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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-03-22

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 54/10 20-22.03.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Eroglu reiterates that he will work for strengthening the breakaway regime
  • [02] DP, HIS, and MAP support Eroglu on so-called presidential elections
  • [03] Yeni Duzen reports that Serdar Denktas will be assigned with the duty of dealing with the Cyprus problem in case Eroglu wins the elections
  • [04] Davutoglu notes that the Cyprus negotiations will continue uninterrupted no matter who the winner at the illegal presidential elections will be
  • [05] Survey shows Eroglu ahead of Talat
  • [06] Five Turkish Cypriot political parties comment on the statement of President Christofias for an international conference on the Cyprus problem
  • [07] Ferry link between occupied Famagusta port and Haifa to launch in mid-April
  • [08] Data on imports and exports of the illegal regime in January 2010
  • [09] The vice-president of European Universities Association evaluates the decision making mechanism of the illegal universities
  • [10] Perini said that there is no place for military and religious regimes in Europe
  • [11] Alarko company will invest in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus in tourism sector
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [12] The game of Ankara
  • [13] Columnist argues Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan pulls the strings in the so-called presidential elections in occupied Cyprus
  • [14] Turkish columnist proposes to ruling AKP to withdraw a symbolic amount of Turkish troops from Cyprus
  • [15] From the Turkish Press of 19, 20 and 21 of March 2010

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Eroglu reiterates that he will work for strengthening the breakaway regime

    Illegal Bayrak television (20.03.10) broadcast the following:

    The leader of the governing National Unity Party-Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu has said that his aim, if elected as President, will be to open the gates of the Presidential palace to the people. The Premier also said that the negotiations will also be conducted under more transparency and open to the people.

    Addressing local inhabitants of Degirmenlik [occupied Kythrea] village at a gathering yesterday evening, UBP leader, Prime Minister and candidate for the upcoming Presidential elections, Dervis Eroglu said that he had dedicated the last 34 years of his life to creating a more peaceful and prosperous TRNC.

    Stating that the majority of the people approved of his Presidential candidacy, Eroglu said that his party also worked towards achieving peace, security and prosperity in the country.

    He said that his party had taken an oath to uphold the TRNC and to safeguard the honourable existence of the Turks of Cyprus under the roof of their own state.

    The Prime Minister also pointed out that next months Presidential election was a decisive one which would determine the future of the Turks of Cyprus on the island as well as the national cause.

    We shall defend our rights at the negotiating table to the very end. However, let it be known that we shall not say yes to everything Christofias demands he added.

    The Premier also claimed that the President Mehmet Ali Talat and the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias had failed to reach an agreement on the issue of Governance and Power sharing, EU Matters, Economy and were deliberately delaying the chapters on territory, guarantees and property.

    Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (21.03.10) broadcast the following:

    The leader of the National Unity Party, Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu today paid a visit to villages around the Girne area [occupied Kyrenia].

    Speaking during the visits the Prime Minister announced that he had official started his election campaign.

    He thanked the villagers for their support and expressed the hope that the same support will be reflected in the ballot boxes as well.

    Touching upon the Cyprus issue, Mr. Eroglu emphasized the fact that the ongoing negotiations process should be carried out with the realities of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and added that the people will never abandon the state or the guarantees on the island.

    He also said that the negotiations process will continue after the presidential elections as well.

    Noting that although president Talat has been in office for 5 years and the negotiations process has been going on for two year, no progress has been made, Mr. Eroglu said the government has changed the time has come for the President to change also.

    According to illegal Bayrak television (21.03.10), the leader of the ruling National Unity Party, so-called prime minister and candidate in next months presidential elections, Dervis Eroglu launched his election campaign with a rally last night.

    The campaign rally under the slogan, Here comes the people, here comes the difference was held at the Ataturks sports centre in occupied Lefkosia.During his speech Erolgu said that he had decided to run as a candidate due to all of the requests that had been made by the people.

    I will make every effort to find a permanent solution for the people of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, said Eroglu and added that he will be working with a group of experts, he will be carrying out a lot of overseas visits and give extra importance to lobbying.

    Explaining that he will always be in close contact with Motherland Turkey, Eroglu noted that in his 18 years as prime minister he had always been in close contact with Turkey.

    [02] DP, HIS, and MAP support Eroglu on so-called presidential elections

    Illegal Bayrak television (20.03.10) broadcast the following:

    The Democrat Party (DP) has announced that it will be supporting the National Unity Partys (UBP) candidate - Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu in next months Presidential elections. The leader of the DP Serdar Denktas also said that they well be attending tonights UBP election rally in support of Mr Eroglu.

    The majority of the DPs extended party assembly which convened last night to make a final decision on the issue voted in favour of supporting Mr Eroglu.

    Speaking to the press after the meeting, the leader of the DP Serdar Denktas said his party will fully and actively support Mr Eroglu.

    In a separate press conference today, the DP leader called on the people to put aside their differences and complaints with the UBP and to support Prime Minister Eroglu as a strong united message to the rest of the world.

    He said that the Democrat Party had taken this decision to support the UBP leader in line with the importance it carried for the future of the Turks of Cyprus.

    Explaining that all possibilities were evaluated while taking this decision, Mr. Denktas said his partys priority was not to take part in the coalition but to change the method at the negotiation table.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (21.03.10) reports on statements of the Nationalist Justice Party (MAP) leader, Mr Ata Tepe, during the UBP rally organised in occupied Lefkosia. Addressing the people, Mr Tepe said that he is embracing everyone who has the nation in his heart. He added that they are supporting the candidacy of the UBP leader and self-styled prime minister, Mr Dervis Eroglu, because of his support to the relations to the existence of the TRNC and his views on their relations with Turkey.

    n the same issue, illegal Bayrak television (19.03.10) broadcast the following:

    The Politics for People Party (HIS) has announced that it will support Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu in Aprils Presidential elections.

    Mr Eroglu the National Unity Partys candidate for the Presidency visited the Politics for People Party. Speaking during the visit, Prime Minister Eroglu pointed to the vital importance of the election for the future of the TRNC people and said that he is asking the support of those who believe in the TRNC and want to bring a solution to the Cyprus problem within this framework.

    `This is a cause concerning all of us. The result of the election will affect the future of the People and the TRNC`, he said, underlining the need to act in unity.

    During the visit, the Leader of the Politics for People Party Ahmet Yonluer voiced his partys support to Prime Minister Eroglu, who he said, has been defending the TRNC and will struggle to protect it.

    Meanwhile, under the title Why they said Eroglu, Akay Cemal comments in his daily column in Kibris newspaper (22.03.10) the decisions of the Democratic Party (DP), the Nationalist Justice Party (MAP) and the Politics for the People Party (HIS) to support Dervis Eroglu in the illegal elections to be held in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus on 18 April 2010.

    Noting that the decision of these parties should be considered natural, Mr Cemal reminds that the DP had said in the past that it does not accept the stance of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat at the negotiating table and especially the concessions regarding the single sovereignty and the cross-voting.

    Thus, while the DP was deciding to support the chairman of the UBP in the 18 April elections, its president Serdar Denktas noted that they did not approve the issues discussed at the table by the two leaders within the framework of the Cyprus talks, that they did not want the rights earned in the past to be lost and therefore they support Eroglu, who is the closest candidate to them, writes Mr Cemal.

    (EA, I/Ts)

    [03] Yeni Duzen reports that Serdar Denktas will be assigned with the duty of dealing with the Cyprus problem in case Eroglu wins the elections

    Under the title Denktas plan, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (21.03.10) reports about an agreement which was made between Serdar Denktas and Dervis Eroglu, which provided for the latters support by Serdar Denktas Democratic Party (DP) in the so-called presidential elections.

    The paper, which cites an interview given by Serdar Denktas to Turkish daily Aksam newspaper on the 11th of March, writes that Eroglu and Serdar Denktas had shaken hands even before the DPs Party assembly, in which the party decided the candidate whom it will support for the elections.

    According to this agreement, the Cyprus problem will be assigned to Serdar Denktas while Dervis Eroglu will be dealing with the internal policy together with the self-styled government. As regards the coalition government to be formed between the two parties, DP will be given three ministries: the ministry of health and the ministry of transportation and another ministry, which has not been determined yet.

    In the interview, Serdar Denktas stated, inter alia, that Eroglu is not very well informed about the Cyprus problem, and he does not know the details as regards this issue. On the other hand, Serdar Denktas himself wants to stay out of the government and to carry out the coordination of the foreign policy. (I want) to be the architect of the foreign policy of the new government, he stated.

    Yeni Duzen notes that the statements of Serdar Denktas appeared in the Turkish press and they have never been denied. The paper also writes that because of these developments, the vision for the solution of the Cyprus problem will return again to Denktas school and the situation which existed in the year 2000 will return again.

    (CS)

    [04] Davutoglu notes that the Cyprus negotiations will continue uninterrupted no matter who the winner at the illegal presidential elections will be

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (22.03.10) reports on statements of the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on board after his visit to the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. Responding a question regarding how the outcome of the upcoming illegal presidential elections of April 18 in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus will influence the future of the negotiations, Mr Davutoglu stated that no matter who will win the illegal elections, the negotiations with the Greek Cypriot side will continue uninterrupted and added: And if Talat is elected, the process will continue. Mr Davutoglu noted that the continuation of the negotiations provides advantage to the Turkish side and said that Turkey is determined to continue its solution-focus stance. He added that Turkey is sincere towards its desire for a solution and reminded that the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for the first time met with Greek Cypriot journalists right after the Turkish-Greek Forum. He also reminded that he met with the delegation as well at the Foreign Ministry. He said: If I wanted, instead of the Ministry, I could have seen them at a hotel in Istanbul and noted that he wanted for the Greek Cypriot journalists to specifically take a step to the ministry.

    [05] Survey shows Eroglu ahead of Talat

    Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (20.03.10), under the title "Eroglu 41 Percent, Talat 28 Percent reports that a survey which has been carried out by the MPC-DIGISES Company through telephone messages shows that Dervis Eroglu leads Mehmet Ali Talat by 13 percent.

    The MPC-DIGISES Company, which is based in Istanbul, carried out a survey by sending out telephone messages from 16 to 18 March. Some 41 percent of the participants voted for National Unity Party leader Dervis Eroglu and 28 percent voted for Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Some 23 percent of the participants said that they are undecided and 8 percent voted for the other candidates.

    The MPC-DIGISES Company announced the survey results at a press conference at the Merit Hotel in occupied part of Lefkosia on Friday.

    Some 10,042 subscribers responded to the 40,000 telephone messages that were sent out during the survey.

    Some 3,988 participants voted for Dervis Eroglu and 2,748 voted for Mehmet Ali Talat by midnight on 18 March. Some 2,303 people said that they are undecided and 768 people voted for the other candidates.

    [06] Five Turkish Cypriot political parties comment on the statement of President Christofias for an international conference on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.03.10) reports that the majority of the Turkish Cypriot political parties represented in the self-styled assembly have described as unacceptable the proposal submitted by President Christofias regarding the materialization of an international conference on the Cyprus problem.

    The general secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP), Irsen Kucuk said that the sides in the Cyprus problem were clarified in the 1960 agreements and these sides are Turkey, Greece, Britain, the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots. He alleged that the proposal of President Christofias showed that the insincerity of the Greek Cypriot side continues and that the Greek Cypriots made this proposal in order to create difficulties to the solution.

    The chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Ferdi Sabit Soyer claimed that President Christofias, who rejects the five-party conference proposed by the Turkish side, is exerting efforts to lead the issue to a different adventure because he could not cancel it and he is trying to bargain. He alleged that this proposal of President Christofias showed the correct predictions of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side. He said that this proposal was a success of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side.

    The chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), Mehmet Cakici said they are positive to this proposal of President Christofias and added that such a development could be constructive. He noted that the guarantor powers making a new treaty of guarantees could contribute to the negotiating process for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. Mr Cakici described as encouraging the fact that the Turkish Cypriot side will also be at the table during the conference.

    The foreign relations secretary of the Democratic Party (DP), Bengu Sonya alleged that the proposal of the Greek Cypriot side regarding the materialization of an international conference on the Cyprus problem is unacceptable and it was made for tactical reasons in order to force the Turkish side to reject it.

    The chairman of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), Turgay Avci alleged that the European Union could not have a say in such a conference because the Republic of Cyprus is a member of the Union and expressed the view that either five or six parties should participate in such a conference.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Ferry link between occupied Famagusta port and Haifa to launch in mid-April

    Under the title Ferry to Israel nearing to launch, Turkish Cypriot weekend Cyprus Today newspaper (20.03.10) reports the following:

    Former property developer Cafer Gurcafer says his Israel ferry link will take to the water next month.

    Work is continuing on a ferry Mr Gurcafer bought from a Spanish operator for his MedDream operation and he says the Gazi Magusa [occupied Famagusta]-to-Haifa link will begin in mid-April.

    It will work a six-day service, and the former head of the Construction Contractors Union said he hoped to bring 50,000 Israeli tourists to the TRNC annually.

    There will be a casino on board the ship, which used to be a car ferry between Spain and Ibiza.

    He told Cyprus Today: 'MedDream will provide a package holiday service both ways, including three-day trips. Tickets will cost $180 return. Let me stress it is not just about gambling. Yes, we have an on-board casino, but so do most other ferries.

    We are working with a Tel Aviv-based travel agency, Flying Carpet, and we already have interest from a 7,000-member diving association and 17,500 strong motorbike federation, to name just two niche tourism markets.

    We have also had inquiries from walkers, cyclists and [those with an] interest in eco-tourism, too.' The boat can take 150 cars, cargo and 650 passengers in one sailing.

    Mr Gurcafer added: 'It will open up trade between the two countries. Israeli businessmen are already investing in the TRNC because they look to the future. They know that investment carries a risk, but that risk means profits will be very high.

    Look around at North Cyprus. Our beaches are neglected, the Mesaoria plain is empty and unused. If countries like Spain, Italy and France can earn 70 million euros to 80 million euros a year, why cant we claw back the loss of the last 30 years and make something of the tourism industry in this country?

    If an arid country like Israel can do it, so can we. All we need is a more international attitude. Last year, Antalya, which has no casinos, hosted 575,000 Israeli holidaymakers, so would the TRNC not benefit too? ' He said he planned to use Gazi Magusa [occupied Famagusta] hotels to serve the Israeli tourists.

    More details of the ferry link will be released nearer the launch date, which has yet to be fixed.

    [08] Data on imports and exports of the illegal regime in January 2010

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (20.03.10) publishes data on the exports and imports of the illegal regime and writes that according to information received by the so-called trade office, imports rose by 18% and exports rose by 6% during January 2010 in comparison with January 2009. The total volume of exports reached 98,9 million dollars and of imports 4,5 million dollars.

    During January 2010, imports from Turkey rose by 28% and reached 69,3 million dollars in comparison with 54,1 million dollars in January 2009. For the same period the value of exports to Turkey from the illegal regime fell by 22%.

    (ML)

    [09] The vice-president of European Universities Association evaluates the decision making mechanism of the illegal universities

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.03.10) reports that Maria Helena Nazaré, vice-president of European Universities Association (EUA) and Rector of the University of Aveiro in Portugal, who paid an illegal visit to the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, visited the illegal universities of occupied Cyprus and briefed them on the process and conditions regarding the institutional evaluation programs of EUA.

    Speaking during a conference organized by the illegal Near East University (YDU), Ms. Nazaré said that she examined the decision making mechanism of the universities in particular in the field of evaluation and that no accreditation was given.

    Ms. Nazaré visited occupied Cyprus after an invitation addressed to her by the illegal Higher Education Control and Accreditation Establishment (YODAK).

    (ML)

    [10] Perini said that there is no place for military and religious regimes in Europe

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.03.10) reports from Eskisehir that the head of the European Commission (EC) said on Friday that neither a military regime nor a religious state had place in the European Union (EU). Marc Pierini, the head of the Delegation of the EC to Turkey, said that a military regime and a constitution formed by that military regime, and a religious state had no place in the EU.

    Countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal were kept at EU's doors until they abolished their military regime, Pierini said during a meeting with representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the central province of Eskisehir.

    Pierini said the rules Turkey had to obey during EU accession process were the same with those of other countries.

    [11] Alarko company will invest in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus in tourism sector

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.03.10) reports the following:

    Turkey's Alarko holding will make investments worth 2.5-3 billion U.S. dollars for electricity generation in next five years. Ayhan Yavrucu, general coordinator of Alarko Group, told the A.A correspondent on Friday that the company had made an investment of 40 million U.S. dollars for electricity generation and investment of 440 million dollars for distribution in 2009.

    Yavrucu said they were holding talks in regard to partnership for electricity generation for the next years and planning to have a foreign partner on the matter. We have been holding talks with European, American and Far Eastern companies, he said.

    Alarko would launch a project on hydroelectrical power plant worth 130-150 million U.S. dollars in southern province of Adana this year, Yavrucu added.

    Beginning from a single office room and with two staff in 1954, Alarko Group of companies is today one of Turkey's foremost enterprises, employing more than 6000 people. The group has activities in many different fields of investment, covering diverse range of interest, such as manufacturing, trading, engineering contracting, tourism, land development, construction and energy.

    On the same issue, Turkish daily Zaman newspaper (online, 20.03.10) reports that Mr Yavrucu also said that they were allocated 450 donum of land in the occupied areas of Cyprus and they will carry out a project on tourism.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [12] The game of Ankara

    Under the above title Mehmet Levent writes the following in his daily column in Turkish Cypriot Afrika newspaper (22.03.10):

    Dervis Eroglu launched its election propaganda the night before yesterday with a feast organized at the Ataturk Sports Centre. I did not watch it. However, according to some friends who did, a very big crowd attended the feast. Eroglu, who experienced a great joy after the decision taken the previous night by the DP to support him, got more enthusiastic in front of this fervent crowd. And from the very first day, he announced in a very ambitious manner the election result of his propaganda. 60% is enough, this job will end from the first round, he said!

    This was going to happen. To tell you the truth, Ankara plaid its game so cleverly, so secretly that even we, Afrika newspaper and its writers, who have been alleging for months with arguments that Ankara is preparing Eroglu for the presidency, started to doubt about this for a moment. We were not the only ones who doubted about it. There were moments that Eroglu himself started to doubt and experienced despondency! Especially the statements by Eroglu that there are interferences in the elections after the summits held by Tahsin Ertugruloglu in Ankara and the announcement of his candidature, had the character of revealing these concerns. The mist was dispersed and the picture became clear after the DP gave him its full and active support. Eroglu felt relieved. He started talking about 60% from the first round.

    Thus, the backstage of Ankaras game of indicating Talat and voting for Eroglu has been revealed. Ankara could not openly oppose to Talat, it could not give the picture that it wants to put him out of action, because Talats image as pro-solution leader has been established in the international community. It did not want, by not supporting Talat, to come again to the position of being intransigent, from which it escaped with the referendum on the Annan Plan. Therefore it was obliged to appear as if it supported Talat. And this is what it did. They even started to state very often that if Talat is not elected, the process will be endangered! They even arranged trips abroad for him in order to make him gain prestige and advantage! Finally they even led Ertugruloglu onto the stage with this aim. However, while doing all these, Ankara was thinking to direct DPs support towards Eroglu and to guarantee the victory of Eroglu, who is anyhow leading with difference in the polls! This was the scenario. On the one hand to appear as if it supports Talat and make the world overlook the fact that it supports the non-solution, not the solution. And on the other to throw the burden of the non-solution, which actually belongs to itself, onto the Turkish Cypriots by saying go ahead Dervis. Therefore, the message planed to be given to the world is clear: Look, I tried so hard for the election of Talat who supports the solution, but this is the will of the people which was manifested. We must all respect this will(!)

    Now, some persons might ask the following: Does Turkey not want a solution in Cyprus? It wants! However, Turkeys solution is the following: A solution where all the illegal fait accomplis it has created until today in northern Cyprus will be legalized, the military and civilian presence in Cyprus will in absolutely no way be harmed and its sovereignty will continue unconditionally. And this could not be called solution. At the very most, it is only appearing as if wanting a solution by playing with the non-solution!

    The game of Ankara, which keeps a tight rein on us, is obvious. Both Eroglu and Talat are candidates of becoming subcontractors of this ugly game. However, those who want to raise their voice against this, have an option in these elections: Zeki Besiktepeli. Let us see this time how many thousands hermit ibises will say it is enough this time...

    (I/Ts.)

    [13] Columnist argues Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan pulls the strings in the so-called presidential elections in occupied Cyprus

    Under the title Take the money and run? Turkish Cypriot weekend Cyprus Today newspaper (20.03.10) publishes, inter alia, the following opinion by Tom Roche:

    I may have to reconsider my opinion that Mr Talats bid to stay on as president is doomed, now that it is no longer a two-horse race.

    Despite the fact that he has been prime minister for 19 of the past 30 years, Dervis Eroglu is an uninspiring product of the party machine. He cant speak English, and some say his Turkish isnt that strong either.

    Mr Talat is a cold fish with little rapport with the public. Even his own officials admit he is a poor communicator.

    Tahsin Ertugruloglu (crazy name, crazy guy?) will bring excitement and passion to a contest that would otherwise have been a march of the plodders.

    Whether the former UBP [National Unity Party] leader is about to make the biggest comeback since Churchill or commit political hara-kiri remains to be seen.

    The real story lies in his pre-announcement visits to Ankara. Forget the Oscars, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is the director, producer and scriptwriter in this regional drama, which is turning into a North Cyprus version of House of Cards.

    Has Tahsin been encouraged to stand simply to split the nationalist vote and allow Talat to remain at the negotiating table? Is it all a plot to force Eroglu to finally retire? Or does Ankara secretly want the arch-nationalist Tahsin to face down the Greek Cypriots at the Last Chance Saloon?

    You might say that. I couldnt possibly comment.

    [14] Turkish columnist proposes to ruling AKP to withdraw a symbolic amount of Turkish troops from Cyprus

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (22.03.10), under the title From zero problems to zero progress, published the following commentary by Omer Taspinar:

    The Justice and Development Partys (AKP) strategy of zero problems with neighbours has clearly reached an impasse, with the development of zero progress in Cyprus and Armenia. In fact, one can argue that the situation has taken a turn for the worse in both cases.

    The impasse in Cyprus is now blocking Turkeys negotiations with the European Union, while the stalemate in relations with Armenia has cost Turkey a major downturn in relations with the United States.

    The irony is that when the Turkish government supported the Annan plan that was supposed to unite Cyprus in 2004, this policy looked like a clear achievement for its policy of zero problems with its neighbours. So did the signature of protocols with Armenia in October 2009. Thanks to these two protocols, Turkey and Armenia had agreed -- at least on paper -- to establish relations and open their common border, which had been sealed in 1993 when Ankara showed solidarity with Azerbaijan during the latters nasty war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. The protocols were also going to set up a joint committee of historians to investigate whether mass killings of hundreds of thousands of Ottoman Armenians in 1915 constituted genocide.

    Yet the devil was still in the details: The protocols signed required parliamentary ratification in the national parliaments in order to become effective. There were major obstacles from the very start. Soon after the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the critical mistake of linking the ratification of the protocols and the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border to Armenian concessions in Nagorno-Karabakh. He made it clear, speech after speech at home and abroad, that no positive steps could be taken before Armenia withdrew from Azerbaijan. The main reason behind his position was related to domestic Turkish politics as well as to the rigid Azerbaijani position regarding Turkish-Armenian relations. Azerbaijan vehemently opposes Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, which it describes as harmful to its interests and gravely damaging to its relations with fraternal Turkey. Given the considerable influence of the Azeri lobby in Turkey and the fact that Turkey gets much of its oil and gas from Azerbaijan, this outside pressure further exacerbates domestic difficulties.

    But there are also domestic factors behind the ruling AKPs reluctance vis-ŕ-vis the ratification of the two protocols. The AKP is concerned about the willingness of opposition parties the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to exploit the issue. Both Deniz Baykal and Devlet Bahçeli are nationalist hard-liners who see the rapprochement with Armenia as selling out Turkish national interests. They claim that Armenia maintains territorial ambitions over Turkey and that the process will eventually lead to worldwide recognition of Armenias version of history, followed with demands of financial compensation for the genocide of 1915.

    Of course, the fact that election season is fast approaching further complicated matters by exacerbating the AKPs populist and nationalist proclivities. The AKP has already spent precious political capital on the Kurdish initiative, which cost Erdogan a lot of support according to recent opinion polls. The irony is that the Kurdish initiative too, like the Cyprus and Armenia initiatives, reached an impasse after the Constitutional Court decided to close down the pro-Kurdish and pro-Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) Democratic Society Party (DTP). At this point, the AKPs nationalist credentials are under severe scrutiny and the MHP appears to be on the rise. This poses a major dilemma for Erdogan because the AKP and the MHP often fight for the same political constituency, particularly in the conservative Anatolian heartland.

    As the title of this article suggests, today, the AKP looks increasingly like the party that promised a lot but failed to deliver. Is there a way out of zero progress? The easy answer is yes. The Erdogan government can once again be one step ahead -- as it was in 2004 during its support for the Annan plan in Cyprus -- by adopting some creative policies. Here are two suggestions. First, withdraw a symbolic amount of Turkish troops from Cyprus. This number could be as low as 1,000. After, all the Turkish Army has more than 35,000 soldiers on the island. Such a move would pressure the EU to open some negotiation chapters that are currently closed and put the Greek Cypriots on the defensive. With Armenia, the AKP could decide to go halfway. It could pass only one of the protocols by establishing diplomatic relations without opening the border. Full normalization would therefore be still contingent on progress in Nagorno-Karabakh. It is time for the AKP to show some vision and courage.

    [15] From the Turkish Press of 19, 20 and 21 of March 2010

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

    a) Constitutional Amendments

    Relating an interview he conducted with Deniz Baykal, leader of the Republican People's Party, CHP, on the constitutional amendment package being prepared by the government in the section of his article in Milliyet (19.03.10), Fikret Bila reports the party leader as having said that amendments that include judicial reforms cannot be prepared by a single party alone, more so by a party that had been condemned by the Constitutional Court to have violated the Constitution. Accusing the Justice and Development Party, AKP, of attempting to amend the Constitution to enable the political wing to direct the judiciary, Baykal underlines that one of the major objectives of the AKP government in amending the Constitution is to change the structure of the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors, HSYK.

    Viewing the chess game being played between the AKP and the CHP on constitutional amendments in his article in Milliyet (19.03.10), Guneri Civaoglu argues that the AKP is trying to put pressure on the CHP by placing on the agenda the provisional Article 15 of the Constitution that protects those who have staged the 12 September coup. The CHP, on the other hand, argues that if Article 15 is submitted on its own it can be endorsed by the CHP, which is concerned about the motives of the government regarding the structure of the HSYK as well as the amendment that leaves party closures up to the decision of the parliament, explains the writer. Responding to the question of whether the abolition of Article 15 will open the path to the prosecution of the perpetrators of the 12 September, Civaoglu argues that the statute of limitations applies in this case.

    According to a report by Turan Yilmaz in Hurriyet (19.03.10), certain surprise changes have been made in the constitutional amendment package. The report notes that the AKP has renounced its insistence on parliamentary involvement in the choice of HSYK members and has introduced the "Venice criteria" to party closures.

    Questioning whether the HSYK is untouchable in an article in Sabah (19.03.10), Nazli Ilicak argues that the reforms foreseen for the HSYK include increasing the number of its members and diversifying its electors which she claims will make the Council more democratic. The presence of the justice minister within the Council has also drawn a lot of criticism from the West, writes Ilicak, proposing that the minister either attend the Council meetings without the right of vote or forego membership altogether. Ilicak further claims that the influence of the justice minister is considerably reduced with the increase in the number of the HSYK members.

    It is generally agreed that Article 15 is a disgrace, writes Okay Gonensin in an article in Vatan (19.03.10), adding: "Certain jurists says that even if this article is abolished it will not be possible to prosecute the perpetrators of the 12 September coup because of the statute of limitations. Still, even an 'attempt' at prosecutions is important." There were no surprises in the constitutional amendment package other than the proposal to abolish Article 15, claims Gonensin, pointing out that the reduction of the election threshold is an issue that the opposition parties represented in parliament never mention and that it might never be discussed. Gonensin claims that if the package is endorsed in parliament and submitted to a referendum, the opposition will have a hard time explaining the reason why it does not want the prosecution of the 12 September coupists and why it is against increasing the syndicalism rights of civil servants. The AKP, in return, will have a difficult time explaining why it is against limiting the parliamentary immunity of deputies to their political activities, notes Gonensin.

    In an article entitled "What we are going to correct by changing the Constitution", Zaman (19.03.10) columnist Mumtazer Turkone asserts that the latest constitutional amendment package is aimed at "aligning Turkey's "anachronistic" judiciary and military with the country's "advanced and powerful institutions and its dynamic potential" by preventing "oligarchic" bodies like the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors, HSYK, from misusing judicial independence as a means of promoting certain political and ideological ends as well as by streamlining the military and making its offending members subject to civilian prosecution so as to prevent its top generals from "openly interfering with the judiciary" by publicly defending certain suspects.

    In an article entitled "A new closure case under way?", Today's Zaman (19.03.10) columnist Yavuz Baydar comments on "rumours" that a new lawsuit against the AKP intended "primarily to ban [its] top leadership from politics rather than closing the party altogether" might be announced before the end of this month.

    Writing in Hurriyet (20.03.10), Mehmet Y. Yilmaz assesses the constitutional amendments proposed by the AKP government after the "main lines of the Constitutional" changes seem to have been crystallized in his commentary. Noting that "it is meaningless to discuss the details at this stage" because the main lines point out to a "convoluted" Constitutional amendment, Yilmaz continues: "In the event that the AKP keeps its word and tries to find a conciliatory basis with the opposition, this means that the present proposed amendments will change. Thus, it is better to discuss this issue then. For this reason, it is better to discuss the problems that will arise if the AKP will put these amendments to a referendum. In the event that the amendments are submitted as a package and put to a referendum, who will vote for what? You will be voting for the amendments you do not want when you vote for those you want. Or the opposite will happen. If you vote 'no' for the articles you do not agree with, you will be rejecting the amendments you agree with also. That is, there is an Oriental ruse at work. What is the goal here -- to undertake a step toward democratizing the Constitution, or to acquire political gains by cornering the opposition?

    Criticizing the haphazard manner in which the government is going about the constitutional amendments in his article in Milliyet (21.03.10), Melih Asik writes: "The AKP [Justice and Development Party] Administration has collected the 184 signatures necessary for proposing the constitutional amendments. In other words, 184 deputies have read the package that has yet to be finalized, that is undergoing all sorts of changes at every single moment, and that will further be changed. They have approved of it! They have signed it!" Arguing that the Constitution is being amended without resorting to the views of prominent jurists in the country, Asik concludes: "The pressure of the government over the judiciary is being increased under the guise of reforms. The rest is just for decoration."

    b) Turkish-Armenian Protocols/Turkish-US Relations

    Describing the government decision not to withdraw from the National Assembly the Turkish-Armenian protocols as a wise move in an article in Milliyet (19.03.10), Sami Kohen points out that had the protocols been withdrawn, Turkey would have attracted the wrath of the international community and would have lost its trump card regarding the Karabakh conflict. Cautiously optimistic about the efforts being exerted by the Minsk group, the United States, and Russia regarding the solution of the Karabakh issue, Kohen argues that keeping the protocols alive can help draw a "framework" agreement based on the Madrid principles regarding the transfer to Azerbaijan of the seven sections in Karabakh that are under Armenian control.

    The Turkish ambassador to the United States should be in Washington so that he can convey the views of the Turkish Government to the US Administration, underlines Gungor Uras in his article in Milliyet (19.03.10), adding that with the same logic Prime Minister Erdogan should attend the Nuclear Security Summit to be held in Washington in a bid not to damage Turkish-US relations. Lauding the Turkish foreign policy principle of zero problems with its neighbours, Uras, nevertheless, argues that Turkey, as a member of the international community is expected to support the joint decisions of the international community regarding Iran's nuclear program and to vote in line with those decisions at the UN Security Council. "It is impossible to view as positive Turkey's attempts toward energy cooperation with Iran," writes Uras, recalling that Turkey's abstention at the International Atomic Energy Commission last November was not well received by Washington.

    Not only the Foreign Ministry but the foreign policy team of the prime minister is now busy trying to repair the damage caused by Erdogan's remarks about deporting illegal Armenians, writes Ismet Berkan in an article in Radikal (19.03.10). Cabinet members and AKP officials refrain from commenting on these remarks, points out Berkan, adding: "Almost all believe that this statement was wrong, but cannot risk contradicting the prime minister." Recalling the strong opposition of the AKP deputies to the proposal made by CHP deputies Aritman, Elekdag, and Oymen at the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee to deport illegal Armenians, Berkan argues that the prime minister, during his preparations for the BBC interview, was warned not to make remarks that might be construed as a threat against the Armenians in the country. The obstacles that Turkey has to overcome until 24 April have increased as a result of Erdogan's statement to the BBC, states Berkan, concluding that presently he would not like to exchange places with Foreign Minister Davutoglu.

    Erdogan's threat of deportation does not befit a statesman, underlines Ali Sirmen in an article in Cumhuriyet (19.03.10). If there is a problem about illegal workers, then one should look into the reasons why and when a blind eye was turned to the phenomenon, declares Sirmen, adding: "We cannot says at the time it was convenient to turn a blind eye and now it does not suit us, so we are taking a stand against them. This stand is tantamount to using these people as a tool for blackmail, which no state official can allow himself to adopt such a position." Questioning why illegal Armenians will be deported while there are so many illegal from many other countries, Sirmen underlines that placing our problems with Armenia, its Diaspora, and the United States on the shoulders of these unfortunate people is a disgrace and a crime. The writer accuses the administrators of the country of being fake heroes at the expense of these unfortunate people instead of facing their real interlocutors in this problem, namely Armenia and the United States.

    In an article entitled "Swords Drawn", Yeni Safak (19.03.10) columnist Ibrahim Karagul hails Iran and Pakistan's signing of a natural gas pipeline agreement in Turkey at a time when the United States is trying to "blackmail" Turkey into supporting international sanctions against Iran by preparing to recognize the Armenian claims of genocide as a development which means that the United States' allies in this region have abandoned their long-standing practice of supporting US policies despite being frequently double-crossed by Washington.

    In his commentary entitled "Catholic marriage with Washington" in Milliyet (20.03.10), Sami Kohen refers Asli Aydintasbas comments describing the US-Turkish relations as a "marriage without soul." Agreeing with Aydintasbas that the US-Turkish marriage has embarked on another stage different from those past years, when it was full of warm feelings, mutual trust, and togetherness, Kohen adds that, this, however does not mean that the marriage will end and ties severed. "The marriage is continuing, even if with different feelings," explains Kohen and continues: "It will also continue for a long time, just like a 'Catholic marriage. There are various reasons for this manner of the Turkish-US relations. Both sides do not want to give each other up and severe relations. Both sides understand that these relations are a necessity of their mutual interests despite certain frictions from time to time." Recounting that officials in both Washington and European capitals say that Turkey should no longer be considered a "bird in the bag" and that relations should be adjusted according to this reality, Kohen adds that "Philip Gordon's comments in Washington set an example to this new approach. This marriage

    In an article in Hurriyet (21.03.10), Ferai Tinc focuses on the remarks made by Prime Minister Erdogan directed against those who are critical of his threat to deport illegal Armenians. Tinc calls on the prime minister, who has been accusing those who are criticizing him of protecting the interests of the Armenians, to have a look at the EU 2009 Progress Report in which Turkey is mentioned as one of the most critical countries with regards to illegal migration. Enumerating the accusations levelled against Turkey in the report for not fulfilling its duties with regards to the refugee issue, Tinc recalls that the claims made in the US Human Rights Report about the "abuse" of illegal workers in the country. The prime minister's reference to "illegal workers" and his announcement that Turkey's decisions on the issue are totally arbitrary at a time when Turkey is under such pressure on the issue makes one wonder whose interests Erdogan is protecting, writes Tinc.


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