki seminary. Because this seminary cannot be reopened, no religious functionary could be placed in Istanbul for 38 years now. The patriarch wastes away with each passing day. Turkey is forced to import external religious functionaries for the 15 to 20 churches in the country. The danger arises of leaving the Patriarchate in the hands of externally educated Orthodox religious functionaries.

    Please be informed that the Sen Sinod, which is considered the parliament of the Patriarch, is in danger. It will not be able to gather after a while because the number of religious functionaries who are Turkish citizens is decreasing progressively. To bridge the gap, we import religious functionaries from Greece and engage in deception to naturalize them in Turkey.

    Besides, the Halki seminary was closed in 1971 only to link other religious colleges to universities, even though it was not a private college. Other colleges that were closed at that time were linked to universities and continued on their path, but the Halki seminary never reopened. Despite the Treaty of Lausanne and despite it being a minority right, we ignored our own signature. It could have been reopened as a religious occupation school connected to the Ministry of National Education. We did not reopen it.

    For years, we waited for a response from Greece. We kept the Halki seminary hostage, trying to force the acceptance of western Thrace muftis being elected by the people.

    This is our shame in respect to the patriarch. A great injustice. A great despotism. This is the logic of interchange. And Erdogan was the one to oppose this. I have witnessed it.

    The AKPs Education Minister Huseyin Celik in his innumerous statements said, Leave it up to me and Ill reopen it in 24 hours. He repeated persistently that this is a great injustice done to the patriarch.

    Subtitle: This logic wont lead us anywhere

    So why cant it be reopened? All pious forces resist. And now we hear the same reasons: There is no mosque in Athens... western Thrace muftis are appointed by the state... why should we in this case please the patriarch?

    The Patriarchate is our own institution. And the patriarch is a Turkish citizen. The Halki seminary will educate Turkish citizens and be wholly under the supervision of the Ministry of Education.

    Those in western Thrace are all Greek citizens. And as citizens of Europe, they are in a position to pursue their rights. The patriarch asks, Is it my fault that there are no mosques in Athens or that muftis are appointed by the Greek state?

    Now thats where the interchange logic surfaces. The logic is, they pressure me and Ill pressure them. Whereas the one pressured is one of us, our own citizen, and the Patriarchate belongs to us. Instead of taking good care, we push it around. Bartholomew is a well-respected and cautious person.

    He always took great care to get along with the administration, always praising Turkey abroad and acting like a Turkish citizen. He never ever used the immense religious power on hand.

    Subtitle: Can we expect them to understand us?

    If today he says in daily Haberturk and on the American CBS television, Enough now. I feel crucified I have no choice but to take this matter to the European Court of Human Rights, then we need to pay attention.

    The patriarch calls out to Ankara and to the prime minister, who he perceives as his friend. Please save me, he says. He wants us to keep our word, which was given years ago. Turkey wont gain from crucifying the patriarch. On the contrary, wed be humiliated. But if it did the opposite and reopened the Halki seminary, it would provide Ankara with unbelievable prestige, which doesnt cost much. And those who criticize Turkey before Europe would shut up. Turkey would claim its minorities, and understand its Christian citizens.

    If we dont understand other religions, how can we expect Europe to understand Islam? I am confused. How come the prime minister cannot keep his word? Cannot overcome pious circles? Cannot show the same amount of courage he showed in the Kurdish and Armenian initiatives? Lets finally listen to Bartholomew. Otherwise, lets not get angry if he goes before the European Court of Human Rights.

    [10] From the Turkish Press of 21 December 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 21 December 2009:

    a) The Kurdish issue in the aftermath of DTP closure:

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News, Soner Cagaptay writes that "how the Turkish government deals with the rising violence associated with the Kurdish problem might make or break Turkey," adding that "it will take an individualistic, European approach to deescalate the violence, as well as resolve the Kurdish issue to the benefit of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Turkey as a whole." The writer advises the government to break the Kurdish impasse by increasing the rights of all Turkish citizens regardless of ethnicity or religion.

    Focusing on the way the EU and the United States view the Kurdish overture and the subsequent developments in an article in Sabah, Omer Taspinar writes that given the Cyprus issue, the negative stands of Sarkozy and Merkel, and the recent minaret referendum in Switzerland, it was only the leftist, socialist, and the green parties of Europe that had anything positive so say about Turkey, adding that the closure of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) has crippled the only friends Turkey had in Europe and has dealt a heavy blow on Turkey's EU accession process. Taspinar adds: "The nationalist and coupists enemies of the EU in Turkey are now one step closer to their goals. While handing serious trump cards to our enemies in the EU, we have also surpassed ourselves in rendering impossible the lobbying of our friends in our favor." Assessing Washington's perspective on the issue, Taspinar says that although the official line is full of clichés claiming that the DTP closure is Turkey's domestic issue, Washington is well aware that the Kurdish problem is Turkey's most serious problem and that the issue is not limited to one of terror alone. The United States is therefore supportive of the government on the Kurdish overture, maintains Taspinar, arguing that the opposition parties' exploitation of the issue explains why Washington does not look warmly upon the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP).

    There are two alternatives in front of Turkey with regards to the Kurdish overture, writes Ismet Berkan in an article in Radikal, adding that one is to consider Ocalan and the PKK as interlocutors and to negotiate the conditions for peace and a solution with them and the other is to continue to ignore Ocalan and the PKK and to unilaterally advance the democratization process in the hope that the PKK will, in time, lose its supporters and become marginalized. Noting that the government is not even considering the first alternative, Berkan adds that, however, the Kurdish overture process has clearly shown us that Ocalan has gained its past influence. At the risk of sounding very pessimistic, the writer also raises the possibility that "the democratization process can be viewed by the Kurds as the success/gain of the PKK" and that the PKK, instead of becoming marginalized might be further strengthened.

    In an interview with Milliyet's Devrim Sevimay, Koksal Sonmez, former undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) comments on the democratic overture process, the stand of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) toward the overture, the need for the PKK and Abdullah Ocalan to make up their mind about the solution of the problem, the need to conduct secret talks, and the killing of 33 soldiers in Bingol in 1993.

    Yeni Safak publishes an interview entitled "Ocalan did not have advance information about the Bingol attack" with journalist Cengiz Candar, who responds to such questions as whether he sees similarities between the killing of some 33 soldiers in Bingol in 1993 and the recent terrorist attack in the Resadiye district of Tokat, where Turkey stands in the process started by the Government's "democratic overture," what he thinks will happen following Democratic Society Party (DTP) deputies' decision to return to Parliament at the urging of their voters and in response to "Abdullah Ocalan's warnings." Candar asserts that the Resadiye attack may have been engineered by foreign forces as part of a bid to create ethnic unrest in Turkey so as to prevent this country from pressing ahead with its efforts to establish economic integration with Iraq and Syria, democratize its government structures, and redefine its relations with Israel.

    In an article entitled "What Europe should say to the DTP about its alliance with the CHP-MHP duo", Zaman's Brussels correspondent Selcuk Gultasli calls on the EU to ask the DTP why it is aligning itself with the CHP and the MHP by opposing the AKP's democratic initiative, why it is promoting the PKK's efforts to create widespread domestic chaos in the name of protesting Ocalan's prison conditions, and whether it is actually struggling for Kurdish rights or freedoms or trying to have a convict recognized as a terrorist leader by the EU released from prison.

    In an article entitled "Religion and piety factors in the democratic overture", Zaman columnist Ali Bulac argues that the current polarization in the process initiated by the Government's democratic overture, where the PKK and the DTP appear to be Ankara's "only [Kurdish] counterparts," nationalists and neo-nationalists represented by the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and the Republican People's Party (CHP) are positioned "on the other side," and the ruling AKP is "stuck in between the two," is a result of the Erdogan government's failure to seek the support of Muslim intellectuals for its efforts to address the southeast problem. He also asserts that "the biggest obstacle facing the democratic overture" is a tendency on the part of "liberal democrats" not to see Islam a "socio-political" force and to represent the Kurdish problem as an exclusively political issue in which religion should not be involved.

    Under the headline, "Key to the overture: Islam," Milli Gazete carries a report which asserts that the efforts to exploit the southeast issue as a means of destabilizing Turkey through a civil war will fail "no matter how many provocations may be staged for this purpose" because ethnic wars have never taken place in Muslim countries. The report also criticizes the way the democratic overture process is being conducted on a "secular" basis and asserts that "brotherhood of the pious" would serve as a better rallying cry for Turks and Kurds than "brotherhood of the peoples" because Turks and Kurds have been "religious brothers" for 1000 years.

    b) Turkish-Armenian normalization process:

    The longer the shelf life of the Turkish-Armenian protocols, the more difficult to attain the normalization desired by the two countries, writes Kadir Gursel in an article in Milliyet. Noting that the road map of the normalization process depends on the endorsement of the protocols without delay, Gursel claims that the mistake of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) diplomacy was not to have predicted the harsh reaction of Baku to the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border. However, Prime Minister Erdogan's linkage of the normalization process to the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem during his visit to Baku in May was even a greater mistake, claims Gursel, adding: "Now, in Yerevan one can feel the tension and unease the 'Nagorno-Karabakh condition' has created. It is being stressed in Yerevan that Armenia will not soften its position on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh even if it really wants to in order not to create the impression that it is making concession to Baku as a result of Turkish pressure. The linkage between the normalization process and the Karabakh problem is viewed as being tantamount to pushing both issues to an impasse." Armenian officials who have talked to Gursel off the record during the writer's visit to Yerevan say that if Turkey does not endorse the protocols by March, Armenia will withdraw its signatures from the protocols and end the process.

    Taraf's Markar Esayan who has been attending a round table meeting on the Turkish-Armenian dialogue and the rapprochement process organized by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) the Caucasus Institute, and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Fund in Yerevan writes that the joint conviction of Armenian officials he has talked to is that if the protocols are not endorsed by the Turkish parliament by March 2010, the normalization process will collapse, that Armenia will withdraw its signature from the protocols, and that it will opt for going ahead with its own preconditions such as the recognition of the Armenian genocide claims. The writer goes on to note that all Armenian officials he has talks to, including those who support the normalization process, maintain that the Turkish precondition of the Karabakh issue is "extremely wrong and insincere." Arguing that Iran has filled in the vacuum created by Turkey's foreign policy ineptitude and the 20-year-long absence of relations, Esayan writes that Armenians as grateful to Iran and Georgia as they are angry and distrustful of Turkey.

    EG/


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