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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-03-18

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. 52/10 18.03.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talats contacts in Ankara
  • [02] Talat says after 2004 Turkish and foreign investors came to the occupied areas of Cyprus because of the policy he follows with Turkey
  • [03] GIAD assesses the ECHRs recent decision on the property issue in Cyprus; Press report says that Turkish banks are managing the financial dimension of the issue
  • [04] Two thousand illegal workers have been deported from the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [05] Eroglu commented on the latest statement issued by UN
  • [06] The DP will decide tomorrow to support either Eroglu or Ertugruloglu; Avci says the ORPs door is open for a coalition with the UBP; Cakici points out that the TDP is considering of supporting Talat
  • [07] A number of 300 Iranian tourists to visit the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [08] The trade volume between Turkey and Britain
  • [09] Turkey's Friends group established at European Parliament
  • [10] Turkey is providing electricity to Syria and Iraq
  • [11] Turkey and Cameroon signed an agreement on mutual visa exemption
  • [12] Babacans interview on relations with IMF
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] Columnist claims that in case Talat does not win the elections, Turkey must make new arrangements in its foreign policy
  • [14] Columnist commends on the latest ECHRs ruling regarding the Immovable Property Commission set up Turkey in Cyprus
  • [15] From the Turkish Press of 17 March 2010

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talats contacts in Ankara

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.03.10) reports the following:

    The president of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Wednesday that neither Turkey nor TRNC had any mistakes with regard to the Cyprus issue.

    Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat met with Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU Talks Egemen Bagis in capital Ankara. Speaking during the gathering, Talat said the developments in Cyprus took place right before the eyes of the EU and the UN.

    Upon a question on EU's rotating president Spain's offers regarding the solution of the Cyprus issue, Talat said his country attached great importance to the solution of the conflict, and therefore, it would appreciate any kind of help to be offered on such matter.

    Commenting on whether the Cyprus issue would remain as an obstacle in Turkey's EU membership process, Talat said he believed reality would be perceived in time and such matter would not be presented as a barrier.

    Pointing to the progress achieved in the negotiation process in Cyprus so far, Talat said both Greek and Turkish Cypriot people should be informed about the issues agreed during the peace talks.

    Bagis said in his part that Cyprus issue had not been a problem for the Greek Cypriot Party's EU membership, adding it should not constitute an obstacle in Turkey's EU bid. We will not abandon Cyprus for EU, Bagis said, noting the union should not leave aside Turkey for such matter as well.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (18.03.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat had separate meetings yesterday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

    According to the paper, Davutoglu was also present in the meeting between Erdogan and Talat, which lasted an hour.

    Later, Talat met with Davutoglu in his residence. The meeting was closed to the press.

    No statements were issued prior or after the meetings.

    [02] Talat says after 2004 Turkish and foreign investors came to the occupied areas of Cyprus because of the policy he follows with Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (18.03.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has alleged that for the past 5-6 years the Turkish Cypriot side, in harmony with Turkey, has been following policies with the aim of solution and peace and added that thanks to these policies the world started to understand the Turkish Cypriots.

    According to a statement issued by the election committee of his office, Mr Talat visited the occupied village of Gypsou the day before yesterday and met the people there.

    Mr Talat alleged, inter alia, the following: We are following a pro-peace policy If we provide to our grandchildren a secure peace, a European Cyprus, they will thank us. It would not be correct to abandon this target, when we have come so close to it.

    Mr Talat said that good progress has been made in the negotiations and that the Turkish Cypriot side wants a joint statement to be issued on 30 March regarding the convergences achieved until today, but the Greek Cypriot side is not very positive for such a statement.

    Mr Talat claimed that the Turkish Cypriots surprised the world in 2004 by voting yes in the referendum and added that their pro-solution policy followed after that was accepted by the world.

    Noting that investments started coming to the occupied areas of Cyprus thanks to this policy, Mr Talat added: While until 2003 absolutely no investor was investing in the TRNC, including the Turkish capital, foreign and Turkish investments started coming to the country since 2004.

    Referring to the recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the Immovable Property Commission set up by Turkey in the occupied areas of Cyprus, Mr Talat claimed that this revolutionary decision paves the way for the Cyprus problem and sheds light on how the property issue will be solved.

    Mr Talat said that their aim is a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation based on political equality within the framework of the UN principles and parameters and with the support of Turkey. He noted that the partnership to be established will have a federal government with a single international identity and two founding states of equal status.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] GIAD assesses the ECHRs recent decision on the property issue in Cyprus; Press report says that Turkish banks are managing the financial dimension of the issue

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (18.03.10) reports that the North Cyprus Young Businessmen Association (GIAD) has evaluated the positive and the negative aspects of the recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the Immovable Property Commission set up by Turkey in the occupied areas of Cyprus, which was recognized as local remedy by the Court.

    In a statement issued by the economic committee of GIAD, it is noted that the Commission has become more important after the recent developments. The statement claims that in order for the recent decision to be turned in favour of the breakaway regime in the occupied areas of Cyprus, the Commission should be developed to acquire a structure with which to be able to produce faster and more effective results. The statement points out that if this is not achieved, the Greek Cypriot owners of the properties will go again to the ECHR and this will put Turkey and the breakaway regime in a difficult situation.

    Furthermore, under the title Spain offers six-party talks on Cyprus and the subtitle Courts ruling, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (17.03.10) reports, inter alia, the following in English:

    Meanwhile, a recent decision by the European Court of Human Rights regarding property issues on Cyprus is expected to change the Greek Cypriot stance in the ongoing talks, a Turkish official said Tuesday.

    The European court ruled that Greek Cypriots who have properties in northern Cyprus should first apply to the immovable properties commission, or IPC, established in the islands north.

    The Greek Cypriots have three options. They will either apply to the Turkish Cypriot property commission, solve the property issue through peace talks with Turkish Cypriots or choose to wait longer until a final solution emerges, said a Turkish official.

    The European courts decision, meanwhile, continues to be a topic of heated public debate in Greek Cyprus. Some have suggested inundating the IPC with thousands of applications to make it incapable of functioning.

    Despite such threats, the northern Cypriot administration is preparing to enlarge the IPC in the expectation of increased numbers of applications following the European court decision.

    At the same time, Turkish banks are managing the financial dimension of the issue, the Daily News has learned.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Two thousand illegal workers have been deported from the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus

    Under the front-page title, Two thousand illegal workers were deported, Turkish Cypriot daily Halki Sesi newspaper (18.03.10) reports on exclusive statements of the self-styled minister of labour and social insurance, Mr Turkay Tokel, regarding the number of the illegal workers in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Mr Tokel stated that as a result of the investigations they carried out during the four months after the completion of the deadline provided for in the law for forgiving those illegal workers who were registered, they have deported two thousand illegal workers from the occupied areas of Cyprus. He, inter alia, added that when he first came on duty, he stated that there are around 30-35 thousand unregistered workers in occupied Cyprus.

    Mr Tokel noted that at the time being there are almost 60 thousand registered workers and around 26 thousand pensioners.

    (EA)

    [05] Eroglu commented on the latest statement issued by UN

    Illegal Bayrak television (17.03.10) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu has emphasized that the Cyprus Turkish people has been ignoring outside intervention and has always reflected its will to the poll.

    Referring to Aprils Presidential elections before entering todays session of the Council of Ministers, Mr Eroglu said the Turks of Cyprus have not forgotten the international communitys failure to honour the promises given just before the referenda on the Annan Plan.

    Referring to recent statements issued by some officials in the United States, the European Union and South Cyprus, Prime Minister Eroglu said that similar outside interventions were made just before the referendum on the UN Peace Plan, adding that the Cyprus Turkish People is well aware of the fact that the promises made havent been realized yet.

    He said that the Cyprus Turkish People will reflect their will to the poll, as they did so until now. The Prime Minister noted that the election should be free and fair.

    The Council of Ministers has decided to define almost all villages in the five districts of the Republic as rural areas. The decision was taken at todays meeting of the Council.

    Compensation payments to be made to flood victims were among the issues taken up during the meeting.

    Announcing the decisions taken at the meeting, Foreign Minister the Council spokesperson Huseyin Ozgurgun said that flood victims who suffered losses are being compensated. He said compensation payments started this morning at the Lefkosa District Office. Noting that around 700 houses were damaged by the floods, he said that the government will fully compensate the flood victims for losses.

    [06] The DP will decide tomorrow to support either Eroglu or Ertugruloglu; Avci says the ORPs door is open for a coalition with the UBP; Cakici points out that the TDP is considering of supporting Talat

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (18.03.10) reports that the central administrative committee of the Democratic Party (DP) has decided to submit to the council of the party a proposal to support either National Unity Partys (UBP) candidate, Dervis Eroglu or independent candidate and former UBP member, Tahsin Ertugruloglu in the forthcoming presidential elections. In a statement issued yesterday, the DP notes that the council of the party will meet tomorrow night and take its final decision on the issue. The decision to support one of the above two candidates was taken with simple majority last night during a meeting of DPs committee which lasted four hours.

    Moreover, according to Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (18.03.10) Arif Salih Kirdag, independent candidate in the elections visited yesterday the Social Democracy Party (TDP) and held a meeting with its chairman, Mehmet Cakici.

    Mr Kirdag stated that on 18 April the Turkish Cypriots will elect their leader and added that this leader must be a person, who will pave the way for the Turkish Cypriots and will not constitute an obstacle in Turkeys EU accession course. Mr Kirdag said everybody should trust him on this issue.

    In his statements, Mr Cakici said that the TDP is considering of supporting the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat in the elections, because Talat supports the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (18.03.10) reports that in statements to Ada television, Turgay Avci, leader of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) said yesterday that the door of his party is open for a coalition with the UBP. He noted that he met three times with Mr Eroglu since the UBP came to power and that the last time was after Mr Eroglu announced his candidature for the presidential elections. He added that when the UBPs seats in the illegal assembly decreases to 25 and the UBP starts to look for establishing a coalition government with other parties, the ORP cannot say that it will definitely not join this coalition.

    He said: I have been making a call on Mr Eroglu for ten months now. I am making the same call today. If the UBP is going to enter into an effort for a collation and brings a proposal to us, our door is open.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] A number of 300 Iranian tourists to visit the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (18.03.10) reports that a Turkish Cypriot tourist agency has made an agreement on bringing Iranian tourists to the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus. As the paper writes, together with the tourists from the UK and Turkey, MTS Tur is set to bring about 300 Iranian tourists to occupied Cyprus during this month, beginning from March 19. The paper notes, that in this framework, the illegal Turkish Cypriot airlines (KTHY) will make flights to and from Tehran two times a week.

    (EA)

    [08] The trade volume between Turkey and Britain

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.03.10) reports the following:

    Turkish State Minister Zafer Caglayan expressed hope that Turkey-Britain trade volume would rise as of 2010.

    Speaking at Turkey-Britain Business Forum in London on Tuesday, Caglayan said that commercial relations between Turkey and Britain were strengthening each day. He added that despite the regression in trade volume due to global economic crisis, the figures would hopefully increase as of this year.

    Caglayan said that total foreign trade volume with Britain was 14 billion USD in 2007, 13.5 billion USD in 2008, and 9.5 billion USD in 2009. He said that Turkey exported industrial products to Britain, and imported chemical materials from that country.

    Noting that British businessmen made a total of 85 billion USD of investments in 2009, adding that the amount of British investments in Turkey was five billion USD.

    [09] Turkey's Friends group established at European Parliament

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.03.10) reports from Brussels the following:

    Turkey's Friends Group was established informally at the European Parliament with the participation of 47 lawmakers from the groups of Christian Democrats, Socialists, Liberals, Greens, European Conservatives and Reformists.

    Alojz Peterle, former prime minister of Slovenia, was elected as leader of the group. Peterle said that the group, which was formed by 47 lawmakers from 15 countries and from different political groups, would carry out initiatives to further improve Turkey-European Union relations.

    [10] Turkey is providing electricity to Syria and Iraq

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.03.10) reports from Beirut the following:

    Turkish energy minister said on Wednesday that if eight countries; Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Palestine and Syria combine infrastructures of their own electricity transmission lines, they would become a significant power.

    Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz, who is currently in Lebanese capital of Beirut for the ministerial meeting of Eight Countries Interconnection Project, replied to questions of A.A correspondent.

    Turkey had an excess of electricity and it was providing electricity to Syria and Iraq currently, he said.

    The south part of Mediterranean could also be connected to this electricity system with participation of Morocco and Algeria, he said. We are in cooperation with 34 countries in the north of Mediterranean in regard to electricity production. EU members and non-EU states are among those countries, Yildiz told the A.A.

    [11] Turkey and Cameroon signed an agreement on mutual visa exemption

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News newspaper (online, 17.03.10) reports the following:

    Turkey and Cameroon signed an agreement on mutual visa exemption as well as a protocol on technical, scientific and economic cooperation after President Abdullah Gul met with his Cameroonian counterpart in Yaounde.

    Turkey wants to build relations with Africa on a fair, balanced basis, Gul said as he was wrapping up a two-day official visit on Wednesday. We have always sought to develop our relations with Africa on a fair, balanced basis and in a way that serves the common interests of our people, Gul said at a banquet late Tuesday offered by his counterpart Paul Biya.

    We have never been guided by a thirst for unilateral gains, he said in remarks broadcast on public television CRTV, adding that African countries had suffered immensely due to the self-interest of some other countries in the past.

    The Turkish president said Ankara wanted to broadly boost relations with African countries on a win-win basis, calling for initiatives on investment, health, education, rural development and managing water, transport and energy.

    Between Turkey, whose economy is booming, and Cameroon, which wants to speed up its development, there is complimentary potential, said Biya.

    Gul's visit was the first by a Turkish president to Cameroon, where he arrived on Tuesday after an official two-day visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    [12] Babacans interview on relations with IMF

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.03.10) reports the following:

    Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan revealed Wednesday why Turkey and IMF failed to reach an agreement on a loan stand-by deal, saying one of the details of disagreement was projections over distributions of extra income in case Turkey grows more than 3.5 percent in 2010.

    In an interview with CNN Turk, Babacan said that Washington-based lender offered the government to restructure Turkey's revenue administration and reorganize municipal revenues. Babacan said Turkey accepted IMF's proposal about municipal revenues but turned down the offer on revenue administration.

    Following long-time talks between Turkey and IMF, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced last week that Turkey would not sign a loan stand-by deal with the Fund as it did not need emergency funds.

    Babacan also said that a possible deal with the IMF would not have a significant effect on Turkey's credibility any longer. He said there was nothing left, as of December 31, 2009, that could bring a result in negotiations with the Fund.

    IMF had long been willing to sign a stand-by arrangement with Turkey, Babacan said. However, he added that conditions have changed in time as recovery started after the global economic downturn.

    Babacan said a possible deal would not aim at helping Turkey rebound from crisis, but it would be a deal supportive of growth. Turkey will continue to implement its own program within the framework of Medium Term Program, Babacan said.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] Columnist claims that in case Talat does not win the elections, Turkey must make new arrangements in its foreign policy

    Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (17.03.10), under the title Delicate Time for Foreign Policy, publishes the following commentary by Sami Kohen:

    We wrote recently that March was going to be a critical month for Turkish foreign policy, and that there could be serious problems in foreign relations because of the Cyprus and Armenian issues in particular. Another point we stressed in that article was the risk of a serious crisis with our friends and allies because of these problems leading in turn to a deviation in the course of Turkey's foreign policy.

    Right now, Turkey's relations with the United States and Sweden because of their respective Armenian bills seems to have entered a delicate phase. The government is pursuing a policy of controlled tension with these countries by recalling its ambassadors and cancelling visits etc. Putting aside the populist aspect in terms of domestic policy, the purpose of this guided diplomacy is to teach a lesson to those parliaments that accepted the Armenian bill and to force the relevant governments to take a stance against this.

    This has been achieved to some degree in Sweden. The Swedish government reacted personally to its parliament's ruling. However, our Ambassador to Stockholm is still being kept in Ankara and the prime minister's scheduled visit to Sweden is not taking place.

    The reaction against the United States is carrying on in the same tempo it began with. It is expected that this will have a stimulating effect, that the so-far passive Obama administration will intervene in a more energetic fashion and that the President will indicate that he will not use the word "genocide" in his speech on 24 April. When and to what degree these expectations will pan out is not clear but the fact remains that this situation is upsetting relations and most importantly worsening the distrust.

    Subtitle: Stormy Days

    Now to the developments concerning Cyprus and how this affects relations with the EU.

    The negotiations process is officially continuing. However, they are going to be put on hold because of the presidential elections due to take place in the KKTC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] next month. Whether or not the talks will resume where they left off all depends on who is sitting in the president's chair afterwards.

    Many things in Cyprus hinge on the outcome of the elections. Talat's exit from the stage could see the controversial solution fall from the agenda. The international reaction and consequences this would lead to could force Turkey to make new arrangements in its foreign policy.

    Turkey's EU accession talks are unable to advance at all because of the Cyprus problem. If Turkey does not open its ports to Greek Cypriot traffic by the end of the year the EU Commission could suspend the talks. This in turn could lead to Turkish-EU relations reaching breaking point.

    In short, stormy days lay ahead on both the EU and US fronts.

    Subtitle: Question of Priorities

    All of these developments beg the question as to what kind of changes are going to take place in Turkish foreign policy. The government cares deeply for its policies of zero problems with the neighbours and pro-active roles in the region so what can it do at this time to keep its relations with the West alive and as they were in the past? In other words, is the AKP [Justice and Development Party] government going to continue applying its traditional priorities and preferences to ties with the United States and the EU, and with the West in general?

    The recently debated issues of axis shift and distancing from the West are coming back onto the agenda because of the problems I have just identified above.

    [14] Columnist commends on the latest ECHRs ruling regarding the Immovable Property Commission set up Turkey in Cyprus

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News newspaper (online, 17.03.10), under the title Demopoulos and others v. Turkey, reports that following commentary by Robert Ellis:

    The non-admissibility decision a fortnight ago by the European Court of Human Rights was welcomed as historic by the Turkish press and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, but it might be premature to pop the champagne corks. In fact, it is probably former Turkish Ambassador Tulay Ulucevik who struck the right note when he described the courts ruling as a Pyrrhic victory.

    Apart from the issue of security, that of property can be considered a major stumbling block for a solution to the Cyprus question, and the Annan Plan did little to assuage Greek Cypriot concerns. The right to restitution and return was effectively limited by a number of restrictions so that the majority of displaced Greek Cypriots were faced with compensation in the form of what Tassos Papadopoulos called a dubious paper.

    The Property Board that the Annan Plan envisaged, which would have settled claims from both sides, would for the most part have been funded by the Greek Cypriots, so it would have been the merchant from Kayseri who fed his donkey with its own tail all over again.

    However, the Immovable Property Commission, or IPC, which northern Cyprus established in December 2005 to deal with Greek Cypriot property claims, will in effect be funded by Turkey, as northern Cyprus has the status of a subordinate local administration under Turkish jurisdiction.

    The legal status of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which was proclaimed in 1983, has been a bone of contention for previous property cases appearing before the European court, but it has been established in admissibility decisions (for example, Loizidou v. Turkey in 1995 and Xenides-Arestis v. Turkey in 2005) that Turkey is the respondent state.

    In the latter case, an attempt was made to avoid a judgment against Turkey by establishing an Immovable Property Determination, Evaluation and Compensation Commission in July 2003, so as to provide a domestic remedy that should be exhausted. Nevertheless, this only provided for compensation but not restitution, and as there were doubts about the impartiality of the Commission, the remedy was found to be neither effective nor adequate.

    So, seen in those terms, the IPC must be considered an improved model as its provisions provide for restitution, exchange or compensation in return for rights over the immovable property and compensation for loss of use if claimed. Furthermore, two of the IPCs five to seven members are independent international members, and persons who occupy Greek-Cypriot property are expressly excluded.

    Consequently, on the basis of the 85 cases concluded by last November, the Court found that the IPC provides an accessible and effective framework of redress for property issues in the current situation of occupation that it is beyond this courts competence to resolve.

    In view of the redress offered by the Annan Plan, it must be a disappointment for Greek Cypriots that the court maintains its view that it must leave the choice of implementation of redress for breaches of property rights to contracting states and that, from a conventional perspective, property is a material commodity which can be valued and compensated for in monetary terms. In fact, in more than 70 cases claimants opted for compensation.

    A further bone of contention in the current talks between Prime Ministers Dimitris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat is whether it is the legal or the current owner of the property who should decide whether redress should be in the form of restitution, exchange or compensation.

    On this issue, the court states, It is still necessary to ensure that the redress applied to those old injuries does not create disproportionate new wrongs. Finally, the court concludes that this decision is not to be interpreted as requiring that applicants make use of the IPC. They may choose not to do so and await a political settlement, but in the meantime the courts decision provides a legal basis.

    Davutoglu believes the courts decision has boosted the international legitimacy of northern Cyprus, for whose case he has neglected to read the small print. The court maintains its opinion that allowing the respondent state to correct wrongs imputable to it does not amount to an indirect legitimization of a regime unlawful under international law.

    Furthermore, accepting the functional reality of remedies is not tantamount to holding that Turkey wields internationally-recognized sovereignty over northern Cyprus. The European Parliament has, in a resolution, called on Turkey to immediately start to withdraw its troops from Cyprus and address the issue of the settlement of Turkish citizens as well as enable the return of the sealed-off section of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has indicated he is willing to withdraw Turkish troops in the event of a solution, but his chief EU negotiator, Egemen Bag1, has boasted that Turkey has not withdrawn a single soldier or given away territory.

    Considering that, not only the future of Cyprus, but also Turkey s prospects of EU membership hang in the balance, that kind of attitude is singularly unhelpful.

    [15] From the Turkish Press of 17 March 2010

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 17 March 2010:

    a) Internal political affairs

    Commenting on reasons behind recent statements made by Chief of the Turkish General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug about ongoing probes into alleged coup plots and the detention of high-ranking officersin his article entitled "Statements of the General Staff," Hurriyet Daily News columnist Cuneyt Ulsever says: "The General Staff has finally given into the demands of its grassroots and of some circles. The military even decided to reveal its stance." After analyzing Basbug's critical comments about methods used in the investigations, Ulsever concludes by saying: "The Judiciary, the Security Department and the TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] in our country are almost at each other's throat. And that is such a saddening situation as the government is openly taking a side in this fight."

    In an article entitled "There will not be any adverse reaction from the TSK," Hurriyet Daily News columnist Mehmet Ali Birand says that many officers in the Turkish Armed Forces, TSK, believe that the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, has launched a campaign against the military and uses the police and some public prosecutors for that purpose. Highlighting remarks made by some officers about the issue, he says: "I had the feeling that bridges have been burned, mutual guards have been taken and they seem to just waiting to catch one mistake of the opponent." Birand also notes that it will be difficult for the TSK to mend its tarnished image.

    A report entitled "TSK's Sensitivities Would Not Change With People" in Hurriyet highlights comments made by Chief of the Turkish Ground Forces General Isik Kosaner who is quoted as stressing that the military's pro-secular and Kemalist stance would never change, adding that he would follow in the footsteps of his predecessors if he is appointed Chief of the General Staff in August.

    Drawing attention to Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal's recent comments implying that the military's ultimatum issued on 28 February 1997 actually prepared the ground for the formation of the AKP in his article entitled "Baykal's Suspicion," Milliyet columnist Melih Asik says: "Baykal insinuates that the 28 February ultimatum actually originated from the United States and that people who were leading the TSK during that period prepared the ground for the AKP while pretending that they had taken a stance against [former Prime Minister and Welfare Party leader Necmettin] Erbakan and fundamentalism and ensured that the AKP team which is sympathetic to the United States is brought to power in place of anti-American Erbakan. He implies that the 28 February team is, therefore, not brought to trial."

    A report entitled "Public Prosecutor Does Not Permit Fingerprint Test on Wet Signature" in Sabah says that the Chief Public Prosecutor of Istanbul has turned down the Military Prosecutor's Office request to authorize a criminal examination of ink and fingerprints on a document which is alleged to be the original copy of the controversial "Action Plan Against Fundamentalism". According to the report, the Office of the Chief Public Prosecutor refused the request on the grounds that it could cause damage to the document.

    In an article entitled "To make a spoon or spoil a horn", Zaman columnist Mehmet Kamis accuses General Basbug of creating a "judicial scandal" and "encouraging illegal tendencies" within the TSK in allowing retired General Hursit Tolon, a suspect in the Ergenekon probe who was released from prison on health grounds some time ago, to stand behind him while addressing War Academy cadets on a recent occasion and talking with Tolon at the reception that followed the recent NATO meeting in Ankara. He asserts that if Basbug wants to avoid harming the TSK's reputation, he should refrain from being photographed together with anybody accused of involvement in coup conspiracies or any other offense.

    b) Foreign policy issues

    US State Department's Report on Human Rights in Turkey: In an article entitled "US Criticism About Freedom of Expression in Turkey," Hurriyet columnist Sedat Ergin analyzes the US State Department's 2009 report on human rights in Turkey which, he notes, criticized the government's approach to the media, particularly a severe tax fine imposed on the Dogan Media Group. He comments: "What is important is that the US State Department eventually took a stance similar to that of the EU Commission? In that sense, we can say that there is a common Western position taken by the United States and the EU about the tax fine. The second point is that the US State Department did not attempt to take the middle course and took a clear stance against the tax fine imposed without any ambiguity. While it was disturbed by the tax fine, the Obama Administration was refraining from bringing it up in order to avoid a possible problem in its relations with the ruling Justice and Development Party. It seems that the US Government eventually decided to make a detailed and critical assessment of the issue in the Human Rights Report in the face of critical comments in the American press and public."

    A report entitled "Iran and Turkey Should Form a Union Like EU" in Milliyet quotes Bahman Hosseinpour, Iran's ambassador to Turkey, as saying in a news conference in Istanbul that Iran and Turkey could play a key role in resolving regional problems by establishing a union like the EU. He also described allegations that Iran intends to export its regime as "cruel."


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