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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-02-22

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. 34/10 20-22.02.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] MGK meeting focuses on Cyprus negotiations
  • [02] Reactions against the decision taken by the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus for the abolition of the guarantees
  • [03] Talat: The world began to recognise Turkish Cypriots right of self-government
  • [04] Kutlay Erk urges the Turkish Cypriot political parties to support Talat in the upcoming so-called elections
  • [05] The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce will discuss the direct trade with the occupied areas of Cyprus in Brussels
  • [06] Turkish journalist alleges that the Cyprus talks came to a dead-end
  • [07] Eroglu and Ertugruloglu have reportedly agreed on the issue of the succession in the presidency of the UBP
  • [08] The self-styled ambassador of Turkey to occupied Lefkosia participated in a reception given at the US Embassy offices in the occupied areas
  • [09] Six Turkish Cypriot companies are participating in a Food Fair in Dubai
  • [10] A new project to be constructed in occupied Myrtou with the economic assistance of Turkey
  • [11] Turkish FM meets his Spanish counterpart; Cyprus among their issues of discussion
  • [12] EU draft sets deadline for Turkish withdrawal from Cyprus
  • [13] EP: HSYK objectivity and transparency urgently needed
  • [14] Turkeys exports dropped by 3.9% in 2009
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [15] Turkish columnist views possible effects of the April 18 so-called presidential elections in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [16] From the Turkish Press of 19, 20 and 21 February 2010

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] MGK meeting focuses on Cyprus negotiations

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (21.02.10) reported the following:

    A critical National Security Council (MGK) meeting chaired by President Abdullah Gul on Friday ended with MGK members stressing Turkeys resolution to protect the rightful interests of Turkish Cypriots.

    In a statement issued after the meeting, the General Staff said the Cyprus negotiation process was evaluated during the meeting. The statement said that the latest European Parliament report on Cyprus went against the established principles of the solution process, the existing UN framework and its parameters, the realities on the island and the rights of Turkish Cypriots, who are equal owners of the island, noting that the report and similar suggestions only served to harm the negotiation process and the possibility of reaching a permanent and fair solution.

    The statement said the Turkish Cypriots could be forced to remain in a permanent impasse arising from the other sides failure to reciprocate suggestions that were made by Turkish Cypriots early in January and that had the potential to pave the way for a consensus.

    It went on to say all sides at this stage had to fulfill their responsibilities. It also emphasized that Turkey was determined to continue to undertake its responsibilities towards Turkish Cypriots in line with its rights and duties stemming from historic agreements.

    The statement also said problems between Turkey and Greece regarding the Aegean Sea and Turkeys legitimate and vital interests in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean region were discussed at the meeting. It noted Turkeys willingness to solve its problems with Greece regarding the Aegean Sea while adhering to principles of neighbourly relations, close cooperation and constructive dialogue.

    The meeting took place shortly after a recording allegedly featuring the voice of Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug was posted on a Web site. In the recording, the voice says he had assigned a task to two military officers who were detained as part of an investigation into an alleged plot to assassinate Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc in December of last year. However, the nature of the duty assigned was not clarified in the recording.

    Later in the evening, a statement from the General Staff confirmed that the speaker in the recording was indeed Gen. Basbug, noting that the speech was made during a visit to a foreign country.

    Several Cabinet members, in addition to the president and the prime minister, attend MGK meetings. The military officers who are on the MGK include Gen. Basbug and the force commanders.

    The meeting comes at a time of crisis between the government and judicial bodies --the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) and the Supreme Court of Appeals.

    Tension rose in Ankara after Erzurum Special Prosecutor Osman Sanal had Erzincan Chief Public Prosecutor Ilhan Cihaner interrogated and arrested within the scope of the Ergenekon investigation, and the HSYK decided to strip Sanal and other prosecutors in Erzurum of their specially authorized powers. Ergenekon is a gang whose members, who come from various segments of society, are accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

    A statement released after the meeting said the MGK discussed evaluations of recent developments that affect Turkeys national security. The statement said the meeting emphasized Turkeys determination to fight terrorism. The negotiation process in Cyprus was also taken up during the meeting, the statement said. Fridays MGK meeting lasted four-and-a-half hours.

    [02] Reactions against the decision taken by the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus for the abolition of the guarantees

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.02.10) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Saturday any delay could not be legitimated regarding the negotiations aiming to find a solution to the Cyprus issue.

    Davutoglu and Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic had a meeting over breakfast and held a joint press conference in Ankara. Replying to a question, Davutoglu said Turkey's stance on the Cyprus issue was clear and it wanted a comprehensive and lasting peace on the island. Negotiations should continue without interruption, he said. Davutoglu said after Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat presented a package of proposals in January, the negotiation process has speeded up. This package showed that Turkish Cypriot party is eager to find a solution to the question, he said. Negotiations should be intensified more, he said.

    Regarding the Greek Cypriot parliament's decision, which said guarantees would not be accepted, Davutoglu said this decision showed there was lack of good intention on the Greek Cypriot side and it was against the nature of negotiations. If peace is wanted on the island, negotiations must be intensified. Everyone should do what he/she can for peace, he said.

    Replying to a question on news stories which said the United States did not welcome Turkey's proposals on a conflict regarding Iran's nuclear program, Davutoglu said, Some news stories which claimed that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denied Turkey's proposals are not accurate. Turkey did not offer anything. We hope that a diplomatic solution will be found on the matter. All efforts are for regional and global peace, he said.

    On his part, Jeremic said Davutoglu and he discussed what Turkish Airlines and Serbian Airlines could do together in the meeting. Free trade agreement, which would be approved by the Turkish parliament soon, would help boost relations between Turkey and Serbia.

    Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (20.02.10) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Prime Minister Eroglu has strongly reacted to the approval by the Greek Cypriot House of Representatives of a resolution denouncing guarantor rights in Cyprus. The Prime Minister said that the Greek Cypriot side aimed at sabotaging the negotiations process with the resolution. Once again it has been revealed which side is truly intransigent, he added.

    Speaking at the inauguration of the Ataturk Culture Centre in Iskele [occupied Trikomo], Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu reminded that it was out of the question for the Turkish side to give any concessions concerning Turkeys effective guarantee over Cyprus. Removing or abandoning Turkeys effective guarantee is out of the question, the Premier stressed.

    Pointing out that the Greek Cypriot House of Representatives had adopted such a resolution with the aim of axing the ongoing negotiations, the Prime Minister said that the Greek Cypriot side had once again revealed its true face. I believe, it is time for those political circles, who chose to label us as uncompromising and intransigent, to see the real picture, which is that the Greek Cypriot Administration has no intention of reaching a settlement with us, Eroglu added.

    In addition, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.02.10) reports that Dervis Eroglu, self-styled prime minister and candidate of the National Unity Party (UBP) for the forthcoming presidential elections, has said that they will never abandon the active and effective guarantees of Turkey and added that the guarantees are a red line for him and his party. Addressing a meeting of his supporters at occupied Lysi village, Mr Eroglu condemned the decision recently taken by the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus, which provides for the abolition of the guarantees in Cyprus. Mr Eroglu reiterated that if he is elected, he is ready to meet with President Christofias anywhere the latter wishes. The paper points out to the enthusiasm at the meeting and writes that the UBP supporters shouted slogans such as Eroglu to the presidential palace.

    Furthermore, illegal Bayrak television (20.02.10) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    The main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP) also joined in to condemn the unanimous approval by the Greek Cypriot parliament of the resolution denouncing guarantor rights in Cyprus. The leader of the Republican Turkish Party Ferdi Sabit Soyer described the resolution as nothing more than an ill-intended move. He said that with the adoption of the resolution, the Greek Cypriot House of Representatives, which had usurped the so-called Cyprus Republic and its constitution in 1963, had demonstrated by itself that it was not a legitimate administration. The CTP leader also said that the resolution was in violation of the constitution of the so-called Republic of Cyprus.

    On the same issue and under the title, It is now time to leave the table, Turkish Cypriot daily Bakis newspaper (22.02.10) reports that Serdar Denktas, chairman of the Democratic Party (DP), has alleged that after the decision of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus, which provides for the abolition of the guarantees in Cyprus, it is meaningless for the Turkish side to stay at the negotiating table and continue the negotiations. Mr Denktas claimed that nothing is left to be discussed and negotiated. He noted that all the Turkish Cypriot political parties consider the continuation of the active and effective guarantees of Turkey as one of the parameters of the solution and claimed that the decision of the House of Representatives showed once more that the Greek Cypriots do not take into consideration the issues which the Turkish Cypriots regard as vital. He said he expects the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat to issue a statement noting officially that there is no need left for the continuation of the negotiations. He called on all Turkish Cypriots to hang on their houses and working places the flag of the TRNC, breakaway regime in the occupied areas of Cyprus, in order to show that they will never accept an agreement which does not provide for the continuation of the guarantees.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (22.02.10) reports that the chairman of the so-called Fighter Commanders Association, Hasan Keskin said no one has the right to put the future of the Turkish Cypriots in danger and added that the active and effective guarantees of Turkey and the issues of property, sovereignty and security are red lines for the Turkish Cypriots. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the offices of his association in occupied Galatia village, he alleged that after the decision on the Orams case and the recent decision of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus on the issue of the guarantees, the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat has nothing else to discuss on the security and property issues. The paper writes that during the ceremony a document of gratitude was given to the persons who had transferred weapons from Turkeys Balalan area to Cyprus in the past and were known as supplying bees.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.02.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Pensioners Association has condemned the decision taken by the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus on the issue of the guarantees and evaluated it as lack of respect towards the Turkish Cypriots. The chairman of the association, Mustafa Toga alleged that the Greek Cypriot side aims at preventing the negotiations and the solution and claimed that the only target of the Greek Cypriot side is to get the possession of the entire Cyprus.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (20.02.10) reports that Hasan Ercakica, the spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat commenting on the same issue stated that the Turkish sides stance as regards the Treaty of Alliance and Guarantee is open and clear and added that they support the continuation of the guarantee in the island. Mr Ercakica stated, inter alia, that the political aim of the declaration made by the Assembly of the Republic of Cyprus must be investigated with great attention. He went on and added that the fact that this issue came onto the agenda of the Assembly of the Republic of Cyprus, without the issue of the guarantees to be discussed at the negotiations, is an evidence of interfering into the internal affairs of the Turkish Cypriot side.

    [03] Talat: The world began to recognise Turkish Cypriots right of self-government

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.02.10) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Mehmet Ali Talat said the Turkish Cypriots needed to plan their future in line with the world's changing approach to the Cyprus issue. Talat said Friday at the inauguration of an elementary school in Lefkosia that, the Turkish Cypriot people, who were challenged with serious problems were isolated unjustly by the world noting however that this was about to change. He said the world began to recognise Turkish Cypriots right of self-government and other civil rights, noting that Turkish Cypriots should plan their future in the light of this change. We may miss the past, but we should not forget that we can't dwell in the past. We can recall the memories of the past and draw lessons from it, but we have to look into the future, said Talat.

    [04] Kutlay Erk urges the Turkish Cypriot political parties to support Talat in the upcoming so-called elections

    Illegal Bayrak television (19.02.10) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    The Secretary General of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Kutlay Erk has said that Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu will not be abandoning the negotiating table if he is elected as President but will be putting his own proposals on the table. While reminding that his party will be supporting President Mehmet Ali Talat in the upcoming Presidential elections, Erk said they also expected the Social Democracy Party (TDP), the United Cyprus Party (BKP) and the New Cyprus Party (YKP) to show the same support.

    Speaking on BRT yesterday, the CTP Secretary General said that it would be naiveté to believe that the negotiations will continue in the likelihood of Prime Minister Dervis Eroglus election as President. Pointing out that President Talat was conducting the current talks in consultation with Turkey, Erk said that the settlement model envisaged by the Premier did not overlap with what was being discussed at the negotiating table.

    The CTP Secretary General also said that they were pleased with the negotiations process but complained that the talks were moving too slow. Nevertheless, in light of the political developments in the South [government-controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus], it would be unrealistic to expect the process to move faster, he added.

    [05] The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce will discuss the direct trade with the occupied areas of Cyprus in Brussels

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.02.10) reports that a delegation of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (TCCC) headed by TCCCs chairman Gunay Cerkez is visiting Brussels in order to hold contacts with officials of the EU Commission. The paper writes that the delegation will stay in Brussels until 25 February and discuss the problems faced in trade within the framework of the Green Line Regulation, the defects in the Financial Aid Regulation and the implementation of the Direct Trade Regulation. Mr Cerkez said they will ask for the official registration of the direct trade through the occupied ports of Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Turkish journalist alleges that the Cyprus talks came to a dead-end

    Under the title The end, Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (22.02.10) reports that Semih Idiz, well-known Turkish journalist, diplomatic correspondent of daily Milliyet and supporter of the yes vote during the Annan Plan period, has alleged that the negotiating process in Cyprus has come to a dead-end and claimed that we have come to the end. In statements to Turkish Cypriot Kanal T television, Mr Idiz claimed that the end is the recognition of the TRNC, breakaway regime in the occupied areas of Cyprus. He noted that this could not happen in a wink, but the process is working in this direction. Referring to Dervis Eroglus possible victory in the elections and the fears that this will negatively influence the Cyprus talks, he said: We should not be unfair to Eroglu. If Eroglu wins with a strong instruction, he could lead things to a certain point on the condition he continues the current situation. I think that there will be continuation here. And during this continuation process, the closeness with Ankara will continue as always.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Eroglu and Ertugruloglu have reportedly agreed on the issue of the succession in the presidency of the UBP

    Under the title Difficult decision, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (22.02.10) reports that six candidates for the presidency of the National Unity Party (UBP) in case the current chairman Dervis Eroglu wins the forthcoming elections are waiting for a signal from Mr Eroglu to approve their candidacy for the post. At the same time, the existence of an opposition group in the party supporting Tahsin Ertugruloglu for the same post is forcing Mr Eroglu to take a critical decision, having in mind the unity of the party. Fears exist that the delay of the decision, the speculations and the deepening of the factions in the party might deal a blow to the UBP in the elections, reports the paper. It is said that Eroglu, who wants to enter into the election campaign having the full support of his party, is looking for a formula which will not be ignoring the opposition in the party.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (22.02.10) reports that in statements to his close friends, Mr Ertugruloglu commented on his visits to Ankara and said he was carrying out the duty of a bridge between Ankara and the UBP. He noted that he agreed with Mr Eroglu during a meeting they had on Friday. The paper writes that the issues on which Eroglu and Ertugruloglu agreed were not clarified and adds that most probably the agreement concerns the election of Ertugruloglu to the post of the chairman of the UBP.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] The self-styled ambassador of Turkey to occupied Lefkosia participated in a reception given at the US Embassy offices in the occupied areas

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (20.02.10) reports that a reception was given at the US Embassy offices in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus. The reception, which was given by the US Ambassador to Lefkosia, Franc Urbancic, was attended by the self-styled ambassador of Turkey to occupied Lefkosia, Sakir Fakili, the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas, many self-styled ministers, MPs, leaders of Turkish Cypriot political parties, businessmen, and representatives of civil society organizations. The paper writes that receptions at US Embassy offices in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus are given a few times a year and adds that the reception was closed to the press.

    (CS)

    [09] Six Turkish Cypriot companies are participating in a Food Fair in Dubai

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (22.02.10) reports that six companies from the occupied areas of Cyprus are participating in the Gulffood Food Fair which is being organized in Dubai between 21 and 24 February 2010. According to a statement issued by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry, five companies participated in the fair in the stand of the Chamber and one in the stand of Turkey.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] A new project to be constructed in occupied Myrtou with the economic assistance of Turkey

    Illegal Bayrak television (21.02.10) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Finance Minister Ersin Tatar has called on the Turks of Cyprus to be comfortable as the government is working towards achieving a solution that will safeguard the rights of the Turks of Cyprus at the negotiating table.

    Mr Tatar made the statement at the foundation laying ceremony of the Artificial Wetlands Facility Project in the Camlibel [occupied Myrtou] region that took place this morning. He said the existence of the Turks of Cyprus will be protected and that this fact will be explained to the Greek Cypriots and the rest of the world. While we continue to carry out our common cause with Turkey, the Turks of Cyprus will overcome their problems, said Tatar and added that once again the Turks of Cyprus will show the world how democratic they are with the Presidential elections that will take place in April. Finance Minister Tatar reminded that the government was continuing to work on ways to develop its economy and added that investments were continuing in the Republic [occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus].

    The Artificial Wetlands Facility Project in Camlibel is being realized with assistance from the Ministry for Tourism, Environment and Culture and the Turkish Aide Delegation. It is foreseen that the project will be completed in 120 days and will cost a total of 345 thousand Turkish liras.

    [11] Turkish FM meets his Spanish counterpart; Cyprus among their issues of discussion

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.02.10) reports the following from Madrid:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had a meeting with the Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos in Madrid on Sunday. Davutoglu, who is paying a visit to Madrid for the second Turkey-Spain Intergovernmental Summit, had a closed-door meeting with Moratinos.

    Officials said Davutoglu and Moratinos discussed diplomatic initiatives regarding Iran's nuclear energy, Davutoglu's visit to Tehran, Turkey's EU accession process and Cyprus issue in the meeting. Moratinos said Spain fully supported Turkey's EU membership bid.

    Davutoglu and Moratinos also discussed bilateral trade volume which dropped to six billion Euros due to the economic crisis. A new strategy would be determined to boost the volume, officials said.

    Davutoglu also had a meeting with representatives of leading foundations and think-tank organizations in Madrid.

    [12] EU draft sets deadline for Turkish withdrawal from Cyprus

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (20.02.10) reported the following:

    In a move likely to infuriate Ankara, a European Union advisory body is preparing to call on Turkey to withdraw its forces from northern Cyprus, setting a deadline of the end of this year for such a withdrawal.

    The Committee of Regions (CoR), an EU advisory body representing the blocs regional and local governments, is scheduled to vote on a draft report on Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges, 2009-2010, which is focused on candidate countries, on March 2.

    The draft urges the Turkish government to actively support the ongoing negotiations and to contribute in a practical way to full settlement of the Cyprus question, on the basis of a bizonal and bicommunal federation with a single international legal personality and citizenship, in accordance with the relevant decisions of the UN Security Council and the principles underpinning the EU, and invites it to facilitate the creation of a climate that is conducive to negotiations, withdrawing the Turkish forces illegally occupying Cyprus, an EU member state, by the end of 2010, resolving the issue of the settlers and enabling the return of the sealed-off part of Famagusta to its legal inhabitants.

    [13] EP: HSYK objectivity and transparency urgently needed

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (22.02.10) reports the following:

    Reacting to last week's decision by Turkey's Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) in which a specially authorized prosecutor was stripped of his authority due to his probe into a now-jailed prosecutor, Dutch Christian Democrat Ria Oomen-Ruijten, the European Parliament's rapporteur on Turkey, has called on Turkish authorities to take action at once to ensure the board's objectivity and transparency.

    While stripping specially authorized Erzurum Prosecutor Osman Sanal of his authority, the HSYK also divested another specially authorized prosecutor in Erzurum, Tarik Gur, and public prosecutors Rasim Karakullukcu and Mehmet Yazici of their authority. The board also decided to file criminal complaints against Gur, Karakullukcu, Yazici, Sanal and Sinan Kus, the chief prosecutor in Erzurum.

    I believe that a comprehensive judicial reform is vital for Turkeys modernization process, Oomen-Ruijten told Todays Zaman over the weekend, recalling that she made the same call to the Turkish government in the European Parliament progress report on Turkey which was adopted earlier this month. In addition, and particularly by referring to the HSYK, I emphasized that the aforementioned board should be restructured to ensure its representativeness, objectiveness, impartiality and transparency, Oomen-Ruijten added.

    The rapporteur said the progress report on Turkey called on the country to regard the ongoing investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine organization whose suspected members are currently standing trial on charges of having plotted to overthrow the government, as an opportunity to strengthen confidence in the proper functioning of its democratic institutions and the rule of law. However, developments in the last few days are not in a direction which strengthens confidence, Oomen-Ruijten said, reflecting her disappointment over the HSYK decisions, which cast doubt on the impartiality and independence of the judiciary.

    [14] Turkeys exports dropped by 3.9% in 2009

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (22.02.10) reports the following:

    The global financial crisis took a toll on Turkeys trade with neighbouring countries last year, driving the countrys exports to seven bordering countries down by 3.9 percent in 2009 compared to 2008.

    According to data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat), Turkeys exports to seven neighbouring countries --Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Greece-- were recorded as $13.74 billion last year, while this figure was $14.31 billion in 2008, representing a year-on-year fall of 3.9 percent. In 2009, Turkish exports to Azerbaijan declined by 16.1 percent, to $1.4 billion, from $1.67 billion in 2008. During the same period, Bulgaria posted the greatest drop in imports from Turkey, decreasing by 35.5 percent from $2.15 billion to $1.39 billion. Exports to Georgia were also down from $997.8 million in 2008 to $746.1 million last year, falling by 25.2 percent. Iran purchased 0.24 percent fewer goods from Turkey last year compared to 2008, down from $2.03 billion to $2.025.

    The only neighbouring countries that Turkey managed to increase its exports to last year were Iraq and Syria. Exports to Iraq saw a rise of 30.9 percent, increasing from $3.92 billion in 2008 to $5.13 billion in 2009. Syria also grew its imports from Turkey by 27.8 percent during the same period, from $1.12 billion to $1.43 billion. Turkeys exports to its neighbouring countries accounted for 13.5 percent of the countrys overall exports in 2009.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [15] Turkish columnist views possible effects of the April 18 so-called presidential elections in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (20.02.10) published the following commentary by Cengiz Aktan under the title, An early piece on Cyprus:

    Northern Cyprus [occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus] will go to presidential elections in two months. Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu may be the new president in replacement of Mehmet Ali Talat in office. A wise man observing the half-century old Cyprus stalemate would summarize the solution with: Land in exchange for political equality. That means, irrespective of their populations, Cypriot Greeks and Cypriot Turks will be politically equal in a joint state and part of the land Cypriot Turks gained owing to the Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, years ago will be returned.

    Though expecting a solution other than such a paradigm is absurd, the possibility will be on the agenda if Eroglu wins the presidential elections scheduled for April 18. If Eroglu, who tends to govern northern Cyprus through the old-fashioned patterns of former President Rauf Denktas, suggests a confederation on this tiny little island and is completely controlled by the hawks of the Foreign Ministry in Ankara, he will probably have only one session of peace talks to attend. In this case, the Cyprus conflict will undoubtedly be sent to the freezer again.

    The de facto situation on the island indicates division, not reunification. On both sides, the widespread opinion is If there is no reunification, we will stick with the status quo. And that is also a valid view in Turkey. Obviously, though, this will cost both parties and Turkey.

    For Cypriot Greeks, a de facto or official division means living together with the Turkish military as long as the island remains an island, which some geologists say will submerge in 250 years. This is viable.

    The Greek Archbishop of Lefkosia (Nicosia) reportedly said the time has arrived to build a wall similar to the Berlin Wall or to the one separating Arab and Jewish lands. The Republic of Cyprus, which is a European Union member, an expert in offshore banking, has excellent relations with the Arab and Orthodox world, primarily Russia, and attracts three million tourists a year, can buy this.

    The consequences of separation and showdown could be quite different for Cypriot Turks and Turkey, however. The north of the island has been under Turkey's military, political, financial and human tutelage since 1974. Although the financial burden was transferred from the public to private sector in time, it is unknown how investments from Turkey will earn money under these circumstances.

    According to a ruling by the British appeals court in the Orams case, third parties cannot acquire properties which used to belong to Cypriot Greeks from now on because the decisions of Cypriot Greek courts regarding properties in northern Cyprus will be applicable in Britain, according to the EU law. That means the period of construction and sales of villas to middle-class Brits is over. And it is nonsense for a buyer from the Middle East or Turkey, who has no bonds with Cyprus, to buy a house in the desert climate of a water-poor island. Moreover, Cypriot Greek property owners are getting prepared to take the third parties to court for benefiting from the confiscated properties. It has been said that the Brits who sojourned in the Dome Hotel in Girne [occupied Keryneia], which was originally owned by a Cypriot Greek, are about to face a court case.

    Tourism is limited with usually moderate British tourists and some gamblers from Israel and Turkey. Who knows where these piles of concrete and hotels, which are as expensive as ones in Turkey, will find customers. The potential consumer population to ensure the functioning of the economy consists of 40,000 soldiers, who rarely shop, and the 50,000 students from Turkey and other countries whose university diplomas are not recognized in the EU. You go ahead and figure out how the economy is going to be run with them.

    The official population of the north is 260,000. However, Cypriots claim the real figure is two or three times higher. Unseen or uncounted ones came from Anatolia, they add. This is a rather convincing estimation based on a total of 400,000 registered vehicles since no census has been held in the north recently.

    In other words, the north is like one of the many provinces of Turkey where consumption well exceeds its production. This is the direct consequence of the economic isolation facing the north and Turkey's colonization policy. But neither this burden nor the expenses of troops will destroy the Turkish economy. But such a status quo has a political cost and that will clearly multiply in time.

    First, if there is no solution on the island, the Turkish military, which is about to depart from politics and return to its barracks, will continue to remain fully in Cypriot Turkish politics. Second, the Cyprus question, which directly affects Turkey-EU accession talks and has caused the suspension of 14 negotiation chapters, will continue to be so as long as the impasse continues.

    We have two options left: Either Turkey will compromise unilaterally and manage to clear the way for both negotiations, on the island as well as with EU, or will shelf both issues and try to pay the costs.

    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu likes to say the Cyprus question should be dealt with on a macro-scale; in other words, within an international configuration where Turkey has much more weight and influence so as to belittle the Cyprus annoyance. However, as of today, and probably tomorrow, such a perspective looks like wishful thinking. The issue, unfortunately, is still being handled on a very micro-scale.

    [16] From the Turkish Press of 19, 20 and 21 February 2010

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 19, 20 and 21 February 2010:

    Crisis between Government and the Judiciary:

    Drawing attention to the fact that the Erzurum prosecutors divested of their powers have sent the file regarding Erzincan Chief Prosecutor Cihaner to the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office in an article in Milliyet (21.02.10), Fikret Bila writes: "In a way, the Erzurum prosecutors have disregarded the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). Moreover, while they were supposed to hand over the file of Cihaner to the newly empowered prosecutors, they chose to send it to the prosecutors in Istanbul conducting the Ergenekon investigation." Assuming that the Erzurum prosecutors were supported by the Justice Ministry in their actions, Bila argues that the methods of the Erzurum prosecutors do not solve the jurisdiction problem concerning the Istanbul prosecutors. Predicting tension and clashes between the HSYK and the Istanbul Prosecutors and the Justice Ministry in the coming days, Bila concludes: "The judiciary will solve the authority and jurisdiction problems being experienced within its own authorized institutions without outside interference. This is what the Constitution stipulates."

    Questioning why the president does not intervene in the crisis between the government and the judiciary in an article in Hurriyet (21.02.10), Oktay Eksi maintains that Abdullah Gul, though he has sworn to be loyal to the Constitution, the supremacy of the law, democracy, the Ataturk principles and reforms, and the secular Republic, and to be equidistant from everyone, has actually viewed all his citizens and the institutions as "those who belong to us and those who do not." The efforts he has been exerting to hide this reality have not been effective, claims Eksi, adding that the government has, for the last seven years, pursued its own secret agenda which can be proven through its university rector appointments, its silence in the face of the attacks on the judiciary, its endorsement of the laws that are contrary to the spirit of the oath it has taken in parliament, and the appointment of governors that are close to the ruling party.

    In an article in Cumhuriyet (21.02.10), Leyla Tavsanoglu relates an interview she conducted with Nuri Alan, former president of the Council of State who argues that the Erzurum prosecutors should not have sent the file concerning Prosecutor Cihaner to the Istanbul prosecutors and that the administrative ruling of the HSYK applies to the Istanbul prosecutors as well. Expressing the hope that the Istanbul prosecutors, who are more senior and more experienced, will make a decision in line with the laws in a bid to prevent a new crisis, Alan stresses the need for judicial reforms. Recalling the AKP attempt soon after it came to power to reduce the obligatory retirement age of public servants from 65 to 61, Alan argues that this seemingly innocent move was actually aimed at replacing them with candidates who would work more harmoniously with the ruling party. The reason behind the AKP desire for constitutional amendments is to circumvent the high judicial courts that constitute an obstacle to implementing the party program, maintains Alan, adding that the AKP wants to take hold of the Constitutional Court. Alan explains that the constitutional amendments approved by the ruling party propose that the Constitutional Court have 17 members eight of which will be elected by the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM). He concludes: "It says that these members are elected by the TBMM with a three fifth majority. A three fifth majority is equal to 330 deputies. The current AKP representation in the TBMM is over 330."

    Mustafa Akyol views the ongoing power struggle between the government and the Kemalists, that is, the judiciary and the military, in his article in Hurriyet Daily News.com (20.02.10). Akyol points out that the military "created the judiciary in its image" after the 1960 military coup. Calling the system that was formed the "Kemalist oligarchy", Akyol maintains that it started to lose its "strongholds" after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power. He concludes that the "polyarchy, even in such a chaotic way, is better than oligarchy. If we are lucky, it might even lead us to liberal democracy."

    Mehmet Ali Birand opines, in his column in Hurriyet (20.02.10), that if the AKP believes that it can benefit from the ongoing crisis with the judiciary, it is mistaken. Birand maintains that, unlike the rift with the army in which some of the army's statements caused the impression that the AKP was under threat, the public is unable to understand which side is guilty and which side is innocent in the ongoing judiciary crisis. In other words, the AKP is not the "victim" in this crisis, and therefore the belief that the AKP "fails to control and dominate over the judiciary" is gradually spreading among the public, notes Birand. He concludes that the government should promptly take control over and appease the chaos.

    Comparing the Turkish model of selecting members of the judicial bodies to various models implemented in Europe in his article in Milliyet (20.02.10), Hasan Cemal maintains that, contrary to the European models, the connection between the judiciary and the legislative body was eliminated by the 1982 Constitution. "The members of the Council of State and the Supreme Court of Appeals select the members of the Supreme Council of Justices and Prosecutors, HSYK" notes Cemal and adds that the HSYK members, in return, select the members of the Council of State and the Supreme Court of Appeals. Calling the present model a "closed caste system", Cemal asserts that this is unacceptable in democracies. Stressing that "neither the judiciary, nor the military should be above the law", Cemal concludes that Turkey will not comply with a "second class democracy".

    In An article entitled "Irony of the discussion", Yeni Safak columnist (20.02.10) Fehmi Koru sees the possibility of Chief Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya filing a new closure case against the ruling AKP as being small and the top court agreeing to hear such a case and banning the AKP as being even smaller. He asserts that the AKP has done nothing in the past two years since the top court rendered its ruling in the closure lawsuit against this party to justify the filing of a new closure case, adding that on the contrary, the past two years have seen the AKP remove obstacles to democratization and take care to observe the principles of law-based governance despite facing a number of "coup attempts".

    In an article entitled "New Constitution: It takes a President", Zaman columnist (20.02.10) Ali Bulac looks at the factors responsible for the "power struggle" between certain bureaucratic institutions suggested by the HSYK's latest decision and consequent developments. He claims that the HSYK's move has verified the presence of a powerful resistance to public demands for democratic reform from a "bureaucratic centre" that includes the judiciary and the military. He proceeds to assert that those maintaining this opposition realize that they will risk being "anachronistic" if they continue to resist the said demands and that they do not enjoy international or regional support for their anti-reformist stance. He argues that this conflict will either lead to a nationally damaging stalemate or a recognition of the need to "coexist through reconciliation, understanding, and sharing," adding that the way to achieve the second scenario would be to draw up a new and civilian constitution. He also advises the AKP to try to forge a consensus with the Republican People's Party (CHP) over a new constitution by announcing that its candidate for the next president is (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal.

    In an article entitled "Will things settle down?", Milli Gazet columnist (20.02.10) Abdulkadir Ozkan argues that Turkey's only way out of the impasse and tensions caused by the HSYK's latest move is a new constitution. He claims that if the political situation is deemed too tense for Parliament to enact a new constitution, then holding an early general election might be advisable "not in the name of supporting the CHP's demands but for the sake of ensuring the country's welfare."

    Okay Gonensin, in an article in Vatan (19.02.10) notes that the fact that the high judiciary has adopted an all-out stand against the government and the fact that "the third power" has revolted against "the first and the second powers" show that "the Ankara wars", also known as the "clashes between the institutions," have reached the highest level. The support visits conducted by the members of the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Council of State yesterday have shown us how the uprising or resistance will be conducted, maintains Gonensin and adds: "There is nothing the government can do. As the struggle continues, it will encounter growing resistance and it will not be able to govern." Despite the fact that it is in power, the AKP government is powerless, stresses Gonensin and underlines that powerless governments are doomed to wear out quickly. At this point, the only step that the AKP can take is "holding election without any delay", points out Gonensin and emphasizes that the more the AKP delays this decision, the more votes it will lose.

    When calling for a judiciary reform, President Gul has also called for avoiding new polarizations and for adopting EU principles, notes Murat Yetkin in an article in Radikal (19.02.10) and points out that "it is almost as if Gul is proposing to the government a revision in the judiciary reform that will be accepted both by the opposition and the judiciary." It is true that it has become imperative to make constitutional amendments, but let us admit that it is not realistic to expect the current assembly to make such amendments, argues Yetkin and recalls that the National Assembly even faces difficulties in enacting ordinary and simple laws. It will be more honest to refrain putting off the people with impossible dreams, maintains Yetkin.

    Finally, in an article entitled "Let Parliament take action", Vakit columnist (19.02.10) Abdurrahman Dilipak criticizes the HSYK's latest decision as one that has brought Turkey to the brink of a "juristocratic coup". He accuses the HSYK, the chief justices of the Supreme Court and the Council of State, and the chief public prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals of "aiding and abetting crime and criminals" in making the said decision or expressing support for it. He also asserts that the UN Convention against Corruption provides a basis for the dismissal of the HSYK members and the judicial heads who have publicly endorsed the HSYK's decision from office.

    EG/


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