|Tuesday, 19 November 2019|
Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-02-23
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. 35/10 23.02.10
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Talat criticized the decision of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus regarding the guaranteesTurkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (23.02.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat has alleged that the decision of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus regarding the guarantees in Cyprus is a sabotage and a provocation against the negotiating process. In statements yesterday during the opening ceremony of a sports centre in occupied Dikomo village, Mr Talat argued:
The treaty of guarantees is an international agreement. The Greek Cypriot parliament cannot take a decision and influence in any manner an international agreement. This is the one aspect of the issue, but the actual intention is important. The intention is provocation, because this is an issue of the negotiations. We have discussed this issue as well. The sides put forward their positions on this issue and now a decision is being taken knowing that this is an issue of discussion. Furthermore, they know the sensitivity of the Turkish Cypriot side on the guarantees.
Asked whether or not the self-styled assembly of the breakaway regime will take a decision in response to the above-mentioned decision of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Talat said he shared his views on this issue with the assembly and the assembly has started to work on this. He noted that the self-styled assembly intends to take such a decision. He noted that this will be a natural development against the Greek Cypriot initiative.
Mr Talat said he called President Christofias and the chairman of the Democratic Rally Party (DISY), Nikos Anastasiades and warned them not to permit for such a decision to be taken, but they told him that this will not be binding and that it will be a kind of an advisory decision.
Asked to comment on a proposal reportedly made by Britain for a three party meeting between the guarantor powers of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Talat said that the Turkish Cypriot side will not oppose a meeting between the three guarantor powers because an exchange of views between them will be natural.
Mr Talat reiterated that the position of the Turkish Cypriot side is the continuation of the system of guarantees, which is vital for the Turkish Cypriots, and the adaptation of this system to the new structure which will be established.
 Reactions on the decision of the House of Representatives of the Republic on Cyprus regarding guarantees continueIllegal Bayrak television (22.02.10) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:
Reactions to the resolution adopted by the Greek Cypriot House of Representatives on the issue of Guarantor rights are growing.
A group of 22 civil society organizations, calling themselves the Alliance of Independence, has said that a settlement in Cyprus had become impossible with the Greek Cypriot sides resolution denouncing Guarantor rights in Cyprus. The Alliance called on the Republics Assembly to take a decision calling for the international recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The Spokesperson for the Alliance, Hasan Yilmaz Isik, reminded that the 1960 Republic of Cyprus was founded on the basis of the 1960 London and Zurich agreements. The Greek Cypriot side has openly declared its opposition to any form of partnership with the Turkish side and its support for a separate homogenous Hellenic state, he added.
The Spokesperson also argued that the resolution has dashed all possibilities for a settlement in Cyprus and that the next rightful and logical step would be to pursue the international recognition of the TRNC. He also said that a settlement without Turkeys effective guarantees was out of the question.
 The self-styled assembly rejected a proposal by the DP regarding the interruption of the Cyprus talksTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (23.02.10) reports the following:
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) Parliament on Monday rejected a proposal by the Democratic Party (DP) to consider suspending the ongoing negotiations to reunify the divided island due to the forthcoming KKTC presidential elections in April.
Speaking at the General Assembly, Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Ferdi Sabit Soyer said the proposal is not in line with reality and stressed that it is the Greek Cypriot political leadership that wants to halt the negotiations. Instead of pausing the negotiations, it is necessary to decisively move forward in the peace talks and reveal Greek Cyprus extortionist understanding to the world, Soyer noted. Meanwhile, Democratic Party (DP) leader Serdar Denktas said President Mehmet Ali Talat must bring the guarantee issue, which the Greek Cyprus Parliament annulled last week, to the table.
 Timetable for the so-called presidential election in occupied Cyprus has been announcedAnkara Anatolia news agency (22.02.10) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia:
The presidential election will be held in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on April 18. TRNC Supreme Electoral Board announced a timetable for the upcoming election. Accordingly, the election process will begin on February 24. Political parties will be given time till March 9 to name their candidates. The deadline for candidates to run in the election is set as March 12. The Board will officially announce the list of candidates on March 22.
The presidential election will be held on April 18. If any candidate cannot reach the required threshold of 50 percent in the first round, the second round of the election will be held on April 25 between the two candidates who received the highest number of votes in the first round.
Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu, leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), officially announced that he would run in the election. President Mehmet Ali Talat is expected to announce his candidacy after his scheduled visit to Spain on February 25 and 27.
Rauf Denktas was the first president of the TRNC which was established in 1983. He remained at office from 1983 to 2005. He was replaced by Mehmet Ali Talat during the 2005 election.
 DPs general secretary Ejder Aslanbaba held meeting with AKP officials in AnkaraTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (23.02.10) reports that a group inside the Democratic Party (DP) complains about the fact that the partys leader, Serdar Denktas, insists on finding a third candidate for the forthcoming presidential elections and adds that some members of the party, including DPs general secretary Ejder Aslanbaba, are uncomfortable because of this issue. The paper further writes that Mr Aslanbaba held a meeting ten days ago with officials of Turkeys ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). According to the paper, Mr Aslanbaba received an invitation by the AKPs officials and he went to Ankara where he exchanged views with them regarding his stance in the presidential elections.
 Talat to fly to Spain on February 25Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.02.10) reported the following from Madrid:
President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) will visit EU President Spain on February 25. Talat will give a conference at Spanish Real Elcano Institute. He is also expected to hold meetings with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.
 Serdar Denktas sends a letter to the Head of EU Commissions Representation in CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (23.02.10) reports that Serdar Denktas, chairman of the Democratic Party (DP) has sent a letter to the Head of EU Commissions Representation in Cyprus, Mrs Androulla Kaminara, asking from her to convey the expectations and the drawbacks of the Turkish Cypriots to the European Union in a more impartial and up to date manner. He noted that they want to believe that Mrs Kaminara is not influenced by her nationality in carrying out the duty to which she has been appointed. He alleged that the expectations and the drawbacks of the Turkish Cypriots have not been taken in to consideration in the recent report of the European Parliament on Turkey and expressed the view that if the conditions on the island had been explained to the EU in a realistic manner, the provisions regarding the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation army from the island and the return of the occupied closed city of Varosha to its legal owners would not have been included in the report.
 An assembly committee established to investigate the developments of the Orams case held its first meeting yesterdayTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.02.10) reports that a self-styled assembly committee which was established in order to investigate the developments and the results of the Orams case, held its first meeting yesterday. The chairman of the committee, in which MPs of the Turkish Cypriot parties participate, is the MP with the National Unity Party Zorlu Tore.
 A delegation of the occupation regime will participate in the Interparliamentary Union Meeting and to the Political Affairs Committee of PACETurkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper 23.02.10) reports that a delegation of the self-styled assembly will participate in the Interparliamentary Union Meeting which will be held between March 25-30 in Thailand. The following self-styled MPs will participate in the Meeting: Irsen Kucuk MP with the National Unity Party, Sonay Adem MP with the Republican Turkish Party and Mehmet Arif Tancer MP with the Democratic Party. Moreover, the paper writes that a delegation of the self-styled assembly will participate in the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) which will take place between March 3-5 in Izmir, Turkey.
 Alexander Downer met with the chairman of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot football federationTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (23.02.10) reports that the United Nations has become a part of the activity for the recommencement of the negotiations between FIFA and the so-called Turkish Cypriot Football Federation. Alexander Downer, UN Secretary-Generals Special Envoy, has met with Omer Adal, chairman of the so-called Turkish Cypriot Football Federation and was informed on the views and the proposals of the federation. The paper writes that the federation informed the office of the Turkish Cypriot leader on the issue.
 U.S. official believes that progress on Cyprus would help Turkeys EU accession bidAnkara Anatolia (22.02.10) reported the following from Washington D.C:
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon said Sunday that progress in a range of topics including the Cyprus issue, democratic initiative towards Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin and the Haybeliada [Halki] Seminary would elevate Turkey's hopes of EU membership.
Gordon, who delivered a speech on President Obama's vision of Southeast Europe, reiterated the strong support of the U.S. to Turkey's accession to the EU, urging Turkey to record progress in the democratic and political reforms required for membership. These reforms not only further Turkey's EU accession bid, but they also democratize and modernize Turkey. Important gestures like reopening the Heybeliada Seminary and further movement on Turkey's 'democratic opening' to the Kurds, as well as progress on Cyprus, will also propel Turkey's EU prospects forward, said Gordon.
Reiterating U.S. President Barack Obama's view that the said reforms and Turkey's eventual accession were good for Turkey and the EU, Gordon said these would cement Turkey's place in Europe and ensure the continued vitality and strength of the EU itself. To achieve these goals, Turkey and the EU should in our view jump-start the accession process by working closely together to meet the remaining requirements of EU membership. The EU for its part can ensure that this forward momentum continues by making clear that it is fully committed to engaging Turkey's bid for membership as the country meets reform goals, said Gordon.
Gordon said Cyprus was an issue where regional leadership was necessary for progress. Though not strictly a matter of Greek-Turkish bilateral relations, both Greece and Turkey can play important and constructive roles in urging the Cypriot parties toward a lasting solution to their differences, said Gordon. He said the United States continued to support the Cypriot-led negotiations under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General commending the considerable effort put by both sides into the negotiations. He urged the Cypriot leaders to seize the opportunity in the intensive talks which offer a just and lasting settlement that would reunify Cyprus into a bi-zonal and bi-communal federation.
Gordon also commended the notable progress, Turkey and Greece made in their own bilateral relations in the last decade, especially the reinvigorated dialogue in recent months between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. He said it provided a hopeful and instructive example of the power of personal diplomacy adding that the U.S. looked forward to supporting both countries as they continued to strengthen their relationship.
 Erdogan reiterates that the Cyprus talks will not last forever and alleges that Ankara will continue its one-step ahead policyAnkara Anatolia news agency (22.02.10) reported the following from Madrid:
Turkish premier has ruled out any European Union status for his country that fell short of full membership, which he said was the main goal of the accession talks. Our nation cannot accept any alternative to full membership for which our negotiations with the European Union strive for, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Monday a Madrid meeting on Turkey-Spain: Common Vision for Peace, Stability and Prosperity.
Erdogan said no EU candidate country except for Turkey had been kept at bay for 50 years, adding that Turkey was far better off than most of the EU member countries. Turkey has been an associate member of the European Community (EC) since 1964, following the signing in 1963 of the Ankara Agreement. The country applied for full membership in April 1987. We will not put extra burden on EU's shoulders but we will share part of its current burden. And our membership will come as a bridge between the West and Muslim world, Erdogan said. Erdogan stressed that pace of the negotiations was far from satisfying Turkey's demands, adding that many of the policy chapters in Turkey's talks had been blocked out of political concerns. We are calling on the EU to show an encouraging attitude in our membership talks. An attitude that excludes politically-motivated hindrances, Erdogan said. The Turkish premier also expressed hope that the current Spanish term presidency of the EU would add a new momentum to the pace of progress between Turkey and the Union.
Touching on ongoing peace talks on Cyprus, Erdogan said Turkey continued to extend support to efforts for a lasting and fair settlement to the problem. I would like to stress that it is the Greek Cypriot side that has kept an uncompromising attitude, delaying a solution. And, it obvious that the settlement talks cannot last forever. Turkish Cypriots, who have suffered under the status-quo, have shown that they are willing to reach an agreement, Erdogan said.
Furthermore, illegal Bayrak television (22.02.10) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reiterated Ankaras continued support to reaching a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem. Pointing out that the Greek Cypriot Administration maintained its intransigent stance towards a settlement; the Turkish Premier warned that the Cyprus negotiations will not continue forever.
Speaking at a conference organized on the sidelines of the second Turkey-Spain inter-governmental summit, taking place in Madrid, Mr Erdogan said that Ankara continued to pursue its one-step ahead policy on the Cyprus problem. Drawing attention to the fact that the Turkish side showed great flexibility with the latest proposals it put forward on the issue of Governance and Power sharing, he said the Greek Cypriot side should acknowledge the importance of such an offer and make use of this opportunity. But, he warned that the negotiations cannot continue forever. Mr Erdogan said that the EU member countries had a special responsibility towards encouraging the Greek Cypriot side to work for a solution.
Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.02.10) reports the following from Seville:
Turkey's prime minister was presented on Monday with an award due to his remarkable efforts to launch the Alliance of Civilizations initiative. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan received Seville NODO Foundation's award from Seville's Mayor Alfredo Sanchez Menteseirin during a ceremony held in Seville, Spain.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mayor Menteseirin said Erdogan had taken important steps aiming at development of mutual dialogue between nations and solution of international and regional matters. Erdogan said on his part, that he was not hopeless about the future of the world. Pointing to Turkey and Spain's call for peace, compromise and dialogue, Erdogan said, Turkey, which has a significant role in its region, believes that the optimistic and promising atmosphere that will be formed with the spread of peace and prosperity will embrace the entire world.
Commenting on Cyprus issue during his speech, Erdogan said the Turkish Cypriot party desired to reach a comprehensive solution based on political equality as soon as possible. Turkey works for a fair and lasting solution, he said.
Erdogan also said that Turkey had taken important steps aiming at the normalization of its relations with Armenia, adding it would continue to display efforts to improve the process.
After the ceremony, Erdogan was protested while departing from the Seville municipal building. A person, who threw a shoe at Erdogan while he was walking to his vehicle, was immediately detained by security forces, officials said.
 Turkish and Spanish PMs hold a joint press conference; Cyprus among their issuesAnkara Anatolia news agency (22.02.10) reported the following from Madrid:
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said on Monday that his country supported and would continue to support Turkey's EU membership bid.
Holding a press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Madrid, Zapatero said that Spain, during its EU presidency term, was working on opening four new chapters in Turkey's EU membership negotiations. Zapatero said that one of those four chapters was energy which was blocked by Greek Cypriot administration. Zapatero noted that Spanish government was exerting efforts to settle a dialogue process and reach an agreement regarding the Cyprus issue, and it was pursuing its activities in good relations with all parties.
He also said that Turkey and Spain had common visions on many issues. Noting that Turkey's role in the Middle East, Iran, Mediterranean cultural, political and economic relations were discussed during bilateral talks in Madrid, Zapatero said that Spanish companies in Turkey grew, and there were strong relations between Turkish and Spanish companies. He added that Spanish companies were interested especially in infrastructure investments in Turkey.
Disagreeing with criticisms that the Alliance of Civilizations had not met the expectations so far, Zapatero said that more than 100 countries joined the Alliance of Civilizations, and they always expressed positive views. Noting that the Alliance of Civilizations was helping to settle dialogue, Zapatero said also that the Alliance of Civilizations was against discrimination, and supporting mutual understanding and dialogue, and respect to different cultures and religions.
In addition, Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.02.10) reported the following:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Spain never left Turkey alone in European Union (EU) process. Spain had experienced the difficulties we have been going through. Spain is one of the countries that understand Turkey the best, Erdogan said while speaking at a joint news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero.
Erdogan attended a conference title, Turkey-Spain: Common Vision for Peace, Stability and Prosperity, hosted by Nueva Economia Forum in Madrid. The meetings in Spain were very fruitful. I believe that there is a promising future in front of us. We are trying to boost political, military, commercial and economic relations, Erdogan said. Erdogan said Turkey and Spain, as the two co-chairmen in Alliance of Civilizations, entered an assertive process, Contribution of the Alliance of Civilizations to world peace and global peace will be very different. I think this initiative will be in an important way out in dealing with terrorism. Different cultures will be considered as richness.
Erdogan said around 350 Spanish businessmen invested in Turkey, nearly 70 Turkish businessmen are investing in Spain. Cooperation in energy is in question. I believe that the parties will make very important steps in both wind and solar energy. Talks are underway. We need solidarity in renewable energy. We also have joint works carried out in food, particularly in olive and olive oil.
Erdogan said they also assessed developments regarding unity for the Mediterranean process, I believe that both Turkey and Spain have assignments within the Mediterranean basin. The Mediterranean is a basin of civilizations. Turkey and Spain have solidarity in dealing with terrorism. A joint platform is necessary in the world against terrorism. Dealing with terrorism requires a joint fight."
 Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee convenes; Turkey is urged to progress its democratization initiativesAnkara Anatolia news agency (22.02.10) reported the following from Brussels:
The European commissioner for enlargement prioritized judicial reform for Turkey's democratization. Commissioner Stefan Fule asked Turkey to progress its democratization initiatives, and enumerated priorities as the judicial reform, civilian control on the army, and constitutional reform.Speaking in a meeting of the Turkey-European Union (EU) Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), Fule said Turkey had recently made many significant reforms, and listed some of them:
Annulment of a security and public order protocol, publicly known as EMASYA; preparation of a bill on the establishment of an independent human rights agency; and adoption of a strategy to strengthen the fight against corruption.
Fule said the EU would continue to support Turkish government's democratic initiative aiming to raise democratic right and living standards of all Turkish citizens. The commissioner said he was hopeful about civilian-military relations in Turkey, and asked Turkey to lift all legal obstacles before freedom of press.
Fule welcomed negotiations between Turkey and the EU on a re-admission agreement. After the agreement was signed, the European Commission might recommend member countries to simplify visa procedures for some vocational groups, Fule said. Fule also said travelling to Europe without a visa could be discussed at a later date.
The EU-Turkey JPC is composed of an equal number of Members of the European Parliament and of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. It meets in general twice a year, alternately in Turkey or in one of the work places of the European Parliament. Since the opening of accession negotiations with Turkey, based on the European Council decision of December 2004, the JPC holds discussions on the relations between the EU and Turkey, scrutinizes the application of the Customs Union and follows in particular the progress of the accession negotiations.
 Turkish contractors projects abroad top 154.5 billion USDTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (23.02.10) reports the following:
The value of projects Turkish contractors undertook abroad reached $154.5 billion by the end of 2009, with nearly two-thirds of these projects having been initiated during the past six years.
According to data from the Foreign Trade Undersecretariat, $101.73 billion worth of overseas projects were carried out between the years 2003 and 2009. Seriously affected by the global financial crisis, Turkish contractors took on only $18.07 billion worth of projects last year, down from $23.69 billion in 2008. Turkish firms mainly operate in Africa, the Middle East and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Out of 313 new projects launched last year, 74 were based in Africa, 79 in the Middle East and 120 in the CIS. Turkish contractors also commenced 17 projects in Europe, with a total value of $1 billion, and 20 in the Far East, worth some $378.4 million. Work undertaken in Africa was of the highest value, accounting for 37.3 percent of the overall total, while projects in the Middle East amounted to 29.9 percent.
By country, Libya topped the list for the highest value ventures last year with 40 projects worth $3.9 billion undertaken by Turkish construction firms. Turkmenistan followed with 64 projects worth $2.5 billion. Furthermore, 20 projects worth $2.4 billion.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press of 22 February 2010Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 22 February 2010:
a) AKP to seek early election if faces closure/wiretapping Basbug:
Asli Aydintasbas says in the first part of her column in Milliyet that the AKP officials are still fearing a closure case against the party and have already adopted a "B Plan" that envisages the holding of early elections as soon as the closure lawsuit is filed by transferring AKP deputies and members to one of the small parties that now exist only in name. The columnist argues that the lawsuit, by again victimizing the AKP, will help the AKP to regain some of its lost popularity. She says a poll recently presented to Erdogan puts the AKP popularity at 35 percent, CHP's at 23 percent, MHP's at 19 percent, and Mustafa Sarigul's party at 4 percent, noting that the combined votes of CHP and MHP are more than AKP's and that will complicate AKP's chances of restructuring the Constitutional Court even after an election.
In the second part of her column, Aydintasbas also comments on the voice recording of the speech made by Gen Basbug in Brussels, saying that the episode shows the dangerous level the political struggle has reached in Turkey. She then points out that with modern technology it is easy to spy on people, adding that in this case the listening device was probably hidden in the heel of a shoe.
In an article entitled "Gen Basbug must be dismissed", Today's Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bulent Kenes asserts that the recently disclosed voice recording of Chief of Staff General Basbug has revealed him to be an "experienced liar" who should not be allowed any more to "distract the public with gilded words" about democracy and the rule of law.
In an article entitled "Could the AKP be closed down?", Milli Gazete columnist Kazim Arslan asserts that a new closure lawsuit against the ruling AKP would only serve to boost public support for this party. He also claims that the way to deal with the disagreements between the executive judicial, and legislative authorities highlighted by the HSYK's latest decision would be to urgently pass "a mini democratization package."
b) Judicial reform:
Nuray Mert declares in her column in Hurriyet that behind the "judicial crisis" actually lies the "gargantuan regime crisis," explaining that in a society where one faction tries to defend the present regime seeing nothing wrong with it and the other tries to replace it with its own regime without promoting democracy, in a society where one faction is apprehensive of the popular will and the other respects no rule and principle other than expressed through the ballot box, in a society where both factions adhere to "authoritarian political outlook," in short, a society that has lost its common denominators cannot put in place an independently functioning judicial system.
Kadri Gursel, in a column in Milliyet, also believes that the struggle over the judiciary is of the nature of shaking the very foundation of the regime, for Prime Minister Erdogan wants to eliminate the opposition coming from the "high judiciary" in a manner that endangers the future of democracy. Noting that the AKP wants the parliament to appoint some of the members of high judicial bodies, like the Constitutional Court, Gursel says this system works in advanced democracies but will not work in Turkey because the Turkish parliament is controlled by party leaders not independently elected deputies. If the judicial reform sought by the AKP is enforced today, Prime Minister Erdogan will be the sole selector of members to the high judicial bodies and that will lead to the emergence of an authoritarian system. Before the judicial reform, there should be the democratization of the party politics, Gursel says.
Taha Akyol suggests in his column for Milliyet that the judicial reform could be accomplished by simply appointing additional members with different backgrounds to the HSYK [High Council of Judges and Prosecutors], for a large body is more likely to adopt objective and impartial decisions than a small one. Noting that the judiciary and the Justice Ministry have agreed to introduce the "broad representation" system, Akyol says the fight now revolves around achieving such a system.
Under the headline, "We are determined on judicial reform," Yeni Safak carries a front-page report which highlights Prime Minister Erdogan's remarks disclosing the "road map" that the Government will be following in dealing with the "judicial crisis" that ensued when the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) stripped a number of Ergenekon prosecutors in Erzincan of their special powers. The report quotes Erdogan as saying that all social segments expect the Government to change the Constitution and pass a judicial reform package and that they are "very determined on that score."
In an article entitled "Baykal's innocent commander and Dogan's desire to keep tabs on people", Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Aktay criticizes Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal sharply for his remarks accusing the prosecutors in Erzincan, who were recently stripped of their powers by the HSYK, of making an "inexcusable mistake" in treating Third Army Commander General Saldiray Berk as a suspect. Aktay claims that the reasoning behind Baykal's comments --"you can never commit an offence if you command an army"-- reflects "the typically conservative attitude of the Rightist political philosophy influenced by the Christian theology." He goes on to slam AKP Deputy Avni Dogan for the way he has "cast doubt on the legitimacy of the ongoing Ergenekon probe" through his recently televised remarks saying, "If we falter, these Ergenekon guys will seek reprisal. They kept tabs on veiled women and observant Muslims for years. Now it is our turn to keep tabs on them."
c) New detentions of senior officers/Basbug postpones Egypt visit:
After the detention of senior officers, including former Air Force Commander Ibrahim Firtina, former Naval Forces Commander Ozden Ornek, and former 1st Army Commander Ergin Saygun, in early morning raids today [February 22] as part of the "Sledgehammer" probe, Chief of the General Staff Ilker Basbug has postponed his scheduled visit to Egypt, according to Hurriyet flash reports, which also profile the detained retired commanders Ibrahim Firtina, Ergin Saygun, Ozden Ornek, and Engin Alan.