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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-02-26

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. 38/10 26.02.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkish chief EU negotiator calls for a solution in Cyprus by April
  • [02] Talat address Real Elano Institute in Madrid; He notes that the solution chance has not been missed yet
  • [03] Eroglu claims that they will not wait for an agreement forever; He reiterates his stance for a two-state solution
  • [04] The Turkish Cypriot Platform considers the decision of the assembly, as regards the guarantorship rights, insufficient
  • [05] Public opinion polls regarding the forthcoming presidential elections and the solution of the Cyprus problem
  • [06] MAP to support Eroglu if Talat runs as a candidate for the so-called presidential election in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [07] Will Serdar Denktas be the third candidate for the so-called presidential elections?
  • [08] The self-styled government did not pay the salaries of the workers in the public sector yet; Eroglu to visit Istanbul today
  • [09] The occupation regime granted the TRNC citizenship to 1064 persons in 9 months
  • [10] Turkey and the breakaway regime sign protocol for the participation of Turkish Cypriot teams in the Turkish Handball Super League
  • [11] Gul, Erdogan and Basbug meet amid the latest developments in Turkey
  • [12] "European Parliament Rapporteur calls for new charter as a way out"
  • [13] PM Erdogan to chair reform watch group for first time
  • [14] Turkey and France sign economic partnership MoU
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [15] From the Turkish Press of 25 February 2010

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Turkish chief EU negotiator calls for a solution in Cyprus by April

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.02.10) reported the following from Tallinn:

    Turkey's chief negotiator for European Union (EU) talks has urged Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders to reach a settlement by April this year. There are leaders on both sides who are eager for a solution, which had yet to come. I am hoping that they will come up with a settlement by April because that is when Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat's term ends. And it seems unlikely that he can get re-elected, Egemen Bagis told a seminar in Tallinn.

    Bagis rejected the Cyprus issue as a pre-condition for Turkey's membership in the EU, saying that the EU should not have allowed the Greek Cypriot administration into the Union before it had solved its border disputes. Bagis also criticized the Greek Cypriot administration for blocking the opening of further policy chapters in Turkey's accession talks. The Turkish negotiator said the Justice and Development (AK) Party had been extending full support to the settlement of the Cyprus issue since it came to power in 2002.

    Meanwhile, Turkey's European Union (EU) chief negotiator arrived Thursday in the Estonian capital of Tallinn, the second leg of his visit to Baltic countries. Turkey's State Minister and EU chief negotiator Egemen Bagis will meet Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet over a luncheon and hold a joint press conference with Paet. Bagis will later have a meeting with Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and speak in a conference on Turkey's EU membership bid. Minister Bagis will proceed to Riga, Latvia, the last leg of his tour of Baltic countries, on Friday.

    Bagis visited Lithuania, the first leg of his Baltic tour, on Wednesday. He met Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Deputy Parliament Speaker Ceslovas Vyautas Stankevcius, and attended a conference at Lithuania's Vilnius University.

    [02] Talat address Real Elano Institute in Madrid; He notes that the solution chance has not been missed yet

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.02.10) reported the following from Madrid:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Thursday that the solution chance for Cyprus problem had not been missed yet. We want the help of international committees, especially the United Nations, said Talat, who spoke at Real Elcano Institute in Madrid, which he visited as the guest of the Spanish government.

    Talat noted that for the first time there were two leaders in Cyprus who really wanted to solve the problem, stressing that it was necessary to evaluate this situation in the best way. From the beginning, I want bizonal solution with two societies based on politically equal status in Cyprus, said Talat, adding that his target and will was to reach a full solution as soon as possible. Noting that he and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias were continuing to hold intensified talks (for solution), Talat wanted Christofias to keep his promises and show the same determination with him for the solution.

    Talat said that Turkish government extended full support to the solution in Cyprus, adding that he was in contact with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continuously. Talat noted that they also needed the help of Greece for the solution. Noting that Turkey's full membership to the EU was very important for TRNC, Talat said that Spain was fully supporting Turkey's EU membership, and Spanish leaders could also undertake important roles in solution of Cyprus problem. However, noted Talat, the EU could not be neutral and influential because Greek Cypriot administration [Republic of Cyprus] was an EU member. Talat said that Turkish Cypriots were supporting solution but they had a lack of confidence and disappointment as the EU did not keep its promises to TRNC in economic aspect.

    In the meantime, Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.02.10) reported the following from Madrid:

    President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Mehmet Ali Talat, has arrived in the Spanish capital Madrid upon an invitation by the Spanish government. President Talat arrived in Madrid in a passenger jet of the Turkish Airlines (THY). Talat was greeted by Spanish dignitaries and he entered the Barajas International Airport via the VIP lounge. Turkey's Ambassador in Madrid, Ender Arat, welcomed President Talat to the hotel where Talat will stay.

    Talat will hold talks with various Spanish officials, including with former Spanish Foreign Minister Marcelino Oreja. President Talat will deliver a speech at the Real Elcano Institute and give special interviews to the Spanish media. President Talat will meet with the Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos over lunch on Friday.

    [03] Eroglu claims that they will not wait for an agreement forever; He reiterates his stance for a two-state solution

    Illegal Bayrak television (25.02.10) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu has criticized the Greek Cypriot side for not being in support of an agreement, warning that the negotiations cannot be continued forever. We are not against the negotiations but we will not wait for an agreement forever, the Premier said.

    Speaking during a visit paid to him by the Cyprus Turkish Driving Schools Union, Mr Eroglu repeated that it is the desire of the Cyprus Turkish people to achieve a two-state solution. The Prime Minister said it was seen after the opening of the border gates that the two peoples of the island can live side-by-side, but not together. He added that the two sides must accept each other as equals in order to reach a settlement.

    Current negotiations will somehow end one day... If the Greek Cypriot side has the right to disagree, we have, too. I believe that the Turks of Cyprus are not complaining of living under the roof of their own state, the Premier went on saying.

    Baris Tilki, who was heading the visiting delegation, said the Union is in favour of a two-state solution on a bi-zonal ground and express support to Prime Minister Eroglu in the presidential race.

    Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.02.10) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Dervis Eroglu, said Thursday it was their wish to come to an agreement in Cyprus that will facilitate a solution based on two states. Speaking to reporters in Lefkosia, Prime Minister Eroglu stressed that, sooner or later, negotiations in Cyprus will end. Just as there is a right to reach an agreement, there is also a right not to agree, Prime Minister Eroglu underlined. We are seeking for a solution in Cyprus before our patience runs over, Eroglu added.

    [04] The Turkish Cypriot Platform considers the decision of the assembly, as regards the guarantorship rights, insufficient

    Under the title The decision of the assembly is insufficient, Turkish daily Vatan newspaper (26.02.10) reports that Huseyin Alasya, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot Platform, evaluated in his statements yesterday the decision adopted by the assembly of the breakaway regime on the issue of guarantees which, inter alia, says that the guarantees of Turkey are vital and the most fundamental element of the solution to be found to the Cyprus problem.

    Mr Alasya described the context of the decision insufficient and said that it is a decision which is far away from its goal. Mr Alasya said, inter alia, the following: With a grain of salt we see that the expressions, TRNC state and sovereignty are not included in the text of the decision as single words.

    Meanwhile, illegal Bayrak television (25.02.10) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Greek Cypriot resolution rejecting guarantorship rights continues to draw strong reaction from civil society organizations in the TRNC.

    Members of the National Resistance Council visited the Speaker of the Parliament Hasan Bozer before yesterdays extraordinary session of the [self-styled] Republics Assembly to voice their concerns on the issue. Members of the Council said that it should be made clear that Turkeys active and effective guarantee, sovereignty rights, political equality, bi-state system and the sovereignty of the TRNC will not be abandoned.

    Another reaction came from Saglik-Sen trade union, which strongly condemned the Greek Cypriot resolution, stressing that Turkeys guarantorship rights cannot be debated.

    The Cyprus Turkish Teachers Union (KTOS) General Secretary Sener Elcil, on his part, claimed that the debate started in the North [occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus] and the South [government-controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus] over the issue of guarantees was a game being played by those wanting to sabotage the negotiation process.

    [05] Public opinion polls regarding the forthcoming presidential elections and the solution of the Cyprus problem

    The Turkish Cypriot press publishes today (26.02.10) two public opinion polls regarding the forthcoming presidential elections to be held on April 18 and about the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Yeni Duzen publishes an opinion poll conducted by the Elite Research Agency firm which is located in Turkey, according to which the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat is leading the presidential race with 37%.

    Asked who would vote for president if elections were held today, the participants in the survey replied the following: Mehmet Ali Talat, 36.6%, Dervis Eroglu 30.9%, Tahsin Ertugruloglu 11.0%, Turgay Avci 6.8%, Rauf Denktas 4.5%, Serdar Denktas, 4.1%, Mehmet Cakici 1.6% Zeki Besiktepeli 1.5%, Mustafa Arabacioglu 1.3% and others 1.8%.

    Asked about the solution of the Cyprus problem, 34% stated that they want two separate states, the TRNC and North Cyprus, 30% wants federation, 21% has no opinion, 9% wants a single state and 6% wants integration with Turkey.

    The opinion poll was conducted by the Elite Research Agency between February 13 and 21, 2010, with a sample of 800 persons with face-to-face interviews in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    In addition, Gunes, Halkin Sesi and Haberdar newspapers publish an opinion poll which was conducted by the Redborder research firm, according to which the self-styled prime minister of the occupation regime, Dervis Eroglu, is leading the presidential race with 49.4%.

    According to the results of the survey, if presidential elections were held in the occupied areas today, Dervis Eroglu would receive 49.4%, Mehmet Ali Talat 30.4% and a 3rd candidate, who is not specified, 2.3%. In addition, 17.9% stated that they are undecided or they would not vote for anyone.

    Asked what they would vote if a solution plan, similar to the Annan Plan, was presented to them 51.8% stated that it would vote no, 28.8% stated that it would vote yes, and 19.4% stated that it has no opinion on the issue.

    Asked what should happen in case a solution is not found until April, 53.1% stated that the TRNC must be recognized, 17.2% stated that the negotiations must start again, 12.9% stated that the occupation regime should be united with Turkey, 8.8% stated that the Taiwan model should be adopted, 5.5% stated that the current situation must go on and 2.5% has no opinion.

    Asked which party they would vote in case there were parliamentary elections tomorrow, 44.4% stated that it would vote for the National Unity Party, 18.8% stated that it would vote for the Republican Turkish Party, 5.4% stated that it would vote for the Democratic Party, 3.4% stated that it would vote for the Social Democracy Party, 2.9% stated that it would vote for the Freedom and Reform Party, 1.6% for the United Cyprus Party, 6.6% are mixed votes and 16.9% stated that they are undecided or that they would not vote for anyone .

    The opinion poll was conducted by the Redborder research firm between February 11 and 19, 2010, with a sample of 1000 persons with face-to-face interviews in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    (CS)

    [06] MAP to support Eroglu if Talat runs as a candidate for the so-called presidential election in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak television (25.02.10) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    The Leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) and Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu has visited the Nationalist Justice Party (MAP) to ask its support for his candidacy. MAP Leader Ata Tepe said his party will support Mr Eroglu if President Talat stands as a candidate in the Presidential elections.

    Speaking after the meeting, Mr Tepe pointed out that there is only one candidate for the presidency, adding that if President Talat stands for re-election, his party will call on everyone to support Mr Eroglu. If Mr Talat stands as a candidate at the cost of polarizing the people in the country, we invite all those in support of the perpetuation of the TRNC to support you, Mr Tepe told the UBP Leader.

    Welcoming Mr Tepes statement, Mr Eroglu said he wanted to unite with the people to continue the existence of the state. The Prime Minister also reacted to statements issued by foreign dignitaries over the TRNC presidential elections saying that the Turks of Cyprus do not ask for permission from the European Union and the United Nations to support a candidate.

    Yesterday, Mr Eroglu visited the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) to ask its support in the elections.

    [07] Will Serdar Denktas be the third candidate for the so-called presidential elections?

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (26.02.10), citing information, reports that the chairman of the Democratic Party (DP) Serdar Denktas may be the third candidate for the forthcoming presidential elections. The paper writes that DP failed to find a third candidate to support for the elections apart of Dervis Eroglu and Mehmet Ali Talat. Therefore, the party plans its leader, Serdar Denktas, to run as the third candidate.

    (CS)

    [08] The self-styled government did not pay the salaries of the workers in the public sector yet; Eroglu to visit Istanbul today

    Under the title The government could not pay the salaries, Turkish daily Africa newspaper (26.02.10) reports on statements made by the self-styled Minister of Finance Ersin Tatar, who has stated that the salaries of the workers in the public sector was not possible to be paid yet due to the fact that the money for the salaries which were expected to be given from Turkey, was not possible to be transferred to the account of the Central Bank yet.

    Ersin Tatar made the above statements to the illegal TAK and added that the salaries will be paid on Monday since today is holiday. He then said that they need the amount of approximately 20 trillion for the salaries to be paid and added that the money, which are in the treasuries of the occupation regime, are not enough for the payments to be made.

    Speaking on the issue before entering the meeting of the council of ministers, Prime Minister Eroglu said that the salaries was not possible to be paid due to the delay which was observed during the procedure of transferring the money from Turkey. Mr Eroglu said that there is no doubt that the salaries of the workers will be paid and added that he will make a request to the banks for the payments to be made until tomorrow in case the money from Turkey comes until tonight.

    Meanwhile, Turkish daily Vatan newspaper (26.02.10) reports that Prime Minister Eroglu will depart tonight at 19:00 for Istanbul upon an invitation he received from the Turkish State Minister, Faruk Celik. The self-styled Prime Minister will participate at a luncheon which will be given by a Turkish NGO. Mr Eroglu is expected to return to the occupied areas of Cyprus tomorrow at 21:30. As the paper writes, Mr Eroglu, during his trip to Istanbul, will be accompanied by his executive assistant, Gokturk Otuken.

    (AK)

    [09] The occupation regime granted the TRNC citizenship to 1064 persons in 9 months

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (26.02.10) reports that the occupation regime granted the TRNC citizenship to 1064 persons in 9 months.

    Speaking on the issue, the self-styled minister of interior of the occupation regime, Ilkay Kamil, stated that since he came to office, 837 persons were granted the TRNC citizenship because they married Turkish Cypriots. In addition, 36 persons were granted the TRNC citizenship after an approval from his ministry and 62 persons because they were the wives and the children of them. Moreover, 44 persons were granted the TRNC citizenship upon a decision of the council of minister and 85 persons because they were the wives and the children of them.

    (CS)

    [10] Turkey and the breakaway regime sign protocol for the participation of Turkish Cypriot teams in the Turkish Handball Super League

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.02.10) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    A protocol has been signed between Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) which will pave the way for a team from the TRNC to participate in Turkey's Handball Super League. The protocol was signed by TRNC's Minister of National Education, Youth and Sports Kemal Durust, the Chairman of Turkey's Handball Federation Tarik Cengiz and Chairman of TRNC's Handball Federation Baris Toprakci.

    Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Kemal Durust said that there is a government [meaning the self-styled government in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus] here and many young Turkish Cypriots are present who are willing and struggling to participate in sportive activities. The protocol signed today will make it possible for the TRNC teams to participate in Turkish Handball Super League. At the end of this day, today's protocol will shed light to other federations in the TRNC, Durust underlined.

    Baris Toprakci stressed that the protocol signed on Thursday was a great event for Turkish Cypriots.

    [11] Gul, Erdogan and Basbug meet amid the latest developments in Turkey

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (25.02.10) reported the following:

    Turkey's top three figures come together for a mini summit to discuss the ongoing civil-military strife. Afterward, President Gul declares that the conflict will be resolved and asks for all citizens to act responsibly. The meeting could help reduce tensions, but recall that there is still ambiguity over the fate of these arrested officers, says an observer.

    A rare meeting Thursday between Turkey's President, Prime Minister and Chief of General Staff has concluded with a vow from the Presidency that the current civil-military tensions will be resolved within the framework of the Constitution. President Abdullah Gul took on the role of broker as he invited Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug to join in a three-hour meeting to discuss the ongoing crisis between the government and the military. This latest crisis erupted following the detention on Monday of nearly 50 former and active officers on charges of plotting in 2003 to overthrow the government.

    During the meeting, the issues that are being discussed by the public were handled in depth. Our citizens should be confident that these issues will be solved within the constitutional order and within the framework of our laws, and in this process, everyone should act responsibly in order to not tarnish our institutions, a brief statement issued by the Office of the Presidency after the meeting read. Erdogan and Basbug were seen carrying briefcases as they entered the Office of the Presidency.

    Tension between the government and the military escalated once again following Monday's detentions, which included former air and naval forces commanders and former 1st Army generals. According to the chief of General Staff, a spontaneous meeting was held Tuesday with the participation of all generals and admirals to assess the serious situation.

    It was a very good meeting, Erdogan told reporters at Parliament, without further elaborating on the issue. But veteran journalists said this meeting would have only a limited effect on the ongoing judicial process that has resulted in the detention of many prominent military figures.

    It's not possible to know what has been discussed, but we can say that this meeting could help reduce the tension, Bilal Cetin, Ankara representative and columnist for daily Vatan, said in an interview with the CNN Turk on Thursday. But we should recall that the judicial process is still ongoing and there is still ambiguity over the fate of these arrested officers.

    One important point the brief post-meeting statement underscored was in the reference to the constitutional order being the source of the solution to the problem. While this reference could be interpreted as the military reiterating its commitment to democratic order, it could also be seen as saying that the armed forces' possible future reactions will be within the laws. Another point dealt with protecting institutions, namely the Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, during the judicial process. Basbug had earlier complained through newspapers and some Web sites about an ongoing, asymmetric campaign against the military. In addition, the top general has said he is very disturbed about the way the former generals were taken into custody. Rumours of the potential resignation of the entire command structure have shaken the Turkish capital in the wake of the growing disturbance in the military Tuesday and Wednesday.

    I did not get the impression that they would resign. They even did not imply [that], Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said in an interview with daily Hurriyet on Thursday. Cicek was the first government official to meet with Basbug and other top military personnel Monday just hours after the arrests. However, the situation is very disturbing for them. Their old friends, their comrades in arms, have been arrested on very serious charges. It obviously shakes them and they have a deep sorrow about it, Cicek said. In addition, they also underline the importance of the Turkish Armed Forces as a valuable institution of this country, the deputy prime minister said. They, of course, point out that the criminals are to be prosecuted, but beyond this point they also express sorrow for systematic attacks on them and voice their demand that these are stopped.

    Basbug, speaking to reporters at Parliament later, dismissed claims that the government would decide to hold early elections. Turkey should get used to having elections on time, he said.

    Regarding constitutional changes, Erdogan told journalists, Keep following us."

    [12] "European Parliament Rapporteur calls for new charter as a way out"

    Under the above title, Hurriyet Daily News (25.02.10) reported the following:

    The European Commission expresses concerns over serious allegations of coup plotting in Turkey as the European Parliament closely follows the latest developments. If you want to modernize your country and turn it into a harmonious society, you need to have new rules, says the European Parliament's Turkey Rapporteur.

    Creating a new Constitution that belongs to society is the way for Turkey to escape the current tension caused by the arrests of active and retired high-ranking military officers, a European Parliament official has said. Turkey has to install all the rules, perhaps in a new Constitution that belongs to a society where the rule of law prevails, Dutch parliamentarian and Turkey Rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten told the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review in a telephone interview.

    Alleged military plans to overthrow the government led to the detention of nearly 50 commanders early this week in the highest-level crackdown ever on the military, which has ousted four governments since 1960. The European Commission has expressed concerns over serious allegations of coup plotting in Turkey and the European Parliament is closely following the latest developments.

    What I would like to see is a real oversight and a real control of the public sector on the military. That means, it should be the Parliament and the government that have control, said Oomen-Ruijten. The military should be controlled by that society, not society by the military. If they can now make good arrangements, then everybody will be happy, the politician added, urging the creation of a new Constitution including reforms in the judicial area as well as in the civil-military relationship. Such reforms, she said, would address part of the Copenhagen criteria, which Turkey must comply with in order to receive full membership in the European Union. If you want to modernize your country and turn it into a harmonious society, you need to have new rules and these new rules need to be laid down in a Constitution, Oomen-Ruijten said. The oversight of Parliament on the military and judicial reforms is urgently needed, absolutely.

    The politician declined to comment on the Ergenekon case, which is an investigation into a suspected gang that allegedly sought to topple the ruling party, and the speculation that the latest crackdown is politically driven. All investigations into the Ergenekon affairs should give a view of what has been happening in Turkey in the past years. Following the investigations, everybody needs to have a fair trial, said Oomen-Ruijten. I do not want to make any comment on whether it is politically driven or not, she said. I hope that in a state where you have a real democracy and where you have the rule of law, justice also needs to be independent and impartial.

    Turkey, an EU candidate country, began formal negotiations in October 2005, but the pace of the talks has been slow since then for a number of reasons, including the ongoing conflict over Cyprus.

    [13] PM Erdogan to chair reform watch group for first time

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (26.02.10) reports the following:

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will for the first time chair a meeting of the Reform Watch Group, established to oversee the process of Turkeys accession to the European Union, on Sunday.

    The meeting will be hosted by State Minister and chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis and will be attended by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Interior Minister Besir Atalay, and Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin at the Prime Ministrys office in Dolmabahce Palace.

    A statement released by the Secretariat General for European Affairs (ABGS) heralded Erdogans chairmanship of the meeting and underlined that one of the leading dynamics of Turkeys accession process is political reforms aimed at achieving contemporary standards on the foundation of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Stressing that the Reform Watch Group has gathered five times in just the last year and put its seal on important decisions, the statement pledges that it will continue its work aiming to make Turkey more democratic, free, peaceful and esteemed at full pace.

    The Reform Watch Group was established in September 2003 and has so far been convened under the co-chairmanship of the justice and interior ministries as well as the foreign ministry and the state ministry for EU affairs.

    [14] Turkey and France sign economic partnership MoU

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.02.10) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish State Minister for foreign trade Zafer Caglayan and French Minister of State for foreign trade Anne-Marie Idrac signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the end of the second meeting of Turkey-France Economic and Commercial Partnership Committee in Ankara on Thursday.

    Delivering a speech during the signing ceremony, Caglayan said Turkish and French businessmen could work together in third countries. 750-800 French-origin companies were operating in Turkey, Caglayan said. State Minister Caglayan said that Turkey deserves to be a full member of the EU given its strategic and geographical location and its role as a bridge between the east and the west. Turkey will strengthen the EU, he said.

    On her part, Idrac said that the two countries were determined to boost the trade volume to 15 billion Euros in 2011. Turkey and France could cooperate in the areas of energy, transportation and environment, she said. Idrac said in regards to Turkey's EU accession process, the EU opened two chapters of the negotiations during the presidency of France.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [15] From the Turkish Press of 25 February 2010

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish Press on 25 February 2010:

    Arrest of Generals and Admirals:

    In an article in Milliyet, Taha Akyol argues that the Sledgehammer investigation may be legal, but the way it is being conducted pushes the limits of moderation. If the alleged coup plans remained in the sphere of plans and not action, he notes, technically no crime was committed. Nevertheless, he says, there are signs that the plans were beyond an idea, that there was an organization and distribution of roles. So, conducting the investigation is justified, but there was no need to detain the generals, he says, and inviting them to police headquarters for a statement would have been more appropriate. "Justice gains respect not only through the implementation of the law, but through respecting personalities, individual freedoms, and the supremacy of the law by means of wise decisions," he adds.

    In the same context, Akyol raises the issue of the imprisonment of Vatan correspondent Aylin Duruoglu and her acquittal during her first hearing after 300 days in prison. Under the law, he says, the situation of the suspect should be brought before a judge every month. If that had been done, Aylin would have been freed after 30 days. He concludes: "Who is responsible? Professional responsibility is a complicated matter... In such cases, the political responsibility lies with the government, with the justice minister. It is the government that is responsible for judiciary services vis-a-vis the public."

    Mehmet Ali Birand ponders the question of whether General Basbug, chief of the General Staff, may resign in light of the developments, and implies that possible changes in balance within the military may be changed. In an article in Hurriyet Daily News.com, Birand also views the "gossip" about a new case against the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP. He says: "This venture targets a punishment of the AKP. It's been labelled a compensation for the investigations and arrests."

    "They say military Tutelage is over; don't make me laugh," is the title of an article by Emre Akoz in Sabah. The columnist maintains that without radical reforms, the military tutelage regime will not end, because "the military which forms the nucleus of this anti-democratic order is not alone. There is a powerful coalition against democracy, a coalition that includes the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Council of State, and the HSYK [Judges and Prosecutors Supreme Council]. The CHP [Republican People's Party] and the MHP [Nationalist Action Party] are the political supporters and representatives of this coalition. The Bar Association leadership, the Union of Judges and Prosecutors, the Istanbul Bar Association and other organizations also support it. There are indeed many democrats within the military, the bar associations, the organizations we listed, and similar bodies, but their impact is weak. The majority and the organization want the bureaucratic governance to go on."

    Under the headline, "He took part in 'cage' meeting despite that memory loss," Yeni Safak runs a front-page report which asserts that it has turned out that Former Gendarmerie Commander Sener Eruygur, "who did not even give testimony [as a suspect in the Ergenekon probe] on the grounds that he was suffering from amnesia," met with around seven senior generals implicated in an assassination plan called "Operation Cage" to discuss measures against the Ergenekon investigation only eight months after he was released from prison.

    In an article entitled "If we do not factor in the March 1 authorization motion", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru argues that some of the "preposterous" details in the alleged coup plan called Operation Sledgehammer such as the bombing of mosques and the downing of a Turkish warplane begin to make sense when the plan is understood to have been based on the scenario of Turkey's involvement in the US-led war on Iraq as a result of the Turkish parliament's expected adoption of the March 1, 2003, authorization motion.

    Under the banner headline, "Kilic issues manifesto," Vakit carries a front-page report which highlights Constitutional Court President Hasim Kilic's "manifesto-like" remarks on the ongoing "judicial crisis" in Turkey. The report quotes Kilic as saying, "It is dishonourable [for anybody] to aid their supporters or promote their faith or ideology on the pretext of championing the principle of judicial independence. ... State power cannot be used illegally as a means of bringing society into line. Public officials who are entrusted with the power to enforce laws do not have the right to use it to threaten and intimidate society."

    In an article entitled "This country has seen a Chief of Staff arrested", Vakit Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya responds to main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal's remarks criticizing the latest military detentions in the investigation into Operation Sledgehammer as an unprecedented instance of force commanders being taken into custody and asserting that such extensive police operations against army officials have never taken place in any democratic country. In trying to refute Baykal's assertion, Karakaya relates how Former Chief of the General Staff Rustu Erdelhun was arrested by a brigadier general and a first lieutenant in the May 27, 1960 coup. He also calls on Baykal to "admit that those who executed the prime minister and two cabinet members and placed the chief of staff and even the president under arrest [in that military takeover] were the members of a fascist junta."

    In an article entitled "Is Baykal a putschist?", Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone censures CHP leader Deniz Baykal for "blatantly" defending the recently disclosed "coup plan" dated 2003 in terms that suggest he is "either a member of that putschist team or their press officer." He also suggests the following possibilities regarding the reasons for the CHP leader's "resolute" defence of the architects of the said plan: 1. He is a politician groomed and installed in politics by coup conspirators. 2. He was meant to play a role in the execution of the plan in question. 3. He expected to be appointed as prime minister in the wake of a successful coup.

    EG/


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