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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-03-03

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. 41/10 03.03.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Eroglu expresses his satisfaction with the statement by Cicek that Turkeys Cyprus policy does not depend on who the Turkish Cypriot leader is; He is visiting Ankara tomorrow
  • [02] Ercakica said they should not take offence at Cemil Ciceks and the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs statements regarding the elections
  • [03] Egemen Bagis and Mehmet Ali Talat comment on Prime Minister Erdogans interview to Greek and Turkish Cypriot journalists on the Cyprus problem
  • [04] Schulz said that the Cyprus problem is the last problem within the EU that has not been solved
  • [05] Tahsin Ertugruloglu may be the third candidate for the presidential elections
  • [06] Oramses: Were not giving up fight yet
  • [07] Embargoed! to hold seminars in London and a closed session at the House of Lords on the property issue in occupied Cyprus
  • [08] Turkish Cypriot KTOEOS and the Egyptian Trade Union of Education sign protocol of co-operation
  • [09] Davutoglu discusses Cyprus problem with his Egyptian counterpart and defines Egypt as Turkeys strategic partner
  • [10] Turkey's unemployment rate announced as 14% for 2009
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [11] From the Turkish Press of 02 March 2010

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Eroglu expresses his satisfaction with the statement by Cicek that Turkeys Cyprus policy does not depend on who the Turkish Cypriot leader is; He is visiting Ankara tomorrow

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.03.10) reports that the self-styled prime minister, Dervis Eroglu has expressed his satisfaction with the statement made by the Turkish State Minister, Cemil Cicek that the policy of Turkey in Cyprus is not determined according to who the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community is. In an interview with Resat Akar, general director of Kibris Media Group, Mr Eroglu was asked to comment on the statement made by the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat to Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper that if he loses the elections, the policy of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) will also lose. He said the following: According to me, this smells a little bit threat. As if this is a statement that threatens Turkey. The statement made by Turkey is satisfactory, because it is out of the question for Turkey to interfere in the presidency. Messages exist in the statement made by Cemil Cicek that Turkeys policies are not determined according to persons.

    Responding to a question on whether the negotiations will be interrupted if he is elected, Mr Eroglu said he will not interrupt the negotiations but he will continue to negotiate by protecting the rights of his people. He alleged: If everything which is put in front of us is accepted, then there will be no negotiations. The indispensable conditions of the Turkish side will be put onto the table. Close dialogue with Turkey will exist while the negotiations are held. An agreement which satisfies the people should be made. At the negotiating table I could say that Morfou cannot be given. Will I be intransigent, if I say this? The TRNC people wish to live on this land in peace and tranquillity

    Mr Eroglu said also that he will visit Ankara tomorrow in order to meet with President Abdullah Gul and the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He noted that he will discuss with them the measures which should be taken for the solution of the problems created by the recent floods in the occupied areas of Cyprus. He said this was the second disaster experienced in the occupied areas of Cyprus after the recent floods in Morfou area and added that if Turkey helps them, the difficulties will be diminished. Mr Eroglu said the budget of the breakaway regime cannot bear this burden.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Ercakica said they should not take offence at Cemil Ciceks and the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs statements regarding the elections

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.03.10) reports that Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat, has said that they should not take offence at the statement made by the Turkish State Minister, Cemil Cicek and the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs which are a clear message that they support the Turkish Cypriot people and the pursued policies. During his weekly press briefing yesterday, Mr Ercakica evaluated Mr Ciceks statement that Turkey supports the Turkish Cypriot people and its constructive policies, which was made after an interview by the Turkish Cypriot leader with Turkish Milliyet newspaper. Mr Ercakica said that Mr Talat did not use the expression that if I lose, the AKP policy will also lose, which was the title of the interview. He noted that when Mr Talat was asked on whether the policy of the AKP in Cyprus will lose, if he loses the elections, he replied that it is true, this is what will happen and that this policy will lose, even if this will happen indirectly.

    Mr Ercakica said that they should not take offence at these statements because the TRNC people will be the one that will elect the president.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (03.03.10) refers to the same press briefing and reports that Mr Ercakica alleged that the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan gave very important messages during the recent meeting he had in Istanbul with Greek and Turkish Cypriot journalists. He claimed that these messages should be taken into consideration from the point of view of the importance attached by the Turkish side to the solution. He alleged that the support of Turkey to the process was meaningful and didactic during these days when intensive debates are experienced within the Greek Cypriot community.

    Mr Ercakica alleged that the quake in the Greek Cypriot side derives from the stable and determined stance of the Turkish side in favor of the solution and added that if the Turkish Cypriots continue to follow the same stance either the Greek Cypriot side will come to its senses and contribute to the solution process or the Turkish Cypriots will gain advantage from the new situation which will come up in the end of the debates in the Greek Cypriot side.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Egemen Bagis and Mehmet Ali Talat comment on Prime Minister Erdogans interview to Greek and Turkish Cypriot journalists on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (02.03.10) reports on the interview Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave on Saturday to Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot journalists on the Cyprus problem at the Dolmabache Palace in Istanbul and inter alia, the paper writes as follows:

    The clear message was that any deal that Talat and his associates reach will have Turkeys full blessing as long as it is based on political equality, Egemen Bagis, state minister and chief negotiator for EU talks who also attended the meeting, told the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review.

    A statement from Talats office welcomed Erdogans efforts to reach out to the Greek Cypriot side. The messages of Erdogan in his statement at the weekend and especially his effort to convey them to the Greek Cypriot people through Greek Cypriot intellectuals is the most recent and clearest expression of the Turkish side's decisiveness about a settlement, read the statement from the presidents office.

    Bagis made it clear that Turkey is not the only country that has troops on the island. Other countries should consider withdrawing their troops from the island, he said.

    [04] Schulz said that the Cyprus problem is the last problem within the EU that has not been solved

    Illegal Bayrak television (02.03.10) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat came together with the head of the European Socialists Group in the European Parliament (EP), Martin Schulz at the Presidential Palace today. Speaking during the visit, Schulz expressed support to the peace process in Cyprus and stressed the need for maintaining the negotiations. He underlined the view that the Turks of Cyprus should take their place within the European Union.

    President Talat, for his part, stressed that the solution of the Cyprus problem is the only path that the Cyprus Turkish people shall follow and reminded of the fact that the EU has responsibilities in a possible settlement. The President complained, however, that the Turks of Cyprus could not become part of the EU and remain distressed under international isolations.

    Talat went on saying that the negotiations process is continuing slowly and needs to be accelerated. Expressing his disappointment over the two seats of the Cyprus Turkish people at EP which are being used by Greek Cypriots, President Talat expressed the belief that the Turks of Cyprus will gain their rightful position at EP with the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (03.03.10) reports in an article entitled The Cyprus problem is the last problem within the EU that has not been solved..., that Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met yesterday with Martin Schulz, President of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament and his delegation.

    According to the paper, Mr Schulz began his speech by addressing Mr Talat as follows: Esteemed President, I thank you. Noting that the Cyprus problem is the last problem within the EU that has not been solved, Mr Schulz also said that the existence of the TRNCs people should be secured within the EU and this guarantee was given in past years.

    Referring to his meeting with the President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias, Mr Schulz said that they had agreed that peace negotiations should be continued with determination. He also added that he believes that his contacts in Cyprus were valuable.

    On his part, Mr Talat said that all people living in Cyprus wish for a Cyprus settlement, adding that the EU has responsibilities under a possible settlement. He also said that an agreement should have been reached by now, however, the negotiation process is continuing slowly. Even so, Mr Talat said that they have made good progress and added that it is time that the EU should also take the Greek Cypriot sides hand in encouragement.

    Finally, referring to a pair of seats at the European Parliament supposedly reserved for Turkish Cypriots but which are being occupied by Greek Cypriots, Mr Talat thanked Mr Schulz for his support by saying that they should hurry in order to take their seats in the European Parliament.

    Mr Schulz also had a working lunch with the leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Ferdi Sabit Soyer. Prior to the lunch, Mr Schulz told the media that they are examining what can be done in order to accelerate the negotiation process. He also said that it is important to get details regarding the latest developments on the island and take them back to Brussels.

    Mr Soyer, on his part, stressed the importance of the Socialists Groups visit and added that they would discuss the latest developments on the Cyprus problem as well as strengthening relations between the Turkish Cypriots and the European Parliament. Mr Soyer also said that he believes that the Groups contacts will create the necessary initiatives for the sake of peace and for settlement.

    (DPs)

    [05] Tahsin Ertugruloglu may be the third candidate for the presidential elections Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar and Havadis newspapers report today (03.03.10) that the MP with the National Unity Party (UBP) Tahsin Ertugruloglu may be the third candidate for the forthcoming presidential elections to be held in the occupied areas of Cyprus on 18th of April 2010.

    Haberdar, citing reliable sources, writes that Mr Ertugruloglu will participate in the presidential elections as an independent candidate. Mr Ertugruloglu is expected to announce his candidature the later in the forthcoming week.

    According to the paper, the Democratic Party (DP) and the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) may support Ertugruloglus candidature. According to the sources cited by Haberdar, in the framework of these developments, Mr Ertugruloglu is holding contacts with other MPs with UBP and organizations which are close to him.

    Reporting on the same issue, Havadis columnist Basaran Duzgun writes that the fact that Mr Ertugruloglu may be the third candidate for the presidential elections was the main issue of discussion yesterday at the political backstage in the occupied areas of Cyprus. According to Basaran Duzgun, as soon as Mr Ertugruloglu announces his candidature, DP and ORP will announce their support towards him.

    Meanwhile, in an interview with Resat Akar, general director of Kibris Media Group, which was published on Kibris today (03.03.10) the self-styled prime minister Dervis Eroglu was asked whether some MPs or members of the National Unity Party (UBP) might resign from the party before the illegal presidential elections. Mr Eroglu said that he became candidate having the support of all the MPs of the UBP and all of them signed this decision. If they abandon us, the people will definitely not forgive them, he said.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper reports today (03.03.10) that the Morfou branch of DP decided that the party should support neither Talat nor Eroglu for the forthcoming presidential elections. According to the paper, the party must participate in the elections with an independent candidate. DP Morfou branch made this announcement on Monday, during a meeting that Serdar Denktas, DPs leader, held with the branch, in the framework of the contacts he is having with his partys organizations for the elections.

    (CS)

    [06] Oramses: Were not giving up fight yet

    Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Midweek Cyprus Today newspaper (03.03.10) reports the following:

    The British couple ordered to quit and demolish their Lapta [occupied Lapithos] villa in a landmark property case are staging a fresh attempt to cancel the court decision against them.

    Linda and David Orams have petitioned the Supreme Court in England and Wales for the right to appeal against a January ruling, which effectively ended their five-year legal battle.

    The Court of Appeal in London ruled that, in line with a European Court of Justice verdict in April last year, a judgement in one European Union member state must be enforced in another.

    This meant a 2004 South Nicosia District court ruling against the Oramses must be enforced in the UK, with the couple, from Hove, Sussex, told to surrender the land to Greek Cypriot Meletis Apostolides, demolish the villa they spent 160,000 on finishing off, pay back-rent, compensation and court costs.

    Now, however, their legal team is challenging the Court of Appeals decision that there was no bias on the part of Judge Vassilios Skouris, president of the ECJ. It also says the court failed to accept the ruling would be against public policy in the UK and Europe.

    It had argued an appearance of bias on the part of Judge Skouris, who had received the Grand Cross of the Order of Makarios III, the highest honor in South Cyprus, and also met with a delegation of Greek Cypriot politicians before the ruling was made last year.

    If the legal challenge succeeds the case could be returned to the ECJ, but not with Judge Skouriss involvement.

    A spokesman for Herbert Smith LLP, the London law firm representing the couple, told Cyprus Today: Mr and Mrs Orams have considered the implications of the judgment of the Court of Appeal and believe the court erred in law, both in concluding that no appearance of bias arose in view of Judge Skouriss participation in the case and in declining to make a further reference to the ECJ on the issue of whether the recognition and enforcement of the judgments of the South Nicosia District Court would be contrary to public policy. Mr and Mrs Orams therefore applied to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal on February 16.

    The Court of Appeal had also ruled that the Oramses, who bought the land in Lapta [occupied Lapithos] in 2002 for 50,000, would not be allowed any further appeals in the case.

    They were given until February 23 to make their arguments, with Mr Apostolides being given until yesterday to put forward his views on the petition.

    Neither the Oramses nor Constantis Candounas, representing Mr Apostolides, wanted to comment on the latest court action.

    No date has been set for the Supreme Court to make a decision on whether to accept the challenge.

    [07] Embargoed! to hold seminars in London and a closed session at the House of Lords on the property issue in occupied Cyprus

    Under the title Legal help on property issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Midweek Cyprus Today newspaper (03.03.10) reports the following:

    Turkish Cypriot human rights group Embargoed! is hosting two days of seminars on the property issue in North Cyprus. The London events will involve legal experts and community representatives from the TRNC.

    Solving the Cyprus Property Conundrum will also include a closed session at the House of Lords and a public seminar at the London School of Economics.

    Following the event Embargoed! plans to write its own White Paper and also produce a leaflet advising people affected by the Cyprus property problem, including those who may face an Orams-style legal challenge.

    Human rights lawyer Emine Erk, Ergun Olgun, a former presidential adviser and one of the co-founders of the Besparmak Group, Erol Kaymak, chairman of the Department of International Relations at Eastern Mediterranean University, and Cyprus Today columnist, ex-MP and British Residents Society vice-chairman Stephen Day are among the speakers being lined up for the events, on March 15 and 16.

    The House of Lords event is being hosted by Lord Wallace of Saltaire, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat peers and his partys foreign affairs spokesman in the Lords, on March 15.

    It will be followed at 6.30pm with the seminar in Room D302, on the third floor of Clement House at the London School of Economics, Aldwych.

    On March 16, former TRNC Attorney-General Zaim Necatigil will be leading a round-table legal discussion on Cypriot property cases.

    [08] Turkish Cypriot KTOEOS and the Egyptian Trade Union of Education sign protocol of co-operation

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (04.03.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Secondary Education Teachers Union (KTOEOS) and the General Trade Union of Education and Scientific Research (GTUESR) of Egypt signed a protocol in order to sustain their co-operation. The protocol foresees support towards the Turkish Cypriots trade union, for the beginning of cooperation with the member organisations of the Arab Federation, as well as support during international meetings. Moreover, the protocol foresees the improvement of cultural and social relations through mutual visits, education projects and joint activities.

    According to statements made by the KTOEOS chairman, Mr Adnan Eraslan, KTOEOS exerts efforts in order to create co-operation bonds with the world trade unions, as well as to improve relations with the African and the European countries. Mr Eraslan, stated that the above-mentioned protocol was signed in the framework of the protocol signed between the two trade unions on August 13, 2009, and it aims in making more permanent the joint activities.

    On his part, GTUESR chairman, Mr El Sayed Abu El Magud Hazma, stated that this move is a sign of the deep relations between the two trade unions. He added that this protocol will be for the benefit of both Egypt and the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus and noted that the greatest aim of KTOEOS and GTUESR is co-operation between the ministries of education of Egypt and the breakaway regime to be established.

    (EA)

    [09] Davutoglu discusses Cyprus problem with his Egyptian counterpart and defines Egypt as Turkeys strategic partner

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.03.10) reported the following from Cairo:

    The Turkish foreign minister defined on Tuesday Egypt as a strategic partner.Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Egypt was a strategic partner of Turkey, sharing many regional problems. Turkey attaches great importance to developing our relations with Egypt on a strategic ground, Davutoglu told a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit.

    Davutoglu is actually paying a formal visit to Cairo, Egypt and earlier met President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak.

    The Turkish minister defined bilateral relations as perfect, and said two countries were in a continuous political dialogue.

    Davutoglu expressed the two countries' determination to maintain high-level dialogue, and defined economic relations as perfect as well.

    The trade volume between Turkey and Egypt has been over 3 billion USD.

    Davutoglu said he discussed with Gheit common regional matters, particularly issues concerning the Middle East and the Mediterranean. We both think the Middle East peace process should speed up, he said.

    Davutoglu appreciated Egypt's efforts aiming to seek compromise among the Palestinians, and expressed the two countries' determination to cooperate in the Middle East peace process.

    The Turkish minister said establishing a Palestinian state and solving the Palestinian problem were the common goals of Turkey and Egypt. We have also decided to work together in the East Mediterranean and Balkans, Caucasus and Africa, he said.

    Davutoglu said the strategic dialogue between Turkey and Egypt would contribute to settlement of peace and stability in all of the above mentioned geographies.

    The Turkish foreign minister underlined the importance of holding the upcoming Iraqi elections in a peaceful atmosphere which would contribute to Iraq's stability, and said maintaining stability in Lebanon would be beneficial.

    Davutoglu said increasing tension in Jerusalem, particularly that in Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa, was threatening the Middle Eastern peace and stability. Preserving the cultural identity of the city of Jerusalem and all other Palestinian cities and showing required respect to it are the sine qua non conditions in the Middle East, Davutoglu said.

    Davutoglu also said Turkey was ready to resume Syrian-Israeli negotiations in case of any demand from both parties.

    Also speaking in the press conference, Gheit said Davutoglu and he particularly debated possible contributions to Palestinian issues and peace.

    During their bilateral meeting, Davutoglu briefed Gheit on the ongoing comprehensive negotiations in Cyprus.

    Earlier on Tuesday, Davutoglu participated in a luncheon hosted in his honor and participated in the second meeting of Turkey-Egypt Strategic Dialogue Mechanism.Davutoglu is scheduled to attend a dinner this evening, and brief various ambassadors and intellectuals on Turkish foreign policy.

    [10] Turkey's unemployment rate announced as 14% for 2009

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.03.10) reported from Ankara that the unemployment rate in Turkey was 14 percent in 2009. Turkey's national statistics institution (TUIK) announced on Tuesday that the number of unemployed Turkish citizens rose by 860,000 in 2009 when compared to the previous year and stood at 3,471,000. In 2008, only 11 percent of all Turkish citizens were recorded as unemployed. Turkey's population was 72,561,312 as of December 31, 2009.

    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [11] From the Turkish Press of 02 March 2010

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 02 March 2010:

    a) Constitutional amendments and judicial reforms process:

    A report by Abdullah Karakus in Milliyet details the constitutional amendment package the government intends to submit to parliament next week. According to the report, the package, in addition to judicial reforms, includes granting civil servants the right to conclude wage agreements and introducing the system ombudsman ship and affirmative action regarding women and children.

    Speculating that the government will have to hold a referendum on its constitutional amendment package, which it refers to as "judicial reforms," since it will not muster the 367 votes needed in parliament to endorse the package, Milliyet columnist Guneri Civaoglu argues in his article that this referendum will be tantamount to casting a vote in favor or against the government. A referendum followed by general elections will create a continued two-year tension in the country, maintains Civaoglu, underlining that the economy cannot bear the burden of such a process. The writer concludes: "The ballot box calculations of the Justice and Development Party, AKP and the Republican People's Party, CHP, concern them. However, it is the people of this country who will be subjected to the economic bottlenecks to be created as a result of the ballot boxes to be set up in the country during those two years. It would be healthy to open a discussion of 'reform or deform' when the package is declared. At this junction it would be wiser to open a discussion on whether it will be a referendum or conciliation within the parliament."

    In his column in Sabah, Hincal Uluc writes that the most important gain of the Ergenekon investigation will be the judicial reforms, recalling that the Justice Ministry had been unresponsive to the calls being made on the necessity of those reforms. Uluc continues: "Now it is Prime Minister Erdogan who has said that judicial reforms are necessary. When he says it is implemented. A judicial order in line with the EU norms will be established because anything other than that is unthinkable. Otherwise, Europe, which does not view Turkey in a sympathetic light, will create a perfect excuse to sideline us."

    Viewing the constitutional amendment package the government intends to submit to parliament in an article in Vatan, Okay Gonensin writes: "Rendering the closure of parties more difficult is among the amendments that might be described as 'democratic.' Reducing the 10 percent election threshold is not among the amendments, but there is an article on 'Turkey deputyship.'" Although this proposal will not eliminate the current deficiency in representation, explains Gonensin, it will at least partially compensate it. An issue that is not included in the draft package but that the people attach great importance to is that of parliamentary immunities, explains Gonensin, adding that if the AKP includes that issue in the draft proposal by limiting the parliamentary immunities to political activities it will receive the support of the public in the event a referendum is held.

    Enumerating the various issues included in the constitutional amendment package in an article in Vatan, Mustafa Mutlu explains that since the AKP does not have the majority necessary to have the amendments endorsed in parliament it means that it is taking the risk of going to a referendum with the help of the Peace and Democracy Party, BDP. Questioning why a ruling party that has some 30 percent of the votes would want to hold a referendum, Mutlu says that there are two replies to that question: "Either it is confident that its proposals on constitutional amendments will be accepted by a great majority of the population or it is pursuing another goal of which we are unaware and which we cannot even guess." Noting that he does not believe that the government is confident that it will emerge victorious from such referendum, Mutlu underlines the existence of an unknown goal, arguing that no boxer will go on the ring knowing that he will be beaten.

    Relating an interview he held with CHP leader Deniz Baykal on the constitutional amendments and the issue of a referendum in an article in Radikal, Murat Yetkin reports the opposition party leader as having said that the government is introducing the draft amendments not in order to establish a state of law as it claims but in order to rearrange the judiciary in line with its own needs. Noting that the government decision to submit the amendment package to parliament will end with a referendum on whether the AKP should stay or go, Baykal maintains that both the judiciary and the opposition are against these amendments, adding that the AKP wants to transform the HSYK into a body similar to the Radio and Television High Council, RTUK. Questioning the legitimacy of amendments that will pass with the help of two parties that have been branded by the Constitutional Court, namely the AKP and the BDP, Baykal views the referendum as a great opportunity to oust the government.

    In an article entitled "Sleep tight with lullabies", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru criticizes main opposition Republican People's Party, CHP, leader Deniz Baykal for asserting that the ruling AKP wants to change the Constitution to be able to "beat up" the Turkish Armed Forces, TSK. Koru claims that the Turkish military itself is aware of the need for a new constitution that would enable Turkey to benefit from the "opportunities" provided by political changes taking place on a global scale. He also accuses the CHP and its leader of failing to understand the meaning of "the evolution that world politics is undergoing" and realize "the people's demand for change."

    b) Operation Sledgehammer:

    According to a report by Turgay Ipek and Gokcer Tahincioglu in Milliyet, the newly appointed Erzincan prosecutors with special powers have prepared an indictment seeking prison terms ranging from seven and half to 15 years for 16 suspects including General Saldiray Berk, commander of the 3rdArmy; Chief Public Prosecutor Ilhan Cihaner; Colonel Ali Tapan and Colonel Recep Gencoglu, commanders of the Gendarmerie; Sinasi Demir, regional director general of the National Intelligence Organization, MIT.

    Under the headline, "Berk, Cihaner included in Ergenekon probe," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which asserts that an Erzincan criminal court has agreed to hear a new indictment prepared as part of the Ergenekon investigation in this province. According to the report, Erzincan's former Chief Public Prosecutor Ilhan Cihaner and Third Army Commander General Saldiray Berk are accused of being members of a terrorist organization in the indictment.

    Under the headline, "Keep your promise, General," Vakit runs a report which asserts that all eyes have turned to Chief of Staff General Ilker Basbug now that a military forensic examination has verified the authenticity of "the plan to overthrow the AKP" signed by Navy Captain Dursun Cicek. The report calls on Basbug to honor his pledge to suspend Cicek from office if the allegations against him were proven true.

    In an article entitled "Is a wave of civilian arrests in the offing?", Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone comments on Vatan columnist Can Atakli's assertion that a wave of civilian detentions in the Ergenekon investigation might be in the pipeline and that "anybody who does not support the AKP is a potential detainee" in the said investigation. Turkone describes Atakli's remarks as an exaggerated verbalization of fears about the implications of the Ergenekon investigation that is intended to preempt the possibility of civilian arrests. He claims that Atakli's scenario is a real possibility if there are civilians involved in the anti-government conspiracies being investigated, that it is not the political authority but the judiciary that will decide on this matter, and that if such arrests do take place, "we will get to know who have been using their pens or newspapers to help set the stage for a coup and we will have deterred possible future attempts to find shortcuts to power."

    In an article entitled "From a token democracy to true democracy", Zaman columnist Sahin Alpay hails the latest military detentions in the ongoing investigations against two alleged coup conspiracies called "Operation Sledgehammer" and "Operation Cage" as a significant step toward enabling Turkey to turn from a "token democracy" into a "true democracy." Explaining why those struggling to establish a "new regime" in Turkey are "highly likely" to prevail against status quo defenders, Alpay asserts that "loyalty to the tutelage regime within the ranks of the military and the civilian bureaucracy" is increasingly weakening.

    In an article entitled "From Coercion to Cooperation", Today's Zaman columnist Lale Sariibrahimoglu calls on the Government to launch "fresh military and civilian reforms in line with the European Union's democratic criteria" to "prove to the public that the military is on trial because of serious suspicions and evidence of some of its members' involvement in unconstitutional acts." She also cites Basbug's recent meetings with Erdogan as a "positive signal" that the Turkish Armed Forces, TSK, is seeking "cooperation" with the political authority.

    In an article entitled "TSK should lead the change", Milli Gazete columnist Abdullah Ozkan asserts that the Turkish military faces the risk of losing the people's confidence because of the ongoing investigations against criminal elements within its ranks. He claims that the TSK administration can protect the army's institutional prestige only by pioneering a radical change in the military's stance in parallel with the ongoing changes in the world, an undertaking that would entail announcing that the era of military takeovers is over, that all coup attempts will be punished severely, and that the TSK will never intervene in politics from now on and carrying out structural reforms including the establishment of a professional army and the upgrading of military technologies.

    c) The U.S. House vote on the Armenian genocide bill:

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News, Ilhan Tanir views the reasons for the silence maintained by the Obama Administration regarding the Armenian genocide bill. Noting that there are two different interpretations in Washington over the withdrawn posture of the Obama Administration on the issue, Tanir explains that one is that the Administration wants the bill to pass this year in order "to sharpen the sword of Damocles to utilize more pressure over the Turkish administration for other foreign affairs matters." The second interpretation is the incompetence of "the most amateurish team of policy makers" within the Obama Administration, notes the writer.

    According to a report by Zeynep Gurcanli in Hurriyet, Prime Minister Erdogan is planning to get in touch with members of the Jewish Lobbies in Washington in a bid to prevent the discussion of the Armenian genocide bill at the US Congress. Ankara, suspecting that the bill will be adopted at the meeting of the US Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs to be held on 4 March, wants to prevent its adoption in Congress, adds the report. Noting that Erdogan is invited to attend the summit aimed at preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons to be held in Washington on 12-13 April, the report adds that during this visit Erdogan is expected to meet with representatives from powerful Jewish organizations and to seek their support in blocking the bill.

    EG/


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