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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-03-30

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. 59/10 30.03.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Talat attended the ceremony for the opening of Limnitis crossing point
  • [02] Talat describes as revolution the recent decision of the ECHR on the property issue
  • [03] Eroglu says he will establish a national council and the red lines of the people will become his own red lines in the negotiations
  • [04] Presidential candidate Kirdag stated that if he is elected he will protect the sovereignty of the occupation regime
  • [05] A total of 164,072 persons will vote in the so-called presidential elections
  • [06] Another public opinion poll shows that Eroglu will most probably be the winner of the illegal elections
  • [07] The occupation regime wins first place in Taekwondo championship in Moldova
  • [08] Chancellor Merkel in Ankara; She urges Turkey to take action on Cyprus in order to allow progress in its bid to join the EU
  • [09] Clinton had a telephone conversation with Davutoglu: She reaffirmed opposition to genocide resolution and invited Prime Minister Erdogan to Washington
  • [10] Education and food safety chapters to be opened in Turkeys accession talks
  • [11] The Turkish Minister of Defense attended the 2nd Doha Maritime and Defense Exhibition
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [12] From the Turkish Press on 29 March 2010

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Talat attended the ceremony for the opening of Limnitis crossing point

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.03.10) reports the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias attended a ceremony which was held for the beginning of construction of a new border crossing.

    The construction of 5,500 meter Yesilirmak [occupied Limnitis]-Pirgo village road --which will be built to open Yesilirmak border crossing-- began with a ceremony on Monday. Besides Talat and Christofias, EU and UN officials also attended the ceremony.

    Speaking at the ceremony, Talat said that the border crossing was important for the region. Noting that opening Yesilirmak border crossing showed that the Cyprus problem could be solved, Talat said that they should be insistent, sincere and determined during the Cyprus talks. Talat said that they recorded a serious progress in the Cyprus talks, adding that opening Yesilirmak border crossing was a step for consensus.

    Meanwhile, Greek Cypriot leader said that the beginning of the construction of the road was an important step for the people in the region, adding that the target was to find an integrated solution to the Cyprus problem. Christofias also wished success to Talat in TRNC presidential elections which will be held on April 18.

    The construction of the road is envisaged to be completed within four months by UNDP and a Turkish Cypriot-Greek Cypriot partnership company. The tender for the construction was held last week. During their 34th meeting on June 26, 2009, Talat and Christofias agreed on mutual passages via Yesilirmak border gate.

    EU Commission welcomed the activities initiated for the opening Yesilirmak border crossing which will be the seventh border gate between Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Greek Cypriot side.

    [02] Talat describes as revolution the recent decision of the ECHR on the property issue

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.03.10) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has described as revolution the recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the property issue in Cyprus.

    In statements yesterday during a tour in occupied Famagusta area, Mr Talat said that the forthcoming elections will not be held only for electing the president of the Turkish Cypriots, but at the same time the Turkish Cypriots will show whether they will become citizens of the world or they will return to the past, they will be humiliated and considered as separatists.

    Mr Talat reiterated that the policy he follows in cooperation with Turkey is a policy towards being unified with the world, in favor of the solution, understood by the world and in harmony with the resolutions of the UN Security Council.

    Mr Talat noted that thanks to this policy, the world, instead of criticizing the Turkish Cypriots, started to praise them and take subsequent decisions in favor of the Turkish Cypriots.

    Mr Talat said that with its recent decision, the ECHR found that the law prepared by the assembly of the breakaway regime is in harmony with the international law and directed the Greek Cypriots to the Immovable Property Commission established in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Mr Talat claimed that the court said that taking away property from persons who use this property according to the laws of the breakaway regime and returning this property to its old owners (as he called the legal Greek Cypriot owners of the properties in the occupied areas of Cyprus) would be tantamount to a new violation of human rights.

    This is a revolution. The rights of the user were recognized with this decision, he said.

    Noting that the European Parliament (EP) started to discuss the Direct Trade Regulation and most probably it will adopt it, Mr Talat added: The world is approving now our positions, our correct policies are approved.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Eroglu says he will establish a national council and the red lines of the people will become his own red lines in the negotiations

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.03.10) reports that Dervis Eroglu has said that he is in favor of an agreement for the solution of the Cyprus problem having as starting point the active and effective guarantees of Turkey, the two peoples and the reality of the TRNC.

    In statements during the opening of his election bureau in occupied Famagusta, Mr Eroglu reiterated that he will continue the negotiations for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem if he is elected and added that in parallel to this he will try to solve the problems of the country.

    Mr Eroglu said that he will establish a national council in order to take the views of the people while he negotiates the Cyprus problem and added that the red lines of the people will be his own red lines as well.

    Mr Eroglu noted that he will not allow President Christofias to make any comment regarding our citizens who came after 1974, as he described the settlers from Turkey who were brought illegally to the occupied areas of Cyprus after the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Presidential candidate Kirdag stated that if he is elected he will protect the sovereignty of the occupation regime

    Illegal Bayrak television (29.03.10) broadcast the following:

    Presidential candidate Arif Salih Kirdag has visited the Director of Bayrak Radio Television Corporation Ozel Kanli. During the visit, Kirdag provided information about the policies he will be pursuing if he wins the Presidential election to be held in April.

    He underlined the need to protect the sovereignty of the state and political equality of the Cyprus Turkish People in a possible agreement to be found to the Cyprus problem.

    For his part, BRT Director Kanli said that it is a democratic right for everyone to stand as a candidate and wished success to Kirdag in the elections.

    [05] A total of 164,072 persons will vote in the so-called presidential elections

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.03.10) reports the following:

    A total of 164,072 people will cast vote in the presidential election which will take place on April 18 in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

    TRNC Higher Election Board Chairperson Nevvar Nolan said on Monday that the number of registered electors for the presidential election was 164,072. Nolan listed the distribution of electors according to the towns as; Lefkosa: 51,381; Gazimagusa: 43,004; Girne: 31,233; Guzelyurt: 21,214 and Iskele: 17,240.

    Meanwhile, seven candidates will run the election. The names of the seven candidates are as follows:

    -President Mehmet Ali Talat (independent)

    -Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu (National Unity Party)

    -Mustafa Kemal Tumkan (independent)

    -Arif Salih Kirdag (independent)

    -Zeki Besiktepeli (independent)

    -Ayhan Kaymak (independent)

    -Tahsin Ertugruloglu (independent)

    The presidential election will be held in the TRNC on April 18. If any candidate cannot reach the required threshold of 50 percent in the first round, the second round of the election will be held on April 25 between the two candidates who received the highest number of votes in the first round.

    Rauf Denktas was the first president of the TRNC which was established in 1983. He remained in office from 1983 to 2005. He was replaced by Mehmet Ali Talat during the 2005 election.

    [06] Another public opinion poll shows that Eroglu will most probably be the winner of the illegal elections

    Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (30.03.10) reports that a public opinion poll carried out between 14-21 March 2010 in the occupied areas of Cyprus shows that Dervis Eroglu, chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP) and candidate of the party in the illegal presidential elections, seems to be ahead of Mehmet Ali Talat, Turkish Cypriot leader and independent candidate in the same elections, by almost 15 percent.

    According to the results of the survey, which was carried out by Redborder Research Company with the method of face to face interviews with 800 persons chosen randomly, 45.9% participants said they will vote for Mr Eroglu and only 30.2% expressed the intention to vote for Mr Talat.

    Moreover, 3.7% of the participants in the poll said that they will vote for Tahsin Ertugruloglu, 1.9% answered that they prefer another candidate and 18.3% stated that they have not decided yet.

    Redborder interviewed 256 persons from occupied Lefkosia, 208 from occupied Famagusta, 152 from occupied Keryneia, 104 from occupied Morfou and 80 from occupied Trikomo area.

    Mr Eroglu seems to be ahead of Mr Talat in all the above areas. According to the results of the survey, the distribution of votes will be the following:

    Lefkosia: Eroglu 39.8%, Talat 27.3%, Ertugruloglu 3.9%, Others 0.8% and Undecided 28.2%

    Famagusta: Eroglu 49%, Talat 29.8%, Ertugruloglu 3.8%, Others 2% and Undecided 15.4%

    Keryneia: Eroglu 44.7%, Talat 34.2%, Ertugruloglu 3.9%, Others 2.6% and Undecided 14.6%

    Morfou: Eroglu 53.8%, Talat 30.8%, Ertugruloglu 1.9%, Others 1.9% and Undecided 11.6%

    Trikomo: Eroglu 48.8%, Talat 31.7%, Ertugruloglu 4.9%, Others 4.8% and Undecided 9.8%.

    Asked which party they would vote for if elections were held today, the participants in the poll replied as following: National Unity Party 49.1%, Republican Turkish Party 20.7%, Democratic Party 3.5%, Freedom and Reform Party 1.7%, Social Democracy Party and United Cyprus Party 1.5%. The paper writes that 11.2% of the participants in the poll said they would vote horizontally and 10.8% that they preferred no party.

    Asked on what kind of a solution should be found to the Cyprus problem, 48.1% of the sample said they support an independent and recognized TRNC, 21.4% said they want a federation, 14.2% asked for unification with Turkey, 7.5% said they want confederation, 2% noted that they are in favor of the Taiwan model, 1.2% expressed other views and 5.6% said they have no opinion or refused to answer.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] The occupation regime wins first place in Taekwondo championship in Moldova

    Illegal Bayrak television (29.03.10) broadcast the following:

    The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has won first place at the Voievod Taekwondo Championship in Moldova. The TRNC sportspersons won 10 gold and 2 silver medals in senior mens category.

    More than 550 sportspersons from 14 countries took part in the European Voievod Championship held in Moldova at the week-end.

    [08] Chancellor Merkel in Ankara; She urges Turkey to take action on Cyprus in order to allow progress in its bid to join the EU

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (30.03.10) reports the following:

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated on Monday that Turkey's accession talks with the European Union remain open-ended and urged Ankara to open its ports and airports to traffic from Greek Cyprus to allow progress in its bid to join the 27-nation bloc.

    Merkel, speaking at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, appeared to dismiss Turkish criticism that she has attempted to change the rules in the middle of the game by proposing a privileged partnership instead of full membership. She said the EU has changed a lot since Turkey was first offered the prospect of membership and lamented that her privileged partnership proposal was misperceived as a negative offer in Turkey, while it was meant to underline the special ties Turkey and the EU have.

    But negotiations continue, and they are open-ended, Merkel told the press conference in remarks translated into Turkish. She said the most important concrete step that should be taken now is resolution of the dispute over Cyprus. Turkey began EU membership talks in 2005 but negotiations over some policy areas are frozen over Turkey's refusal to allow ships and planes from Greek Cyprus to enter its ports and airspace. The EU urges Ankara to open its ports and airports to traffic from Greek Cyprus while Ankara says the bloc should first keep its promises to ease the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.

    Merkel arrived in Turkey amid tension over her privileged partnership proposal --rejected firmly by Ankara-- and Erdogan's call for Turkish high schools in Germany to help better integration of Germany's 3-million-strong Turkish immigrant community. Erdogan reiterated that there were several German-language schools in Turkey, adding that infrastructure work on a Turkish-German university in Istanbul was almost complete. He said he was happy to hear from Merkel that similar steps could be taken in Germany. Merkel said in response that there could be Turkish schools in Germany but this should not mean that the Turks in Germany do not need to learn German.

    In remarks before her visit, Merkel rejected Erdogans recently renewed suggestion that Turkish-language schools should be set up in Germany. In 2008, a similar proposal by Erdogan received a cool response from Merkel, who said Turkish immigrants must come to terms with the German way of life. She criticized an assertion by Erdogan that assimilation is a crime against humanity.

    Germany is home to some 2.7 million people of Turkish origin; an estimated 500,000 are German citizens. While many are fully integrated in society, others speak German poorly and tend to stay within large Turkish-speaking communities. Merkel had earlier welcomed Erdogans call for integration and for immigrants to learn German but also argued that the two countries need to talk more about how they understand integration.

    The two leaders also discussed Iran's nuclear program on Monday. While Erdogan reiterated that sanctions against Iran are unlikely to bear fruit, Merkel said Germany would be happy if Turkey joins the Western countries that are likely to vote for sanctions against Tehran at the UN Security Council in the coming weeks.

    In a video message posted on her official Web site ahead of the visit, Merkel highlighted that Germany supports imposing new sanctions on Iran unless the latter displays sufficient transparency concerning its nuclear program. Turkey's stance favoring pushing for diplomatic means for resolving the issue and its extreme reluctance to impose sanctions on Iran have been frequently voiced by senior leaders ahead of Merkel's visit.

    Merkel arrived in Ankara on Monday accompanied by Minister of State Maria Bohmer, Germany's commissioner for migration, refugees and integration, and a large business delegation. This is Merkel's second visit to Turkey in her capacity as chancellor, the first one being in October 2006. In addition to Erdogan, Merkel had talks with President Abdullah Gul and State Minister and chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis on the first day of her two-day visit.

    In her meeting with Bagis, Merkel praised the government's plans to reform the Constitution, saying the amendment package was encouraging, sources close to the meeting said. She also said her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) would support the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) aspirations to join the group of conservative parties in the European Parliament, namely the European People's Party (EPP).

    Subtitle: Commercial aspect

    The German chancellor's visit has also had a focus on bilateral and commercial ties, as reflected by the presence of the large business delegation accompanying Merkel.

    A major gas pipeline crossing Turkey was among the topics expected to be discussed by the German and Turkish officials. The Nabucco natural-gas pipeline project envisages reducing dependence on Russia for this fuel. It would increase the importance of Turkey as a transit country to the EU, and is preferred as an alternative to the Ukraine, which currently transits Russian gas to European customers.

    Our business relationship with Turkey has been developing at above-average rates for several years, Werner Schnappauf, the chief executive of the German Industry Federation (BDI) said in remarks to the newspaper Handelsblatt ahead of the visit. He said German exports to Turkey were worth 15 billion euros in 2008, making it more important as a market than Japan, adding that the BDI wants a new double-taxation agreement between Turkey and Germany. Berlin will cancel the old agreement with effect from the end of 2010. A new one must replace it without any gap if the economic relationship is to continue undamaged, Schnappauf warned.

    On the second stop of her visit to Turkey, in Istanbul, Merkel will today attend a Turkish-German Business Forum along with Erdogan. The forum will be jointly held by the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB).

    While in Istanbul, Merkel is expected to hold a meeting with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as well as visiting the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

    Meanwhile, Turkish daily Zaman newspaper (online, 30.03.10) reports on the meeting of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel with the Turkish President Abdullah Gul. During their meeting, the two leaders had the chance to discuss about Turkeys EU process. Speaking at the meeting, Mr Gul noted that Turkeys EU target is full membership. Responding to Chancellor Merkels criticism for the non-implementation of the Ankara Protocol, Mr Gul said: Turkey proved its good intention to the Cyprus problem. Explain to the Greek Cypriot side as well what it has to do. When the Cyprus problem is solved, this problem will disappear as well.

    In addition, under the title, Bahceli, Baykal snub Merkel's invitation for sideline meeting, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (30.03.10) reports the following:

    The leaders of the two main opposition parties in Parliament have declined invitations extended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who wished to host them at a luncheon at the German Embassy in Ankara.

    Merkel, who arrived in Ankara for a two-day official visit on Monday, extended invitations to the leaders of all opposition parties with parliamentary groups, namely the main opposition Republican Peoples Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

    In diplomacy, there is no such style of meeting, CHP leader Deniz Baykal was quoted as saying by Turkish newspapers in remarks delivered on Sunday. Baykals reaction was to the format of the meeting, which would have lasted around 10 minutes and taken place on the sidelines of the luncheon. Approached by Todays Zaman, the CHPs press office was not able to provide any further information regarding Baykals objection to the format of the meeting.

    MHP leader Devlet Bahceli also refused the invitation, the MHP press office told Todays Zaman ahead of the luncheon. They declined to comment when asked whether there was any particular reason behind Bahcelis decision. BDP leader Selahattin Demirtas, meanwhile, decided to respond affirmatively to the invitation, the BDP press office said, adding that Demirtas expects to have a meeting that will last around 10-15 minutes.

    [09] Clinton had a telephone conversation with Davutoglu: She reaffirmed opposition to genocide resolution and invited Prime Minister Erdogan to Washington

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (30.03.10) reports the following:

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has reiterated that the Obama administration stands opposed to a resolution on Armenian genocide claims passed by a US congressional committee earlier this month and is also against a full House vote on the measure.

    Clinton reaffirmed the administration's position during a one-hour phone conversation with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Özügergin said in a statement released on Monday. The conversation was initiated by the US side, he said, and mainly focused on the resolution narrowly passed at the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs on March 4.

    The nonbinding resolution calls on President Barack Obama to label the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as genocide in the US president's annual statement on the issue, released on April 24 of every year. Turkey denies the genocide charges and calls for historians to study the events, which took place a century ago.

    Turkey angrily protested the vote and recalled its ambassador in Washington, D.C., saying it demands more clarification from the US administration that it is opposed to the resolution. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also put on hold a visit to the United States April 13-14 during which he would have attended a nuclear energy summit in the US capital.

    Davutoglu reiterated that the passage of the resolution created deep disappointment in the Turkish public and explained openly why the vote led to such a reaction from the Turkish government, Özügergin said. Davutoglu underlined that it was of critical importance for the resolution not to be brought to the House of Representatives for a vote and that politicians should not make decisions on history, warning that doing otherwise could damage both Turkish-US ties and historic efforts between Turkey and Armenia to reconcile their differences.

    Speaking after the House committee vote, Clinton said any action by the US Congress on this issue was not appropriate and that the administration does not believe the full Congress will or should act upon that resolution. But Ankara still resents that the US administration had not done enough to prevent the vote and is waiting to see if President Obama will use the word genocide in his April 24 message.

    Clinton told Davutoglu that she understood the Turkish concerns and added that US officials hope Erdogan will attend the nuclear summit in Washington, D.C. In response, Davutoglu said Erdogan would decide in the coming days whether to attend the meeting or not. More than 40 world leaders are expected at the summit.

    In addition Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (30.03.10) reports the following:

    The U.S. administration expects Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to participate in an international security summit in Washington set for next month.

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and underlined that Erdogans participation is expected in the International Nuclear Security Summit to be held in Washington on April 12 and 13 and that his attendance carries great importance in every respect, Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Özügergin said in a written statement released Monday.

    Davutoglu stated that the evaluation process on this subject was still continuing and that Prime Minister Erdogan would make his final decision on this matter in the coming days, Özügergin added.

    The main agenda of the telephone conversation, which took place upon the request of the U.S. side, according to the spokesman, was the Armenian genocide resolution that passed a U.S. congressional committee early this month.

    Turkish officials said after the telephone conversation that there was a 50 percent chance that Erdogan would travel to the U.S., adding that Ankara awaits strong signals from the United States regarding the Armenian resolution and assurance from Washington about the Turkish-Armenian protocols following the ruling of the Armenian top court.

    Officials said if Erdogan decides to go to Washington and is accompanied by his foreign minister, there could be a meeting with the Armenian Diaspora.

    Davutoglu explained the reasons for the deep disappointment and strong reaction by Turkish public opinion to the adoption of the resolution and underlined that it is critically important that the measure not go any further, said the spokesman.

    Clinton stated that she understood Davutoglus concerns, and stressed that the U.S. administration is opposed both to the House Foreign Affairs Committees decision and to further action on the genocide bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to the ministry.

    Clinton and Davutoglu also reportedly discussed the revival of Syria-Israel peace talks, developments on Palestine and the results of the Iraqi elections, as well as other regional issues.

    [10] Education and food safety chapters to be opened in Turkeys accession talks

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.03.10) reports the following:

    Spanish Secretary of State for European Affairs Diego Lopez Garrido said on Monday that education and food safety chapters would probably be opened in Turkey's membership negotiations with the EU.Garrido told reporters that during its EU presidency, Spain was assuming a stance of not suspending talks with Turkey, adding that moreover, Spain's position was to open new chapters with Turkey. He said that those new chapters would probably be the education and food safety.

    Garrido said that EU full membership was a mutual process, adding that Turkey should also fulfill its responsibilities.

    [11] The Turkish Minister of Defense attended the 2nd Doha Maritime and Defense Exhibition

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.03.10) reports the following:

    Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul attended Monday the inauguration of the 2nd Doha Maritime and Defense Exhibition (DIMDEX 2010) in Qatar.

    Gonul who is accompanied by Admiral Ugur Yigit, Turkish Navy Commander, met with Amir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Chief of Staff General Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah at the exhibition which brings together 129 companies from 26 countries.Turkey which opened a pavilion at the exhibition scheduled to run until March 31, is participating with products of 16 companies along with the TCG Gemlik frigate of the Turkish Navy.

    DIMDEX 2010 aims to provide an opportunity for companies producing high-end maritime technology to promote their products and services to an international and regional audience of high level government procurement personnel from navy and maritime security forces.

    Systems and platforms developed by the Turkish Navy are also promoted in Turkey's pavilion.Gonul is expected to return to Turkey on Tuesday evening.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [12] From the Turkish Press on 29 March 2010

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 29 March 2010:

    a) Constitutional Amendments

    In a column in Istanbul Radikal, Oral Calislar describes the present constitution as the legacy of the 1982 military regime in Turkey and draws attention to the changes that have taken place in the country since democracy was restored. He argues that the legal basis of the present regime has not changed and that the high court and the military forces continue to defend the system against the elected parliaments and administrations. Calislar notes: The hegemonic structure over the parliament and political parties has disrupted the political life in our country several times. Would the other forces harm the people if they give a controllable and balanced structure to the uncontrollable and unbalanced strength of the judiciary?

    Can Atakli views the government's insistence on imposing a package of constitutional amendments on the people as a risky move and argues that the present parliament effecting radical constitutional amendments will conflict with democratic and legal norms in the country. In a column in Istanbul Vatan, he claims that the government plans to place the judicial organ under its control through the constitutional amendments it plans to realize in order to be able to use justice to achieve its objectives and warns: The amendments will be rejected if the yes votes to be cast for it are less than 330. That will be a serious setback for the ruling party. Atakli claims: Considering the tension that might be created by the amendments and the possibility that less than 330 votes might be cast to support the changes, the ruling party must come to its senses and withdraw its package.

    Writing in Hurriyet Daily News Joost Lagendijk, chairman of the Delegation of EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, also comments on the controversy on constitutional amendments. In a column, he says: I am getting sick and tired of all the insincerity and hypocrisy in the debate on the proposed amendments to the Turkish Constitution. There seems to be a contest going on among the opponents of these changes on who is able to come up with the most outrageous accusations, distortions, or blatant lies... My suggestion to all scandalmongers: Present your own proposals and suggestions or, otherwise, stop the hypocrisy, be honest and admit that what you want is to protect the status quo.

    Yeni Safak publishes a report entitled "CHP Sees Higher Judiciary as Own Backyard," which quotes Bekir Bozdag, Deputy Chairman of the AKP's Parliamentary Group, as saying that the main opposition Republican People's Party, CHP, perceives the proposed changes to the structure of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors, HSYK, as an infringement of its own property. This report is expanded into an interview with Bozdag.

    In an article entitled "Has the Constitutional 'Moment' Arrived?", Yeni Safak columnist Kursat Bumin advises the AKP to revise the latest constitutional amendment package in light of the suggestions and criticisms made in response to the package. He claims that what has been a sterile discussion on the draft amendments so far will turn into a genuine and constructive debate if the AKP takes account of the critical response to the amendment package.

    In an article entitled "State-Centered Constitutions and Individual-Centered Constitutions", Zaman columnist Ali Bulac makes a distinction between "state-centered" constitutions of the sort drawn up by the architects of the 27 May and 12 September coups in Turkey and "individual-centered" constitutions of the type seen in "liberal democracies" in the West. He argues that dissimilarities of content between the two kinds of constitution notwithstanding, there is no difference in the way state-centered constitutions and individual-centered constitutions are drawn up in the sense that the preparation process does not entail negotiations and discussions aimed at achieving widespread social consensus on what these constitutions are supposed to entail.

    b) Chancellor Merkels visit to Turkey

    Commenting on Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Turkey, Semih Idiz is worried that problems might arise in the talks she will have with Prime Minister Erdogan. In a column in Istanbul Milliyet, he recalls Merkel's insistence that Turkey should be a privileged EU partner not an EU member, he argues that the sides do not seem to be willing to take a step back on Turkey's EU membership and the opening of Turkish schools in Germany and warns that Merkel will also insist on the EU views on Cyprus. Idiz notes: Regarding the problem, she will urge Turkey to implement the protocol that was signed in Ankara and open its ports to Greek Cypriot ships. Nevertheless, he expresses the hope that the talks between the two leaders will yield favorable results because, he says, relations between Turkey and Germany are important.

    Under the headline, "Merkel Goes Politically Bankrupt in Europe, Plays to the Gallery," Yeni Safak carries a front-page report which asserts that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come under criticism in her own country over her "blunt rejection" of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's suggestion that Turkish schools be opened in Germany.

    Under the headline, "Last Nazi," Vakit carries a front-page report which slams German Chancellor Merkel for objecting to Turkey's accession to the EU as well as to Erdogan's proposal that Turkish schools be opened in Germany. The report accuses Merkel of trying to continue to remain in power by acting like a Nazi in Germany, "where racism has become rampant recently."

    EI


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