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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-02-18
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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. 32/10 18.02.10
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Talat is holding contacts in Italy; He will visit Spain between 25 and 27 FebruaryTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (18.02.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat met last night in Italy with the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Franco Frattini. The paper writes that before the meeting they shook hands and posed for the representatives of the press. Mr Frattini stated that he appreciates very much the efforts exerted by Mr Talat for the solution of the Cyprus problem and noted that supporting these efforts is very important when the elections which will be held in April are taken into consideration. He said they know that important results have been achieved on the issue of governance and power sharing in the Cyprus talks and described all these as very encouraging developments. I am satisfied with seeing that all these developments are happening, he said.
The Italian Minister drew attention to the importance of the support by Turkey and Greece to the negotiating process in Cyprus and added that the EU should also contribute to the efforts for finding a solution on the island and assist the two sides.
You have the support of the Italian government, said Mr Frattini underlining the strong support of Italy to Turkeys accession to the EU.
I hope that after the elections you will solve the Cyprus problem with Christofias, added the Italian Minister addressing to Mr Talat.
Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.02.10) reported the following from Rome regarding the meeting:
President Mehmet Ali Talat of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) met with Foreign Minister Franco Frattini of Italy. At the beginning of the meeting, Frattini referred to the upcoming presidential election in the TRNC, and expressed his hope that Talat would be re-elected. He said that the Italian government was determined to contribute to the efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus issue.
Talat is currently in Rome to hold a series of talks with Italian authorities.
Moreover, referring to statements made by Mr Talat after the meeting, Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.02.10) reported the following:
President Mehmet Ali Talat of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said that he had a very positive meeting with Foreign Minister Franco Frattini of Italy.
Following his meeting with Frattini in Rome, President Talat told Turkish journalists in Rome, I am in favour of unification of Cyprus within the European Union. We have a significant opportunity in front of us. If we fail to benefit from this opportunity, the division of the island can become permanent.
Italy is one of the important members of the European Union. During the meeting, I told Frattini that the European Union should fulfil its commitments. Bilateral relations were also high on agenda of the meeting. We will maintain our cultural and economic relations with Italy, he said.
President Talat said that he would run in the upcoming presidential election in TRNC as an independent candidate.
We think that Greece, one of guarantor countries, should also play an active role for a solution. We believe that Greece should encourage the Greek Cypriot administration for a solution, he said.
President Talat recalled that he would visit Spain on February 25 and 27. I believe that Spain can play an important role about the Cyprus issue as president of the European Union, he added.
President Talat is expected to leave Italy for Cyprus on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (18.02.10) reports also that during his contacts in Italy, Mr Talat first met with the ambassador of Turkey to the Vatican, Kenan Gursoy. Afterwards he met at a lunch with some Italian members of the Parliament and the Senate and informed them on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem. The self-styled representative of the breakaway regime in Rome, Sadettin Topukcu and the responsible for EU affairs at Mr Talats office, Armagan Candan accompanied the Turkish Cypriot leader at the lunch.
Italian MPs who are holders of the TRNC citizenship and others who applied to acquire this citizenship attended the lunch. The members of the Italian Parliament and the Senate, who participated in the lunch were the following: Pietro Paolo Amato and Nicola Di Girolamo, Senators of the Liberal Peoples Party, Marco Perduca of the main opposition Democratic Party, Maurizio Turco and Maria Antonietta Farina Cascioni MPs of the Italian opposition and Marcello De Angelis, MP of the ruling Liberal Peoples Party.
In statements after the lunch, Mr Pietro Paolo Amato said that he has filed an application to take the citizenship of the breakaway regime. He alleged that he got the impression that Mr Talat and the people of the TRNC are exerting great efforts for the solution in Cyprus.
Moreover, Mr Marco Perduca, who is a citizen of the breakaway regime, said they are following with attention the negotiating process in Cyprus and added that it is important that all the chapters have been discussed. He alleged that the EU is treating the Turkish Cypriots unfairly and claimed that it is the duty of the Italian state and organizations to support the TRNC people. He added that they are struggling for this.
Furthermore, Yeni Duzen reports that Mr Talat gave a lecture at the International Relations Institute in Rome on the latest developments regarding the Cyprus problem. He referred to the Orams case and gave detailed information on the schedule of the intensified negotiations which will be continued this month. He said they discussed the issues of Governance and Power Sharing, the EU and the Economy until now and they will discuss the Security, the Guarantees and the Property, which are the most difficult issues.
Finally, the paper reports that during his arrival to the Italian capital, Mr Talat was received at the VIP room of the Airport of Rome and departed for his hotel escorted by police.
 Ertugruloglu visited Ankara for the second time within a monthUnder the title Two visits in one month, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (18.02.10) reports that Tahsin Ertugruloglu, MP and former chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP), went to Ankara again upon an invitation he received by officials of the Turkish government. This is the second invitation that Mr Ertugruloglu received from Ankara within a month.
It was found out that Mr Ertugruloglu held a meeting yesterday morning with the Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan. Citing information from some sources, the paper reports that after Mr Ertugruloglu rounds up his contacts in Ankara, he will go to Istanbul where he will also hold some contacts. According to the paper, the invitation to Mr Ertugruloglu was made by the Turkish Prime Minister himself, as it happened with the first invitation he had received earlier this month.
The paper cites further information according to which Mr Ertugruloglu tried to have a meeting with the self-styled prime minister, Dervis Eroglu, upon his return from his first meeting in Ankara in order to inform him about his contacts. However, he was not able to get an appointment with Mr Eroglu, in spite of the fact that he requested a meeting three times. According to the paper, the replacement of Mr Ertugruloglu, who represented the occupation regime in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), may be related with Ertugruloglus contacts in Ankara.
 Avci said that the balances in the politics in the occupied areas will change in the next few monthsTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (18.02.10) reports that the leader of Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) Turgay Avci made an important statement after his visit to Ankara. Commenting on his visit, Mr Avci said that the meetings he had both with officials of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and with the Turkish State Minister Cemil Cicek were positive. He also gave the message that the affairs between AKP and ORP will continue to increase.
Referring to the forthcoming so-called presidential elections, Avci said: The efforts of our party are continuing. Our party may have its own candidate. According to the paper, he also gave the impression that they cannot compromise with the Democratic Party (DP) for a candidate. Avci went on and said: In the coming months balances will be changed in the politics, we will live very restless days. ORP is preparing for this.
 Eroglu censures the EU for referring to the population structure in the occupied areas of CyprusIllegal Bayrak television (17.02.10) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:
Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu has brought criticism against the European Union which, he said, now chose to debate on the population structure of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus after leaving the TRNC flag on the Besparmak [occupied Pendathaktylos] Mountains aside. This should not be the case, he said, stressing that the Cyprus Turkish sides efforts are based on ensuring a secure and peaceful living of the Cyprus Turkish people on the island and thats the reason for maintaining negotiations.
Speaking before the beginning of the Council of Ministers meeting today, Prime Minister Eroglu stressed the need for the EU to rather focus on the Greek Cypriot intransigency, which he said is encouraged by the EU itself.Instead of rewarding the Greek Cypriot side and thus increasing its intransigency, the EU should work to prove the rightfulness of the Cyprus Turkish people, the Premier said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is going to pay a visit to the Socialist Democracy Party (SDP) tomorrow, as part of his visits he has been paying to political parties, in seek of support for the presidential elections in April.
 The efforts of the breakaway regime to attract investments to the occupied part of Cyprus continueVarious Turkish Cypriot newspapers report today (18.02.10) about efforts for investments in the occupied areas of Cyprus.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (18.02.10) reports that the self-styled prime minister of the occupation regime, Dervis Eroglu, stated that the occupation regime can be developed with the introduction of new investments and said that that investments must take place so that the young population to remain in the country. He added that investments are vital for the economic strength of the regime. Mr Eroglu made these statements yesterday, during a ceremony held in the Bafra Tourism Investment Region in occupied Vokollida, to mark the second phase of the asphalt construction, following the completion of other infrastructural works in the area.
On his part, the self-styled minister of tourism, environment and culture, Hamza Ersan Saner stated that the Bafra Tourism Investment Region is one of the most important areas of tourism in the occupied part of the island. When the Bafra Tourism Investment Region is completed, it will be the most important investment and centre of attraction for all Cyprus, he stated.
On the same issue, Illegal Bayrak television (17.02.10) broadcast that the new road will be opened in May. According to Bayrak, the two-lane road in the Bafra Tourism Investment Region is being constructed under the funds provided by the Assistance Committee of the Turkish Embassy in occupied Lefkosia.
Furthermore, under the title The Islamic countries want to make investments in the TRNC, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (18.02.10) reports that Mustafa Lakadamyali, self-styled director of the department for the relations with the Organization of the Islamic Conference in the ministry of foreign affairs, participated in the 20th Regional Planning Council (RPC) of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), which was carried out between February 16-18 in Antalya, Turkey. Mr Lakadamyali delivered a speech at the meeting and called on the Islamic countries to make investments in the occupied areas of Cyprus in the fields of trade, tourism, agriculture and the constructions.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (18.02.10) reports that the self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime, Dervis Eroglu, held a meeting with the self-styled minister of finance Ersin Tatar, the self-styled minister of economy and energy, Sunat Atun, the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry and the Cyprus Turkish Investment Development Agency (YAGA). During the meeting, Mr Eroglu stated, inter alia, that YAGA must be offered any assistance so as to fulfil its goal, which is to attract investments in the occupied areas of Cyprus.
Meanwhile, illegal Bayrak television (17.02.10) broadcast the following:
President Mehmet Ali Talat has underlined the importance of having equal economic power with the Greek Cypriot side in case of a possible agreement. He noted that economic equality cannot be achieved with the political agreement or law.
In his speech at an inauguration ceremony of a business facility in Haspolat [occupied Mia Milya], Talat said that the Cyprus problem will definitely be resolved one day. The President explained that making investments is one of the most important steps towards integration with the international world. He also pointed to the fact that there is a good opportunity to sell Cyprus Turkish products to South Cyprus under the Green Line Regulation.
In another speech, the Minister of Economy and Energy Sunat Atun underlined the importance of investments in proving the invalidity of embargoes imposed on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. He noted that Cyprus Turkish products are becoming branded in foreign countries.
 Self-styled minister visits the NetherlandsUnder the title Cavusoglu in the Netherlands, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (18.02.10) reports that the self-styled minister of agriculture and natural resources, Nazim Cavusoglu flied to the Netherlands yesterday as a guest of the CRV International Logistics Centre in order to attend inspections on animal cultivation.
According to a statement issued by the so-called press office of the ministry, Mr Cavusoglu and his delegation will attend inspections in order to gain technical knowledge on embryo transfer and artificial insemination, holding farm record books and books on dairy production and cattle breeding. They will return to the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus on February 19th.
 Turkeys National Security Council to convene; Cyprus among the issues to be discussedTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (18.02.10) reports the following:
The National Security Council (MGK) will be meeting under the chairmanship of President Abdullah Gul on Friday, and the priority agenda item is modifying the National Security Policy Document (MGSB), a resolution that acts as a guideline for the military in situations of domestic conflict.
If this is improved, it will be an important step in Turkeys democratization, coming shortly after the abolishment of the controversial Protocol on Cooperation for Security and Public Order (EMASYA). However, the problematic Article 35 of the Internal Service Code of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) will remain untouched, according to analysts predictions.
Article 35 of the Internal Service Code has been accused of paving the way for many a military intervention as it includes a clause that allows the military to take control in situations where the elected leaders cannot be trusted. However, this article will not be taken up in this Fridays MGK meeting. Even so, bureaucrats at the prime ministry are working on a bill that might render the 35th Article ineffective. Once their work is complete, they will submit this to the Cabinet for approval. The government is expected to submit the bill to Parliament after hearing the view of the military.
Another document that empowers the military to an anti-democratic extent, the EMASYA protocol, was abolished in early February. EMASYAs abolishment has raised hopes that the government will continue its steps to abolish all documents that lay the ground for illegal activities in the country.
EMASYA, which was harshly criticized for allowing the military to conduct operations and gather intelligence in cities without the approval of the civilian administration, was quashed two weeks ago. The controversial protocol was signed by the General Staff and the Interior Ministry on July 7, 1997, and empowered the military to intervene in social incidents on its own initiative. EMASYA gave the military the authority to gather intelligence against internal threats. Although the protocol has been severely criticized by politicians and analysts over the years, it remained in force. EMASYA was believed to be a product of the February 28, 1997 coup, during which the military overthrew the coalition government led by Necmettin Erbakan of the now-defunct Welfare Party (RP). The government has been working on abolishing EMASYA since 2008 when the 3rd National Program for EU harmonization was passed. The EU has also been pushing for its improvement or abolishment. However, some additional legislation related to EMASYA still remains in place, and this Fridays MGK meeting is likely to abolish that as well.
The MGK meeting is likely to see discussions on revising the MGSB, also known as Turkeys secret constitution. The revision itself is expected to be completed by October of next year. This document lies behind many military interventions as it enables the military to plot against governments. Religious reactionarism, ethnic separatism and extreme leftist movements are listed as the three most dangerous threats to Turkeys security in the MGSB. Nationalist and neo-nationalist organizations are also seen as domestic threats. Revisions are normally done every five years, however, this Fridays meeting is likely to change the document. The religious reactionarism expression will mostly likely be removed from the document from among the domestic threats facing Turkey, but separatism and extreme left are expected to remain.
Turkeys perception of foreign threats has changed drastically since 2003, primarily due to the end of the Cold War. Greece has also lost its standing as a potential danger. Potential foreign threats listed in the MGSB are expected to be updated in line with this. The MGSB currently in force says that Turkey should pursue a non-compromising policy regarding more than 100 islands, over which there are still disputes, in the Aegean Sea. Turkey has plans to remove Greece from the list of foreign threats, but to do that, it is expecting the Greek Parliament to abolish a 1994 law marking May 19, 1919, as a day of genocide against Pontus Greeks, a 1996 law accepting the Armenian killings of 1915 as genocide and the 1998 law declaring September 14, 1922 as the Asia Minor Genocide Day.
The MGK will also discuss Turkeys anti terrorism efforts on Friday. The council will discuss possible difficulties that might come along with the governments democratization reforms in fighting terrorism and how to deal with these. The MGK is also likely to take up Cyprus, Armenia and EU-related issues.
 Turkish Prime Minister to travel to SpainTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (18.02.10) reports the following:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will travel to Spain to attend the second Turkey-Spain Summit to take place in Madrid on February 22, an exception to Spains decision not to hold any international summit meetings during its rotating EU presidency.
Spain, which strongly supports Turkeys EU bid, assumed the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union at the start of 2010. The first Turkey-Spain Summit was held in Istanbul in April 2009 with the participation of 12 ministers and several other senior officials from both countries. Erdogan and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodrigues Zapatero had agreed to hold annual regular meetings between the two governments. Nine Turkish ministers, from health to foreign affairs, are expected to join Erdogan during his trip.
In addition to a meeting with Zapatero, Erdogan will also meet with leading Spanish politicians, businessmen and representatives from the media and think tanks. Erdogans talks in Spain will focus on bilateral relations, regional and international issues, EU issues, Turkeys negotiation process with the EU and Turkeys expectations from Spain during its presidency.
Following his talks in Madrid, Erdogan will head to Seville to accept the Seville NODO Prize for his important role in the implementation of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative. During his stay in Seville, Erdogan is also scheduled to visit Turkish engineers working at the citys Airbus plant where A400 military cargo aircraft will be manufactured. After a visit to Cordoba, Erdogan will return to Turkey on February 23.
 Turkey and Burkina Faso sign Joint Economic Commission protocolAnkara Anatolia news agency (17.02.10) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkey's environment minister said on Wednesday that the Joint Economic Commission protocol signed by Turkey and Burkina Faso was an indicator of the cooperation action plan between the two countries. Turkish Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroglu and Burkina Faso's Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation Minister Bedouma Alain Yoda signed the protocol on behalf of their countries during a ceremony in capital Ankara.
Speaking at the ceremony, Eroglu said that Turkey attached great importance to the improvement of its relations with Burkina Faso. Noting that the protocol displayed the two countries' will and determination to improve their commercial relations, Eroglu said: Thanks to such protocol, we have put forward an action plan for cooperation in the upcoming period.
Moreover, guest minister Yoda said that the follow-up committees to be established within the scope of the protocol would work for the elimination of the problems in the process. Yoda also said that his country respected and supported Turkey's move to Africa.
 Free trade agreement between Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council to be signed this yearTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (18.02.10) reports the following:
Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said in Manama on Wednesday that the government expected a free trade agreement between Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to be signed before the end of this year.
Speaking to reporters during an official visit to the capital of Bahrain on Wednesday, Simsek recalled that work has been under way to forge a free trade agreement between Turkey and the GCC for almost four years. The minister emphasized that bilateral trade between Turkey and Bahrain would benefit from such an agreement.
Having arrived in Manama on Wednesday, Simsek met with Bahrains prime minister, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman. Discussing work on the development of a preferential trade system for Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) member countries, the minister said the organization would finalize the project by the end of this year. The parties have been working on a preferential trade system, which envisages a transition to a three-step tax reduction system among Muslim countries. To be launched, the plan requires the approval of at least 10 member states.
The minister said the realization of the two projects would foster bilateral trade among Turkey and the GGC and OIC countries.
 Turkey ready to receive unmanned air vehicles from IsraelUnder the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (18.02.10) reports the following:
Turkish officials have announced that Ankara is ready to accept delivery of six Heron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) built for Turkey by Israel, according to the Defence News weekly.
Murad Bayar, director of the Undersecretariat for the Defence Industry (SSM), said Ankara is ready to accept the six Heron UAVs built for Turkey by Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) and Elbit Systems Ltd. Six of the aircraft have successfully passed the tests inspected by a delegation of Turkish officials. We are expecting their deliveries in the weeks ahead. And this closes the deal from our point of view, Bayar said, as quoted by Defence News.
The weekly added that Turkey and the Israeli team had been at odds over delays of more than two years in the delivery of the Herons. The dispute regarding the technical fulfilment of contract specifications was resolved after revisions in the original terms and conditions, Bayar said.
 Suat Kiniklioglu elected as the new chairman of Turkey-US Inter-parliamentary Friendship GroupTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (18.02.10) reports the following:
Suat Kiniklioglu, the Justice and Development Partys (AK Party) deputy chairman in charge of foreign relations, has been elected chairman of the Turkey-US Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group, replacing AK Party Antalya deputy Mevlut Cavusoglu, who was named head of the European Council Parliamentarians Assembly (PACE).
In a press release issued yesterday, Kiniklioglu said he was honoured to have been elected to the post. I will try my best to be aware of the responsibility of heading the friendship group of a country with which we have been long-time allies, particularly in the spheres of defence, security and foreign policy. It goes without saying that the weight of this responsibility is further increased at a time when drafts regarding the 1915 incidents are being brought to the US Congress, which has remained a problem in our relationship for years.
In his statement, Kiniklioglu praised the current US administration for having managed to switch some mental gears in the US about Turkey. He said unlike most European allies, the US appears to have understood the importance of maintaining good relations with Turkey, which is an increasingly powerful country that has deepened its political dialogue with its neighbours and that has the capacity to give direction to the course of regional events.
Kiniklioglu said he hoped to undertake projects that will help foster Turkish-US relations. However, he also said attempts of the Armenian diaspora to get legislation passed regarding the 1915 incidents had the potential to shatter relations. He called on the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs to act in accordance with the importance of its relations with Turkey.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press of 17 February 2010Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 17 February 2010:
a) Turkey's Dream of Becoming Energy Terminal of Eurasia:
Referring to recent rumours that the gas disagreement between Turkey and Azerbaijan is threatening the Nabucco project, Bulent Aras explains in an article in Sabah: "The situation concerning Nabucco is more complicated than it seems. Nabucco is primarily a gas transport company. After the intergovernmental agreement on the issue is endorsed by the pertinent authorities of the relevant countries, the final word belongs to the company. In other words, if Azerbaijan wants to give its gas to Nabucco, it does not need Turkey to do so." The most lucrative position for Azerbaijan is to sell its gas directly to Eastern and Southern Europe through this line, declares Aras, adding: "Furthermore, the price of Azerbaijani gas has yet to be determined and Azeri administrators have to take into consideration the price to be set by Russia. Looking at the bigger picture, the problem is far beyond a disagreement between two countries." Viewing two other energy projects Turkey is involved in, namely the Turkey-Greece-Italy natural gas pipeline and the Russian South Stream line, Aras underlines that these two projects are being kept alive by Russia although they might not be economically viable. Turkey, given its geographic advantage, is trying to realize the dream of becoming the energy terminal of Eurasia, asserts Aras, pointing out, however, that the most important problem of this gas equation is to provide the gas for the pipeline projects. Viewing the possibilities of Egyptian, Iraqi, Qatari, and Iranian gas supplies and the problems involved, Aras concludes: "Energy equations will be placed on Turkey's dynamic and multidimensional foreign policy agenda in the period ahead."
b) Turkish Stand on Iran's Nuclear Program:
It seems as if Iranian President Ahmadinejad is making fun of the world through his vacillating stand on the nuclear issue, declares Hadi Uluengin in an article in Hurriyet, adding that recent statements issued by Western leaders on the issue indicate that the patience of the West is wearing out that the decision time is approaching. Viewing the option of further sanctions on Iran, Uluengin maintains that soon Turkey will also have to make an "adjustment" to its approach to the issue. Arguing that Turkey's policy of defending Iran with the pretext of mediation cannot hold for long, Uluengin believes that when the time comes to decide on international sanctions against Iran, Ankara will have to make a clear choice. The impression of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Iran's delaying tactics in the aftermath of his meeting with his counterpart in Teheran will determine Turkey's future policy on the issue, concludes Uluengin.
In a commentary in Zaman, entitled "Tehran-Washington: A nuclear tango", Professor Samir Talha asserts that US President Obama is "certain to give another chance to Ankara's efforts to broker a solution to the nuclear dispute between Washington and Tehran because he knows that the failure of the ongoing efforts to establish "dialog" between the United States and Iran would primarily serve Israeli interests. Talha also argues that unless the Ahmadinejad administration urgently reviews its policy of "defying the world," the crisis will escalate to the point of damaging regional balances as well as harming the ruling AKP in Turkey because of its "direct or indirect support" for Tehran.
c) Gul's Presidential Term:
Jurists are divided on whether Abdullah Gul's presidential term is five or seven years because of certain legal loopholes, writes Taha Akyol in an article in Milliyet. Expressing his view that Gul should serve seven years, Akyol adds that, however, this will be politically difficult given the high tension in the country. Considering the option of leaving the decision to the High Election Council (YSK) Akyol fears that this option will only prolong the uncertainty, suggesting that the best alternative would be for the parliament to enact a law clarifying Gul's term. Commenting on the insistence of Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal that Gul's term be five years, Akyol notes that parties outside the Justice and Development Party (AKP) might not vote for the same candidate. In conclusion, Akyol cautions against turning the presidential term issue into another crisis.
Viewing the controversy over the length of Gul's presidential term in an article in Cumhuriyet, Cuneyt Arcayurek draws attention to the silence maintained by the president, explaining: "He prefers to remain silent because he does not know where the fluctuations within the AKP on the issue will lead, or to be more exact, because he does not know which termination date the party leader will prefer." Recalling that both the CHP and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) favour the five-year term, Arcayurek predicts cracks within the AKP on the presidential term, arguing that the AKP is preoccupied with the issue of who from within the AKP will become the president as though it were a sure thing that the one to be elected will be from that party.
In an article entitled "Five years or seven years?", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru looks at the controversy over whether President Abdullah Gul's term of office will end in 2012 or 2014. He claims that Gul was elected to serve a term of seven years and that the constitutional amendment arranging for presidents to be elected for a five-year term and be eligible to run for presidency for another five-year term following the end of their first term is not binding on Gul because it was passed after Gul was elected into office. He also asserts that if there is any uncertainty over Gul's tenure, the responsibility for this belongs largely to the Republican People's Party (CHP) because it was the CHP's opposition to Gul's election as president in 2007 which paved the way for developments that forced the AKP to change the law governing the election of presidents.
In an article entitled "Five years or seven years?", Zaman columnist Mustafa Unal criticizes CHP leader Deniz Baykal for warning that a "regime crisis" will be created if President Gul's term of office is recognized as being seven years. Unal asserts that the controversy over Gul's tenure is an ordinary legal debate that does not warrant the CHP's preparations to turn the next presidential election into the subject of a "political war".
d) Election Threshold/Possibility of Early Elections:
Viewing the recent study conducted by the Venice Commission on restrictions and thresholds in parliamentary elections in an article in Hurriyet Daily News, Sedat Ergin writes that the most striking fact in the introduction of the study is the high election threshold being applied in Turkey. In the section of undesirable consequences caused by election thresholds, Russia and Turkey are given as examples, explains Ergin, stressing the necessity of implementing the Commission's recommendations and lowering the ten percent threshold to five.
In an article in Hurriyet Daily News, Yusuf Kanli views the rumours spreading in Ankara that the chief prosecutor of the Court of Appeals has almost completed a new dossier against the AKP and that most probably a closure case will be filed against the ruling party, arguing that these speculations might force the AKP to seriously consider early elections.
If the government is sincere in its Kurdish overture, then it would reduce the election threshold to 5-6 percent in order to enable the Kurds to directly represent themselves through their own party in parliament, claims Cuneyt Ulsever in an article in Hurriyet. Underlining that representation is a fundamental principle of democracy, Ulsever views Prime Minister Erdogan's stand against reducing the election threshold as tantamount to saying that "the Kurds are not ready to be represented in parliament through their own party."
In an article entitled "It is a paradox to demand democratization and defend the ten percent threshold at the same time", Milli Gazete columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan accuses certain political parties of inconsistency and self-contradiction in calling for democratization yet arguing that the law requiring political parties to pass a ten-percent threshold to win seats in Parliament cannot be changed on the grounds that society is not ready for it yet. He claims that this inconsistency is compounded by the said parties' support for Turkey's accession to the EU because there are no EU countries that deny representation to political parties on the basis of an election threshold system.