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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-03-24

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. 56/10 24.03.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] TDP supported Talats candidature in the so-called presidential elections
  • [02] Talat launched his election campaign
  • [03] Eroglu stated that the existence of the TRNC must be made known to the world
  • [04] Independent candidate Tumkan visited TDP and BKP
  • [05] Ercakica said that some compromises were reached and have been registered in front of the UN
  • [06] Cavusoglu met with the Turkish Minister of Energy in Ankara
  • [07] Turkish government cancelled appointments with self-styled ministers
  • [08] The so-called assembly in occupied Cyprus published a book regarding its decisions on the Cyprus problem from 1975 until today
  • [09] The Australian High Commissioner visited Turgay Avci
  • [10] EU Commissioner stated to Hurriyet that a comprehensive settlement on Cyprus would give a fresh momentum to Turkeys EU accession
  • [11] German Chancellor due to Turkey on March 29-30; Cyprus among the issues of discussion
  • [12] Babacan assesses Turkeys political, social and economic achievements in the past eight years
  • [13] Turkish Business Association will pay a visit to the USA
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [14] Turkish Cypriot columnist assesses the meddling of Turkey in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [15] From the Turkish Press of 23 March 2010

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] TDP supported Talats candidature in the so-called presidential elections

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (24.03.10) reports that the Social Democrat Party (TDP) announced officially, in a press conference last night, its support to the independent candidate Mehmet Ali Talat for the so-called presidential elections in April 2010. A cooperation protocol was signed between TDP and Talat. According to the protocol, they will continue their struggle for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal Cyprus based on the political equality. They will continue the ongoing negotiations for a Cyprus settlement.

    Mr Cakici, leader of TDP, made a call on supporters of the solution to give their support to Talat. He also noted: We want solution soon. We support solution and peace. The Turkish Cypriots course is towards the solution, there is no other way. Mr Cakici also said that they support Talat because he is the closes candidate to the solution and added that if Eroglu is elected, this will be tantamount to the interruption of the negotiation process.

    On his part, Mr Talat said that TDPs support is a historic decision and that he will not disappoint TDP. He also added that they will fight for a solution and they will not leave this election to peace opponents.

    (DPs)

    [02] Talat launched his election campaign

    Illegal Bayrak television (23.03.10) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that he is determined to maintain the struggle for the integration of the Cyprus Turkish people with the rest of the world.President Talat gave the start to his election campaign with a visit to Ozankoy [occupied Kazafani] --his fathers home village. President Talat first visited the graves of his parents.

    In an address to villagers who gathered in front of the Ozankoy Sports Club, the President once again voiced his determination to maintain the struggle for the integration of the Cyprus Turkish People with the rest of the world. He called on the people of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to make the correct evaluation while deciding for whom to vote in the Presidential elections, which he described as critical.

    In addition, illegal Bayrak (23.03.10) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that he has been working towards reaching a lasting peace in Cyprus. 'The fact that the Turks of Cyprus achieved important gains following the 2004 referendum should not be ignored', the President said.The President --who stands for re-election as an independent-- held a press conference at the Lokmaci crossing point [Ledra street crossing point] in Lefkosa today.

    President Talat said that the Lokmaci crossing point stood as a symbol of the division on the island. Describing the opening of the gate in 2008 as an important step, Talat said that the opening of the Lokmaci crossing proved that it is possible to settle the Cyprus Problem through decisive and pertinacious work.

    Explaining that the Turkish side was working hard to solve the Cyprus Problem and that this effort was being highly praised by the international community, the President said the world saw that the Turks of Cyprus are sincere and serious about a settlement.Noting that various circles in the TRNC were disturbed by the improved image of the Turks of Cyprus in the eyes of the international community, he complained that the progress reached in the talks has been played down by these circles.

    [03] Eroglu stated that the existence of the TRNC must be made known to the world

    Illegal Bayrak television broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu has said that those who has been promising to unite the Cyprus Turkish People with the world, should first tell the realities of the island to the world and should make it aware of the existence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as a state. The Premier was speaking at a dinner attended by representatives of civil society organizations which are in support of his Presidential candidacy.

    In an address at the event at the Saray Hotel in Lefkosa last night, Mr Eroglu repeated once again that the Cyprus talks will continue if he wins the Presidential elections. Noting that the existence of the TRNC and the bitter experiences of the past should not be ignored while continuing the talks, the Prime Minister said he will be struggling to prevent the reoccurrence of past experiences and to protect the gained rights. Mr Eroglu said he will be searching ways of bringing an agreement by insisting on the equality and sovereignty of the TRNC People.

    [04] Independent candidate Tumkan visited TDP and BKP

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (24.03.10) reports that the independent candidate for the illegal presidential elections, Mr Mustafa Kemal Tumkan, paid separate visits to the Social Democracy Party (TDP) and the United Cyprus Party (BKP). Speaking during his meeting with the TDP leader, Mr Tumkan stated that since his youth, he was very sensitive with the social issues. He added that in 1999, during the EU Helsinki Summit, they watched the road of the Greek Cypriots to be paved for the EU accession process, without the veto right of the Turkish Cypriots to be taken into consideration. Regarding the negotiations on the Cyprus problem, he stated that the matter is not whether the negotiations will be continued or not. The important thing is what will be the issues of discussion and when the proposals of the sides will be announced.

    Furthermore, Mr Tumkan paid a visit to BKP, where he met with the partys general secretary, Mr Izzet Izcan, and the member of the executive committee, Mr Abdullah Korkmazhan. During the meeting, Mr Tumkan said that he is visiting BKP in order to be benefitted from its experience and to share his thoughts with it. On his part, BKP leader Izcan said that as a party they struggled for peace in Cyprus, for a unified Cyprus, for democracy and for the will of the Turkish Cypriots.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.03.10) reports that independent candidate for the upcoming illegal presidential elections of April 18, Mr Ayhan Kaymak, determined the logo that he will use during his election campaign. The logo will portray the lantern of the Greek philosopher Diogenes. As Mr Kaymak said, the lantern, the philosophy and the views of the Greek philosopher Diogenes will be his guide during the elections. He added that just as Diogenes was looking for an honest man, he is looking for the wise votes.

    (EA)

    [05] Ercakica said that some compromises were reached and registered in front of the UN

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (24.03.10) reports that Hasan Ercakica, spokesperson of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, issued a written statement yesterday and alleged that the Turkish Cypriot leader defends only the legitimate rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots at the negotiation table and took this legitimacy from Turkish Cypriots political will for a solution.

    Mr Ercakica said: The Turkish Cypriot people should know the following: independently of whether or not the compromises reached in the negotiations are announced, the important element is that these compromises have already been reached and this is registered in front of the UN.

    Ercakica noted that the issuing of a joint statement between the two leaders regarding the agreement reached worries some circles, who try to present this statement as a demand of Mr Talat.

    Ercakica described as meaningful the fact that only some marginal circles in the Greek Cypriot side and the National Unity Party (UBP) worry about the issuing of such statement in spite of the fact that all sides concerned and mainly the UN and Turkey have been making a call for a long time in the direction of issuing of such a statement.

    [06] Cavusoglu met with the Turkish Minister of Energy in Ankara

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.03.10) reports that the self-styled minister of agriculture and natural resources, Nazim Cavusoglu, held contacts and exchanged views in Ankara with the Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Taner Yildiz on issues related to the two ministries. The meeting was closed to the press and according to statements made by Mr Cavusoglu after the conclusion of the meeting, issues related to agriculture and natural resources in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as developments in Turkey were discussed.

    Announcing that Turkey is ready to provide any kind of support to the illegal regime, Minister Yildiz said that it is possible for the experience of Turkey in the fields of mining and engineering to be transferred to the occupied areas. Replying to a question whether it is possible for a cooperation to be established between Turkey and occupied Cyprus in the field of energy, Mr Yildiz said that such cooperation is possible to be established, while noted that the works for meeting the water shortage in occupied Cyprus are continuing.

    (ML)

    [07] Turkish government cancelled appointments with self-styled ministers

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (24.03.10), in its front page under the title Shock to ministers for appointments in Ankara, reports that the self-styled ministers of finance and agriculture, Ersin Tatar and Nazim Cavusoglu respectively, who are in Ankara in order to meet with Turkeys Ministers of Agriculture and Finance, were shocked with the cancellation of these appointments, few days before the so-called presidential elections.

    According to the paper, Turkeys Minister of Finance Mehmet Simsek cancelled yesterday the appointment with the self-styled minister Tatar without giving any excuse. Turkeys Minister of Agriculture also cancelled the appointment with self-styled minister Cavusoglu that was going to be held today. It was announced that Turkish Ministers will not have any meetings with self-styled ministers of the breakaway regime.

    (DPs)

    [08] The so-called assembly in occupied Cyprus published a book regarding its decisions on the Cyprus problem from 1975 until today

    Under the title A book regarding the Parliamentary decisions on Cyprus is published, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.03.10) reports that the so-called assembly established in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus has collected and published in a book all its decisions announced on the Cyprus problem from 1975 until today. The book, which published in occupied Lefkosia in December 2009, is entitled The past decisions of the parliament on Cyprus and based on a chronological order, it includes twentyfour decisions announced by the so --called parliament on the Cyprus problem. The book was described by the self-- styled spokesman of the parliament, Hasan Bozer, as a historic document regarding the efforts for reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    (ML)

    [09] The Australian High Commissioner visited Turgay Avci

    Illegal Bayrak television (23.03.10) broadcast the following:

    The Australian High Commissioner Evan Williams has paid a courtesy visit to the Leader of the Freedom and Reform Party Turgay Avci. No statement was issued before or after the meeting.

    [10] EU Commissioner stated to Hurriyet that a comprehensive settlement on Cyprus would give a fresh momentum to Turkeys EU accession

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (22.03.10) publishes an interview with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule under the title Social consensus needed for reforms, EU commissioner says:

    Turkey has yet to reach a consensus in passing reforms necessary for EU accession, according to the union's enlargement commissioner, Stefan Fule. In an interview with the Daily News, Fule calls for 'a consensus between political parties and different segments of society, and says, 'Unfortunately, this is lacking somewhat in Turkey at the moment'.

    Developing a national consensus is crucial to implementing the reforms necessary for Turkey's European Union accession, according to the EU's commissioner for enlargement.

    'Negotiations are moving forward with new legislation being passed by the Turkish Parliament. Such reforms consolidate the democratic, market-oriented path taken by Turkish society and help the country compete and integrate with global markets, ' the EU's commissioner for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy, Stefan Fule, told the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review during an interview last week.

    The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has been seeking support for a constitutional amendment package but the opposition seems unlikely to back it. 'Difficult and demanding reforms require open debate. But to achieve results and reach the end goal, what is needed above all is a spirit of dialogue, compromise and consensus between political parties and different segments of Turkish society, he said.

    Coming from the Czech Republic, which was a candidate country less than six years ago, Fule said, 'I'm therefore best placed to know how demanding and difficult accession negotiations are'. He said national consensus is critical in meeting the accession criteria. '[This] means, concretely, a spirit of compromise between the political parties on the required reforms. Unfortunately, this is lacking somewhat in Turkey at the moment. Fule said there were also difficulties in achieving the spirit of compromise in the Czech Republic. 'Once found, however, such compromises proved decisive.

    After holding talks in Ankara and Istanbul last week, Fule said: 'Bringing Turkey closer to the EU belongs to my highest priorities. This is not an easy task, neither for Turkey nor for me, but I am thoroughly convinced that it is worth every effort. Turkey's accession would reaffirm the EU claim of the universality of secular democracy, he said. 'An EU with Turkey as a member would be a much more influential and credible international political player and an example of coexistence for hundreds of millions of people. This would turn the concept of the 'clash of civilizations' into the alliance of civilizations.

    Asked about a recent European Parliament report that criticizes Turkey and urges it to immediately open its ports to Greek Cypriot ships and planes, he said: 'It is a product of intense debates across the various groups. 'In any case, the European Parliament did not question the accession process of Turkey. It expressed criticism on a number of points. It is part of the overall democratic debate in the EU. Such a debate is normal. It will continue and evolve until the very end of the accession process, and even beyond --the same way there will be a debate in Turkey on the EU.

    Asked about Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's harsh criticism toward the union, Fule said: We should learn from these debates, not reject them. They will help us better address the concerns expressed on various issues.

    Many experts argue the deadlock on the divided island of Cyprus might completely freeze the Turkey-EU accession process. A comprehensive settlement on Cyprus, ending the 46-year-long problems, is in the interest of all, Fule said. It would be first of all a turning point in the history of Europe. It would also give a fresh momentum to Turkey's accession negotiations, as several chapters could be opened and some even closed. Noting that the ongoing peace negotiations under the umbrella of the United Nations were a historic opportunity which should not be missed, Fule said, [All parties should] put all their weight behind the negotiations in view of a comprehensive settlement."

    [11] German Chancellor due to Turkey on March 29-30; Cyprus among the issues of discussion

    Turkish state TRT television (23.03.10) broadcast the following:

    Merkels visit is expected to boost momentum for economic, social and cultural affairs in Turkish-German relations. Germanys Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to pay an official visit to Turkey on March 29-30, with a compound agenda of economic and political relations.

    Turkeys EU Accession Process appears to be the priority of Chancellor Merkels contacts in Turkey, as she is expected to express pacta sund servanda --confidence in the previous commitments. Besides, German Chancellor has said she will offer Turkey alternatives to full EU membership during her visit to Turkey, which had been expected to focus on bilateral and commercial ties. I am of the opinion that we should rather aim for a privileged partnership, in other words a very close affiliation of Turkey to the European Union, Merkel was quoted as saying by dpa/Deutsche Presse Agentur in an interview held by Deutschlandfunk radio on Sunday. EU countries unanimously agreed to open official accession talks with Turkey in 2005 before Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, another prominent sceptic about Turkeys bid, took power.

    Significant concerns for the Turkish people living in Germany, such as double citizenship, intercultural marriages and visa requirements, will also be high on the agenda.

    German Chancellor last visited Turkey in 2006.

    Meanwhile, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (online, 24.03.10) reports on statements of Chancellor Merkel while speaking to a small group of Turkish journalists prior to her visit to Turkey, in Berlin. Mr Merkel, inter alia, stated that during her meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Cyprus problem will be discussed and added that she will demand for the opening of the Turkish ports to the aeroplanes and the ships under the Cyprus flag, as part for the completion of the Ankara Protocol.

    [12] Babacan assesses Turkeys political, social and economic achievements in the past eight years

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.03.10) reported the following:

    The Turkish state minister for economy said on Tuesday that Turkey had become a different country when compared with eight years ago.

    Turkey's State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said that Turkey, which had gone into a rapid political, social and economic transformation process in 2002, had turned into a different country today. Turkey, which used to get foreign assistance since 2004, has now started to extend assistance between 600 million and 1 billion USD every year, Babacan said during a meeting entitled Rising Turkey in Brussels, Belgium.

    The European Policy Centre and Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKON) organized the meeting.

    Turkey has also assumed an active role as a mediator in all serious crisis, and increased its participation and efficiency in many international platforms, particularly the United Nations (UN), Babacan said. He said that Turkey had exerted efforts for democracy and stability in many problematic countries, particularly Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The minister said Turkey had proved its economic maturity with the global crisis, and it was the only country among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) members which did not allocate Treasury resources for banks. International organizations had forecast that Turkey would be the highest growing country in Europe in 2010, Babacan said.

    Babacan projected that the global economy was recovering but risks were really high. The Turkish minister said Turkey had made public its strategy of way out of the crisis, and got the support of investors. Rating organizations, therefore, had raised Turkey's rating, he also said.

    During the meeting, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, a member of the European Parliament who is also the spouse of Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, expressed sorrow over decision of the Swedish Parliament acknowledging Armenian theses regarding the incidents of 1915. Bildt said it was not the duty of politicians to write history of Turkey, and congratulated Turkey on its recent initiatives with Armenia. Anna Maria Corazza Bildt also said what was important was a compromise between Turkey and Armenia.

    Then, Babacan said the protocols signed by Turkey and Armenia foresaw establishment of a joint history committee to deal with the incidents of 1915, comprised of international scholars. We are ready to face the facts to be revealed by the committee, and Turkey is sincere and ready to normalize its relations with Armenia, he said. However, the problem caused by occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories should be solved, he also said. Babacan said problems between Turkey and Armenia should be solved in a big package including Azerbaijan. The Minsk Group should involve in the process, otherwise peace and stability in the Caucasus could be harmed, he said. Babacan said decisions of third countries and parliaments were not a good method to write history.

    On the recent constitutional amendment bill, Babacan said the Turkish government aimed to strengthen democracy and rule of law, which would make Turkey a more predictable country for investors.

    Babacan also said the bill would help Turkey fulfil a great deal of the judicial reform the European Union (EU) expected from Turkey.

    [13] Turkish Business Association will pay a visit to the USA

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.03.10 reports the following:

    Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) will pay a visit to the United States on April 19 and 20. TUSIAD stated on Tuesday that the visit to the U.S, which was earlier planned to be paid on March 16 and 17, would take place in April. The visit aimed to contribute to the development of dialogue between Turkey and the U.S, added TUSIAD.

    TUSIAD delegation will hold meetings with members of the U.S. House of Representatives, State Department officials and representatives of international economic organizations as well as in important think-tank organizations. During the meetings, officials will discuss recent political and economic developments, Armenian issue and regional matters.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [14] Turkish Cypriot columnist assesses the meddling of Turkey in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Under the title The meddling of Turkey and the TRNC presidential elections, Cigdem Durust Falay assesses the meddling of Turkey in the elections in the occupied areas of Cyprus in her column in Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (24.03.10). Mrs Falay writes, inter alia, the following:

    Is there meddling by Turkey or not? Do we want this to happen or not? Should Turkey meddle and show that it meddles or meddle without showing it?(!) The meaning of the presidential elections for a group of voters and some parties consists of this! I could not resist and I am writing [about] the meddling of Turkey and the TRNC presidential elections. I would like to say that the expression that the Republic of Turkey is meddling in these elections seems that will become the main topic of the presidential elections, but this has already happened. It happened and I do not understand why it was so surprising and too heavy. In any case has Turkey not been meddling in northern Cyprus since 1974? Has Turkey not been the one that caused the election of the National Unity Party (UBP) governments which lasted almost for centuries(!)? Has the term of presidency of the founding president not lasted at least as long as that thanks to Turkey? Our population structure, our economy, our monetary unit, the absence of our industry, a part of the changes in our cultural structure, our international relations, even the existence of the TRNC itself, have all these not happened with meddling of the Republic of Turkey? What happened and some of our politicians, who wanted the meddling of the Republic of Turkey for so many years- and our current government consists of these politicians- are now behaving as if they are terrified in front of this situation?

    Efforts are exerted for these elections to lose their dynamics and to be turned into a race of doing whatever the Republic of Turkey wants. It is very strange that the UBP presidential candidate and prime minister, Dervis Eroglu and those who support him refer continuously to this meddling and these references increase every day That is, the UBP is not receiving the desired reply either from Turkey or from its opponents

    I am ashamed! I have a state, I am a citizen of a state and while the world in this way or the other, willingly or unwillingly, started to accept me, I am ashamed of revealing the diseased structure in my internal affairs. A statesman and a prime minister, who became a candidate for the presidency of the TRNC, says something. He states that he would promote the TRNC, he would continue the negotiations and he would defend and exalt the Turkish existence in Cyprus. However, he is not giving a formula on how he will do this. I had written before that there are voters now who pay attention not to those who give promises, but to those who do actions

    Since yesterday morning, another surprising point was added in the mind of the voters: Why the youth organization of the UBP, which says we are annoyed from the meddling of Turkey in the TRNC presidential elections, evaluates the visit of the AKP youth organization as such a meddling? Why is it trying to create the perception that here it is the meddling of Turkey, important persons from the AKP youth organization came secretly and held meetings only with the UBP youth organization. This does not seem honest to me

    (I/Ts.)

    [15] From the Turkish Press of 23 March 2010

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 23 March 2010:

    Constitutional Amendments:

    Hurriyet carries an article entitled 'Let us discuss the goal first' by Oktay Eksi who argues that the bill is actually designed to make the judiciary dependent on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) while broadening the President's powers probably because Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will succeed Abdullah Gul as President. He also points out that a proposed amendment to Article 10 of the Constitution which provides that any action which may be taken in order to ensure that women and men enjoy equal rights may not be construed in a manner conflicting with the principle of equality is actually intended to lift the current restrictions on wearing headscarf.

    In an article entitled "Politics is very difficult," Hurriyet columnist, Mehmet Yilmaz, says that the proposed constitutional amendments are clearly intended to find a solution to the AKP's complaints about the higher courts in Turkey. He comments: "In other words, we should expect that the AKP's concerns about the judiciary will end when those amendments are made. This should be the case because they have made this move at the cost of causing political tension." Yilmaz concludes by saying that the AKP's next move should be abolishing immunities granted to MPs because it is presumed that the judiciary will become fully independent and impartial after the amendments.

    Hurriyet carries an article entitled What's the duty of liberals? by Cuneyt Ulsever who criticizes the judicial reform the government is seeking and the liberals extending support to this effort. Ulsever explains that even if Parliament, therefore the government, appoints 'just a few members' to legal bodies such as the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Board of Judges (HSYK) and the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Council of State, the government's political power will increase out of proportion despite objections of real liberals.

    Milliyet carries an article entitled The Constitution package by Taha Akyol who says that one of the most important aspects of the bill aimed at amending the Constitution is to change the current structure of the Constitutional Court. He adds that the bill also contains some proposals deserving criticism such as vesting the President with more powers and permitting judges and public prosecutors to elect seven members of the High Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors (HSYK) because the government may influence the outcome of the vote by mobilizing judges and public prosecutors who are close to the ruling party.

    In an article entitled The positive aspects of the package, Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila analyzes the pros and cons of the bill and emphasizes that it was not drawn up after reaching a compromise with the opposition parties. Pointing out that another drawback of the bill is that it will be submitted to a referendum as a whole rather than dividing it into parts, Bila says: The measures in the package seem to have been drawn up with a view to ensuring the supremacy of the political authority. The constitutional amendments are intended to overcome problems witnessed between the government and the judiciary by consolidating the political authority.

    In an article entitled The Constitution and election, Milliyet columnist Derya Sazak emphasizes that it will not be easy for the AKP to push the bill through Parliament without submitting it to a referendum because the opposition parties, including the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) are strongly opposed to the blueprint. He comments: Debates over the Constitution may lead to an early election in Turkey. The AKP should, therefore, hold an early election rather than a referendum.

    Istanbul Sabah carries an article entitled Three questions by Erdal Safak who says that the bill offers solutions to problems caused by the closure of political parties due to implausible reasons and the political role allegedly assumed by higher courts. He comments: It may be found acceptable or unacceptable. If it is not found acceptable, efforts could and should be made to devise a better one.

    Radikal carries an article entitled Constitutional declaration by Nuray Mert who emphasizes that there should be radical changes to the Turkish Constitution based on open debates and participation involving all segments of society: Those who sincerely want democratization should raise the democracy bar. Otherwise, we all know that a tutelage system would be replaced by another one. The process that Turkey is going through would leave to the next generation a political system suffering from problems with different aspects rather than a democracy based on higher standards.

    In an article entitled The constitutional package, Radikal columnist Ismet Berkan points out that the opposition parties refuse to support the bill because they ascribe more importance to making sure that the AKP weakens and faces a defeat in the next general election than making changes to the Constitution. Berkan also says that the AKP may decide to submit the bill to a referendum depending on the outcome of deliberations in Parliament.

    Taraf carries an article entitled A complete transformation by Ahmet Altan who says that the CHP and the MHP defend the current system. He comments: They are siding with the 'ruling elite' rather than people. They are trying to make sure that the ruling elite remain in power, people are silenced, and that people's choices do not affect politics. Describing the package as a very serious step although it is not sufficient, Altan concludes by saying: We will gradually move toward a system where people rule because they are tired and sick of being treated as 'slaves' and being humiliated and oppressed in their own land.

    In an article entitled For democracy through law, Taraf columnist Yasemin Congar says that the AKP's bill is a civil blow to the current system controlled by the military. She adds: It is a step toward democratization which, in my opinion, is timid and insufficient. But, it is still important and deserves to be supported.

    Yeni Safak carries an article entitled Political reason is being sought by Fehmi Koru who says that the bill is primarily intended to expand democratic channels and to make progress toward becoming a country upholding the rule of law. Pointing out that the CHP is not enthusiastic about seizing the opportunity to make radical changes to the Constitution due to its conviction that it actually aims to serve the AKP's political interests, Koru comments: The opposition may be pleased with excessive powers currently vested with the HSYK and the Constitutional Court. But, we should not forget that the opposition parties may come to power in the future and the CHP may face the same problems which the AKP is now trying to cope with. Political reason dictates that actions which are right and reasonable should be taken without making any distinction between the ruling party and the opposition parties. Today's political reason dictates that the package of amendments drawn up by the ruling party should also be supported by the opposition parties.

    In an article entitled Constitutional amendments: delayed and troublesome, Vakit columnist Serdar Arseven predicts that the AKP will face difficulties in making the envisaged constitutional amendments due to obstacles expected to be posed by the CHP and the MHP. He comments: The changes may eventually be referred to the Constitutional Court. If the Court annuls them, they would suffer more erosion and tension would mount. The election would be held in that atmosphere. It would be revealed once again that the opposition parties represented in Parliament are against people's will.

    Zaman carries an article entitled Could the AKP amend the Constitution? by Ihsan Dagi who says that the AKP will probably be unable to secure 367 votes in Parliament which will be necessary to pass the bill without submitting it to a referendum. Pointing out that the AKP may even face difficulties in convincing at least 330 MPs to vote in favor of the bill so that a referendum can be held, Dagi advises the AKP to opt for making comprehensive changes to the Constitution in order to solicit support from people with different political opinions.

    EI/


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