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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-01-04

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. 01/10 01-04.01.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Davutoglu calls on the Islamic Development Bank to allocate higher funds for the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [02] 2nd Ambassadors Conference to begin on Monday in Turkey. Cyprus issue on agenda
  • [03] Statements by Talat and Eroglu at occupied Kalopsida
  • [04] Afrika writes that the stance of the Turkish side and all its conditions are determined by Ankara during the negotiations
  • [05] Soyer expressed his conviction that Turkey will not interfere in the elections in the occupied areas of Cyprus in April
  • [06] Serdar Denktas stated that his party will decide in January on the candidate it will support for the presidential election
  • [07] The Association for the Protection of the TRNC, announced that it will support Dervis Eroglu for the forthcoming presidential elections
  • [08] Ozgurgun says the representation office of the breakaway regime in Bahrain will start operating in the first days of 2010
  • [09] First step taken in dream project to carry water to N. Cyprus
  • [10] Information about the schools operating in the occupied areas
  • [11] Yeni Duzen reports that 124 migrants entered illegally in the occupied areas of Cyprus in 2009
  • [12] Turkey's net foreign debt stock announced as $145.8 Billion in third quarter at 2009
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] From the Turkish Press of 31/12/09-01, 02 and 03/01/10

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Davutoglu calls on the Islamic Development Bank to allocate higher funds for the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak television (02.01.10) broadcast the following:

    Turkeys Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who is continuing his contacts in Saudi Arabia, has urged the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to allocate higher bursary funds for the TRNC [occupied areas of Cyprus].

    His call came during his meeting with IDB Head Ahmad Muhammed Ali.

    According to the Anatolia News Agency, during the meeting, officials took up Turkeys planned railway project worth some 400 million dollars and discussed ways to activate and step up joint projects of the IDB and the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) in Islamic countries and the Balkans.

    Officials also agreed on the establishment of a committee to boost efforts for raising the standard of living in the Balkans for Muslim communities.

    Davutoglu is holding contacts in Saudi Arabia as guest of the Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud Al Faysal.

    [02] 2nd Ambassadors Conference to begin on Monday in Turkey. Cyprus issue on agenda

    TRT Turkish State TV channel (03.01.10) broadcast the following:

    Around 200 ambassadors are going to convene in the capital to take up 2010 perspectives of Turkish foreign policy.

    Turkish Foreign Ministry will hold 2nd Ambassadors Conference this week in Ankara under the chairmanship of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in order to consider priorities of Turkish foreign policy in 2010, with participation of around two hundred Turkish ambassadors.

    Democracy, peace and stability will be considered by Turkeys foreign policy executives while high representatives of related institutions will discuss second track diplomacy at workshops.

    German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim and Japanese foreign minister Katsuya Okada will also attend the Conference as spokespersons. President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmud Abbas, is expected to pay a visit to Ankara this week and to attend the conference.

    Foreign Minister Davutoglu says Turkish diplomacy will focus on the big picture, not crisis points through 2010.

    Minister Davutoglu defined the basic objectives of Turkey as further enhanced relations with neighboring countries, a positive momentum in the EU Accession Process through removing current obstacles, ensuring a comprehensive and lasting resolution in Cyprus, normalization and stabilization of the Caucasus in a broader sense, and securing peace and stability in the Balkans by means of transatlantic institutions, the NATO and the EU.

    In addition, under the title The Cyprus problem on Ankaras agenda again, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (04.01.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, was invited to Ankara in order to discuss the Cyprus problem. The paper writes that the fact that Mehmet Ali Talat was invited to Ankara is an indication that the Cyprus problem will come on the agenda this week. The invitation crisis which occurred last month, and the rift between Talat and Eroglu, which is growing, will be discussed during the meeting.

    Talat, who preferred not to go to Ankara at that time, is now expected to hold high level talks. The Cyprus negotiations will be on the agenda of the meeting. In addition, during the meeting the steps to be taken will be examined so that the difference of opinion between Talat and the TRNC government do not get bigger.

    (CS)

    [03] Statements by Talat and Eroglu at occupied Kalopsida

    Illegal Bayrak television (03.01.10) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, has said that the negotiations process will continue in 2010 and they will work to overcome the obstacles in the way of a solution in Cyprus.

    His remarks came during a gathering in occupied Kalopsida village yesterday.Stressing that 2010 should be a year of a solution, Mr Talat said the Cyprus problem concerns people both in Cyprus and in the whole region.

    Non-solution is not a good thing, Turkey is supporting the negotiations process with determination. The Turkish side is in control of the negotiations process, and we do not allow anyone to impose proposals on us, he added.

    Explaining that in the coming days, the negotiations will be carried out in two sittings for three days each, he said that the aim was to solve the Cyprus problem and the solution will be reached by protecting the vital interests of the Turkish Cypriots.Responding to a question concerning the Archbishop Chrysostomos statements in which he said that the church will reject any agreement including the illegal settlers, Mr Talat said that the negotiations are being carried out on the negotiation table and people concerned with the negotiations can have different views.

    Everyone knows that the church leadership does not want a solution, but we know that it is necessary to reach a solution in Cyprus and we are working in this direction he said.

    Also speaking at the event, self-styled prime minister Dervis Eroglu spoke about intransigence of the Greek Cypriots and said it seems that 2010 will pass with negotiations.

    He also called on the international community to become aware of the intransigent attitude of the Greek Cypriot side and end the embargoes on the occupied by Turkish troops areas of Cyprus.

    He went on to say that it is the governments duty to strengthen the economy in the occupied area while the negotiations process is continuing.

    [04] Afrika writes that the stance of the Turkish side and all its conditions are determined by Ankara during the negotiations

    Under the title Does the people swallow the solution fear? Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (04.01.10) reports in its first page that while a short period of time remained until the presidential elections, neither Talat nor Eroglu announced their candidacy and notes the following: Talats supporters are trying to spread the fear that if Eroglu is elected he will prevent the negotiation process, as if this process is not an initiative of Ankara. The paper goes on and writes that despite the fact that everybody knows that the stance of the Turkish side and all its conditions are determined by Ankara during the negotiations, for the solution of the Cyprus problem, the Turkish Cypriots are mislead with allegations that if Eroglu comes into power he will act against the will of Turkey and will prevent the negotiation process, contrary to Ankara.

    The Turkish side did not put on the negotiation table anything against the will of Ankara up to today, and it will not do anything like this in the future Neither Talat nor Eroglu would do such a thing. Those who describe Talat as pro-solution and Eroglu as against the solution do not realize the political game of AnkaraBoth Talat and Eroglu are the mouthpiece of Ankara, writes the paper.

    (CS)

    [05] Soyer expressed his conviction that Turkey will not interfere in the elections in the occupied areas of Cyprus in April

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.01.10) reports that Ferdi Sabit Soyer, leader of the Republican Turkish Party United Forces (CTP-BG) has said that they prefer the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat as candidate in the presidential elections, which will take place in April 2010 in the occupied areas of Cyprus and they are working in this direction. In statements to Kibris, Mr Soyer noted that their wish is for Talat to participate in the elections as common candidate of the society and be elected with the support of the people.

    Asked whether Turkey might interfere in the elections, Mr Soyer said he does believe that such a thing could happen. He argued that they experienced three elections, in 2005 and 2006 and on 19 April 2009, without any interference. It seems that those who make continuously this call and this discussion expect for interferences to take place, but interference in their favor, he added.

    Asked to mention the events that caused him the most sorrow and joy in 2009, Mr Soyer said that he was rejoiced the most from the birth of his two grandsons and he was saddened the most from the approval of the Lisbon Treaty in the absence of the Turkish Cypriots.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Serdar Denktas stated that his party will decide in January on the candidate it will support for the presidential election

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.01.10) publishes statements of the chairman of the Democratic Party, Serdar Denktas, who said, inter alia, that 2009 was not a positive year for the Turkish Cypriots and added that the National Unity Party (UBP) of Dervis Eroglu was not able to solve the problems left by the previous government. Mr Denktas, who said that UBP was lucky in the previous year, and managed to win the election without making any effort, said that 2009 was not a very good year for his party and added that DP started to work for the presidential and the municipal elections to be held in the occupied areas in 2010. He also stated that his party will decide in January on the candidate it will support for the presidential election.

    (CS)

    [07] The Association for the Protection of the TRNC, announced that it will support Dervis Eroglu for the forthcoming presidential elections

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.01.10) reports that the The Association for the Protection of the TRNC, announced that it will support Dervis Eroglu for the forthcoming presidential elections to be held in the occupied areas of Cyprus in April 2010. According to the paper, the Association announced its support towards the candidate of the National Unity Party (UBP) Dervis Eroglu, who supports two separate states, two people, and two separate democracies for his Cyprus policy, despite the fact that Mr Eroglu did not declare that he will be a candidate yet.

    (CS)

    [08] Ozgurgun says the representation office of the breakaway regime in Bahrain will start operating in the first days of 2010

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (02.01.10) reports that the self-styled foreign minister Huseyin Ozgurgun has said the representation office of the breakaway regime in Bahrain will start operating in the first days of 2010.

    In statements to the illegal TAK news agency on the occasion of the New Year, Mr Ozgurgun claimed that in 2010 they will continue to support the negotiations for reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem, but they will never give concessions from their red lines.

    Mr Ozgurgun argued that the desired progress was not achieved on the Cyprus problem in 2009 and alleged that in the end of the year the solution is as far as it was in the beginning of 2009.

    Referring to the targets of his ministry for 2010, Ozgurgun said that besides the negotiations regarding the Cyprus problem, they will continue their efforts for strengthening the representation offices of the breakaway regime abroad and for opening new ones. In this framework, he added, the representation office in Bahrain will start its operation in the first days of 2010.

    (I/Ts)

    [09] First step taken in dream project to carry water to N. Cyprus

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (01.01.10) reports the following:

    The preliminary tender for a project to transport water to northern Cyprus via a system of underwater pipelines from Alakopru Dam in Mersins Anamur district has been completed.

    The plan, which is called the dream project and is the first of its kind in the world, is aiming to carry 75 million cubic meters of water annually from the Dragon River to Gecitkoy Dam near Girne [occupied Keryneia] through a pipeline 78 kilometers in length. Around 15 million cubic meters of this water will be used as tap water, whereas the remaining 60 million cubic meters will be designated for irrigation purposes.

    The manager of the State Waterworks Authority (DS0) 6th Region, Numan Dogan Gunduz, told the Anatolia news agency that the project has been in the planning stages for more than 11 years. The construction of Alakopru Dam will commence in 2010, Gunduz noted. First proposed in 1998, the Alarko company won the tender for the project.

    [10] Information about the schools operating in the occupied areas

    Under the title One teacher for eleven students, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.01.10) reports about the number of the students and the teachers in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The paper, which cites information it received from the self-styled ministry of national education, writes that a total of 174 schools operate in occupied Cyprus, 21 of which are private and 153 of which are public schools. In the private schools there are 5.600 students while in public schools there are 37.586 students. In total there are 4.370 teachers in the occupied areas for 43.186 students.

    (CS)

    [11] Yeni Duzen reports that 124 migrants entered illegally in the occupied areas of Cyprus in 2009

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (03.01.10) reports that 124 migrants and refugees entered illegally in the occupied areas of Cyprus in 2009. The paper notes that 104 of these illegal migrants were Syrians, 1 Egyptian, 1 Pakistani, 6 Palestinians and 14 Iraqis. Many of them succeeded to cross over from the occupied areas to the government controlled areas of the island without being arrested by the police, notes the paper adding that a decrease was observed in the number of the illegal migrants in comparison to 2008, when 666 migrants entered illegally in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Most of the 124 migrants (107) entered in the occupied part of Cyprus from the area of Trikomo, 13 from Famagusta and 6 from Morfou.

    (I/Ts.)

    [12] Turkey's net foreign debt stock announced as $145.8 Billion in third quarter at 2009

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (31.12.09) reports the following:

    Turkey's net foreign debt stock has become 145.8 billion U.S. dollars in the third quarter of 2009 (July-August-September).

    A statement by the Turkish Treasury Undersecretariat said on Thursday that net foreign debt stock was 151.5 billion U.S. dollars at the end of 2008.

    Turkey's gross foreign debt stock has become 273.5 billion U.S. dollars in the third quarter of 2009. The figure was 268.6 billion U.S. dollars in the second quarter of this year (April-May-June).


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] From the Turkish Press of 31/12/09 - 01,02 and 03/01/10

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 31/12/09-01, 02 and 03/01/10:

    Assessment of the year 2009 and prospects for 2010

    Thousands of suits have been filed against press members according to Article 285 of the Turkish Penal Code for violating the confidentiality of the Ergenekon investigation, explains Sedat Ergin in an article in Hurriyet (31.12.09) and argues that if the courts decide in favor of conviction, 2010 may become a "black year" for the Turkish press. Emphasizing that Article 285 also contradicts Article 10 of the European Human Rights Charter, Ergin calls for the amendment of this article. Recalling that journalist Samil Tayyar was sentenced to a prison term of one year and three months for violating the confidentiality of the Ergenekon investigation in his book, Ergin praises Erdogan's statement to the effect that the government will make the necessary amendments for preventing journalists from being sentenced for expressing their views in their articles and books.

    Arguing that the changes that Erdogan has been making in the Justice and Development Party (AKP) may be sign of early elections in 2010, in Hurriyet (31.12.09) Sukru Kucuksahin notes that the assessments made in the party and the polls show that unemployment and the Kurdish overture are the two basic issues that will determine the results of the next elections. Given that the results of the polls are not very bright where these two issues are concerned, further importance is attached to the unity of the party, says Kucuksahin and emphasizes that the AKP will have to cross critical thresholds in 2010. The stand that will be adopted by the AKP members who oppose the Kurdish overture is important, notes Kucuksahin and emphasizes that the latest operations against the Assembly of Communities of Kurdistan, KCK, merely aims to erase the effect created with the return of the PKK members from northern Iraq. Also drawing attention to the congress that will be held by the Republican People's Party, CHP, Kucuksahin stresses that the message that will be issued by the congress will also be decisive in terms of the movement established by Mustafa Sarigul.

    Noting that in 2009 Prime Minister Erdogan has increased his popularity both at home and abroad, Mehmet Ali Birand, in his article in Hurriyet Daily News (31.12.09) asserts that this year Abdullah Ocalan has also made "part of the Turkish public understand that he is the head addressee when it comes to the Kurdish issue and PKK matters." Birand adds that Fetullah Gulen has also become more influential in 2009.

    Predicting the developments in 2010, in Sabah (31.12.09) Okan Muderrisoglu asserts that "widening the democratic area" will constitute the priority item on the agenda next year. The ties with the United States will also be important in 2010, says Muderrisoglu and says: "The United States will withdraw its troops from Iraq. It will intensify the pressure on Iran. It will put emphasis on the normalization of the ties between Armenia and Turkey. Under such circumstances the management of the balance of mutual interests will become important." Muderrisoglu describes Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's visit to Turkey on 17 January as vital in terms of unmanned air vehicle support for the war on terrorism and the solution of the problems along the Palestinian-Syrian line. As for the domestic issues, the importance of the summit that will be held by President Gul on 5 January will be measured according to its contribution to the accord among the institutions and the course of the National Unity Project will develop according to whether the former DTP and the new BDP deputies will be able to move away from Imrali."

    In an article entitled "Let 2010 prove a good year", in Yeni Safak (01.01.10) columnist Fehmi Koru asserts that 2010 could see the dissolution of Turkey's "deep state," a criminal network that he claims has stained Turkey's recent history by staging political assassinations and domestic disturbances. He asserts that those who expect the Government's democratization agenda to result in "civilian-military conflict" might be in for a surprise in the form of "harmony" between the political authority and the TSK in the same way as those who hope that the Kurdish, Armenian, and Alevi initiatives will lead to tension and civil war, or overwhelming traumas, or sectarian unrest are likely to be "disappointed" in their expectations

    In an article entitled "2010: The year when history will pass judgment" in Zaman (01.01.10) columnist Mumtazer Turkone holds "gangs established for the purpose of seizing state power by people whom we entrust with weapons for defense of the country" responsible for "whatever sufferings or losses we have experienced in the past two centuries." He claims that 2010 is likely to see the Ergenekon investigation go a long way toward enabling Turkey to effectively "consign putschists who use the illustrious past of an honorable military as a cover for activities intended to foment discord ... to the dustbin of history," adding that "it is our duty to help restore the army's good name by purging it of remnants of janisarries."

    In an article entitled "The fortune for 2010," in Hurriyet Daily News (01.01.10) columnist Mehmet Ali Birand makes an assessment of major events witnessed in 2009 and speculates about possible developments in 2010, predicting that the Turkish Government will push forward with its plan to find a solution to the Kurdish question while the PKK will put up stronger resistance and carry out attacks.

    In an article entitled "An assessment of the situation," in Hurriyet (01.01.10) columnist Oktay Eksi criticizes the Government for failing to keep its promises and addressing major issues in 2009. He also notes that there has been no significant progress in the ongoing investigations into alleged plots devised by some groups within the military.

    In an article entitled "Welcome 2010!" in Milliyet (01.01.10) columnist Taha Akyol predicts that Turkey relations with Armenia and the Cyprus question will be the main challenges facing Turkey in 2010. Pointing out that Turkey will come under pressure to have the protocols signed with Armenia ratified by the Turkish Parliament and to open up its ports to Cypriot ships, Akyol comments: "I am pretty concerned about those two issues. But, I am not expecting a tragedy because Turkey is not alone in the world. Turkey has strengthened its connections in both the Middle East and in the region comprising Afghanistan and Pakistan. Every Western government which intends to put pressure on Turkey regarding the protocols and ports cannot ignore Turkey's key role in those most critical parts of the world."

    In an article entitled "2010 will also pass rapidly, but how?" in Milliyet (01.01.09) columnist Hasan Cemal says that Turkey will continue to cope with what he describes as the "military problem" in 2010 along with some other issues, including the Kurdish problem. He says: "The military problem stems from the military's conviction that it is a government within the government in Turkey. Soldiers are educated in line with that conviction. They have a mentality shaped by that approach and they live in a separate legal system. The military problem would not end so long as the military believe that they are above the law and elected governments and the way they are educated and their mentality and laws are not changed in the same way as we see in first-class democracies."

    In an article entitled "A year of facing realities," in Sabah (01.01.10) columnist Mahmut Ovur says that 2009 was characterized by a painful process of transformation in Turkey which, he notes, was resisted by people trying to preserve the status quo. He says: "Although it seems on the surface that President Abdullah Gul's prediction that 'good things would happen' which he made at the outset of the year did not materialize, Turkey has actually opened the path to leading to 'good things' by coming facing up to its past which indicates that we can be more optimistic about the future on the first day of 2010. I hope that 2010 will be a year when democratic steps for finding a solution are taken."

    In an entitled "Overtures postponed to 2010," in Vatan (01.01.10) columnist Rusen Cakir writes about the factors which, he notes, have hindered the Turkish Government's efforts to find a solution to the Kurdish issue, to meet the expectations of the Alevi community, and to normalize relations with Armenia. He points out that there are not encouraging signs indicating that there will be progress in those areas in 2010.

    In an article entitled "Gul's is a voice of reason, but is anyone listening?" in Hurriyet Daily News (01.01.10) columnist Semih Idiz says that major domestic and foreign issues that dominated 2009 will probably remain unsolved due to what he describes as deep animosity between the Government and the opposition. Pointing out that this situation is deeply disturbing and frustrating to President Abdullah Gul who, he notes, frequently tries to set common goals and guidelines for politicians to follow in order to overcome existing problems, Idiz concludes by saying: "It is clear that President Gul is exhorting politicians to look from a broader perspective on the issues that are dominating the public's attention at the present time. In doing so he is representing the voice of reason. But is anyone listening?"

    In an article entitled "The situation looks gloomy at the outset of 2010," in Radikal (01.01.10) columnist Mehmet Ali Kislali argues that Turkey's existing problems have aggravated since Gul's election as President because he appointed the people close to the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, to key positions in various agencies and establishments. He comments: "Endorsing the AKP Government's mistakes either by approving them or remaining silent, Gul shifted its attention to an area in which Erdogan takes close interest probably due to that reason and set a new record by making 55 trips to other countries and 39 trips at home within two years."

    In an article entitled "We feel sorry for those who saw their axis shifted," in Yeni Safak (02.01.10) columnist Hakan Albayrak says that Turkey let itself to be used for what he describes as "abominable interests of the lords of the international system" in the past, but changed its foreign policy in 2009. Pointing out that moves made by Turkey in 2009 made it very unlikable from the standpoint of the West, Albayrak notes: "But, they also made it extremely charismatic. Turkey was a guard responsible for preserving a balance struck by the West. It is now striking a new balance while taking a firm stand against the West and taking care not to burn the bridges with it."

    Under the headline "Government to forge ahead with Kurdish initiative in 2010," Today's Zaman says that the Turkish Government is resolute in its plans to bring about a conclusion to the long-standing Kurdish question through a massive democratization package in 2010 and it is working on a new roadmap to win the support of the opposition parties. It also says that the Government is also planning to replace the coordinator of the Kurdish initiative, Interior Minister Besir Atalay, with a more proactive figure from the Cabinet to give some impetus to the plans.

    Predicting that the year 2010 will be a very difficult one for the AKP in an article in Milliyet (02.01.10), Taha Akyol quotes, Ibrahim Uslu, president of the ANAR survey company, who says that only 80 percent of those who voted for the AKP are still loyal to the party, but that part of those voters are with the AKP just because they see no other alternative. The effects of the global crisis, unemployment, and the tension created by the "Kurdish overture" are the most serious problems that the AKP will be facing this year, writes Akyol, detailing Uslu's prediction for the AKP strategy: "Uslu's 'prediction' is realistic, namely to evacuate Qandil in the summer of 2010 and to hold elections in the autumn. They are attaching extraordinary importance to evacuating Qandil and to putting an end to terror." Noting that the most important issue in the government's relations with Syria, north Iraq, and the United States is the evacuation of Qandil, Akyol notes that even if this is not realized, the AKP will still emerge as the number one party with a serious decline in the number of its votes.

    Viewing the overtures initiated by the government on the Armenian, Kurdish, and Cyprus issues in 2009 in an article in Milliyet (02.01.10), Sami Kohen predicts that the government will be hard pressed to continue these processes given the obstacles in front of these overtures. Noting that the linkage of the Armenian overture to the Karabakh issue might cause the Turkish-Armenian protocols to be shelved, Kohen predicts that this overture might turn into a stillborn baby. Talat's failure in the elections to be held in April in north Cyprus might block the Cyprus overture, claims Kohen, adding the active involvement of the EU in the Cyprus talks and its possible insistence that Turkey open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels might adversely affect Turkish-EU relations and the opening of additional chapters in the accession negotiations.

    Describing 2009 as a year in which Turkish foreign policy was ridden with serious paradoxes in an article in Hurriyet (02.01.10), Sedat Ergin maintains that on one hand Turkey increased its regional weight and strengthened its role in world politics and, on the other, it started an argument with regards to its relations with the West. The harsh policies of Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Davutoglu against Israel are turning relations with Israel into a web of problems that will be difficult to manage, argues Ergin, adding that, however, this stand has increased Turkey's prestige in the Arab and Islamic world. The year 2009 was at the same time one in which the uncertainty of our relations with Europe became more pronounced and prospects for EU accession further faded, writes Ergin, adding that, however, the government does not view this regression in its relations with Europe as particularly distressing. Pointing to the noticeable improvement in Turkish-US relations, Ergin adds: "The Obama Administration is developing a warm working relation with Prime Minister Erdogan because of large US interests in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran." Recalling that the late Turgut Ozal had also aspired to a similar role in the Middle East, Ergin asserts that, however, he had realized this without raising any questions about his commitments to the West. The writer concludes with the following advice: "Therefore, there are numerous benefits in Turkey reviewing its foreign policy while entering 2010."

    Based on his conversation with one of the prominent members of the government, in Radikal (02.01.10) columnist Murat Yetkin in a 750-word article writes that Prime Minister Erdogan is categorically opposed to holding early elections in 2010. According to the prime minister, elections might be held in May of 2010, notes Yetkin, adding that the only serious problems awaiting the government in the coming year are not the Kurdish overture and the troublesome picture in domestic politics, but also the protocols signed with Armenia which might constitute another source of problem in April when Armenian genocide claims might again be raised in the US Congress. April is critical from the viewpoint of the elections in north Cyprus and Turkish-EU relations, argues Yetkin, concluding that all these problems might cause the AKP to hold early elections in 2010 with the hope that the loss of votes will be less in 2010 than at an election to be held in 2011.

    Assessing the goals of 2009 in an article in Cumhuriyet (02.01.10), Ali Sirmen sums them up as follows: "War with the TSK, peace with the PKK." That is the reason why the democratic liberal leaders of the media did not oppose the assaults launched against the TSK, the searches conducted in its cosmic rooms based on strange tip offs, and the search of military personnel by those who are not authorized to do so, but were enraged at the handcuffing of Ocalan's KCK members, argues Sirmen.

    A report entitled "Police cracked down on 114 organizations, seized 12 tons of heroin" in Zaman says that the Turkish police delivered a serious blow to drug dealers and crime organizations involved in financial crimes in 2009. According to the report, the police seized 12 tons of heroin, 24.5 tons of marijuana, 379 thousand ecstasy tablets, and 789 thousand Captagon tablets and arrested around 28 thousand suspects last year.

    Finally, viewing the recent price hikes announced by the government on the last day of 2009 in her column in Milliyet (03.01.10), Meral Tamer points out that the general belief in the public is that these price increases indicate that an agreement with the IMF is on the agenda. Tamer recalls that the prime minister indeed announced that a new stand-by agreement will be signed with the IMF and notes, however, that she no longer believes the statements made by Erdogan or the ministers regarding the IMF. Maintaining that the government needs the IMF deal for fighting the budget deficit and strengthening the confidence of foreign investors in Turkey, Tamer adds that an agreement with the IMF will help the Turkish economy to recover in 2010 and fight unemployment in 2011. Why did we wait for the economy to shrink 6.5 percent and the unemployment to soar to 16.1 percent, asks Tamer and concludes that the business world's 2010 calculations were based on the assumption that there will not be an agreement with the IMF.

    EG/


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