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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-04-07
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 62/10 07.04.10
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Clinton called Talat and expressed her support to the solution processTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (07.04.10) reports that the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has called the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat and expressed her support and appreciation for the efforts exerted by the two leaders towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. According to the paper, Mrs Clinton called Mr Talat while the latter was in a coffee shop at occupied Kuklia village within the framework of his campaign and congratulated him for the progress made in the Cyprus talks. She expressed her satisfaction for the fact that last week Mr Talat announced to the people and the world the progress achieved during the negotiations with President Christofias. Mrs Clinton asked Mr Talat how the US could contribute to the negotiating process and invited him to Washington after the elections.
Look, you witnessed how much the policies we follow are appreciated and supported by the world. This is what becoming citizens of the world means, stated Mr Talat after the call.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (07.04.10) reports that in statements during a visit to villages of occupied Famagusta area, Mr Talat said that he has invited Mr Eroglu to discuss their visions during a debate on television, but Mr Eroglu avoids to do this. Is there a leader who is hiding behind his finger, he wondered. Mr Talat noted also that the Eroglu - Denktas teams aim is the non-solution in Cyprus and the interruption of Turkeys EU accession course. He reiterated the assurance he gave in the past to the settlers from Turkey that in case a solution is reached they will all become citizens of the new partnership and have the opportunity to be benefited from all the advantages of the EU.
 Talat alleges that an agreement can be reached in one or one-and-half years from nowTurkish Hurriyet Daily News.com (06.04.10) publishes the following from occupied Lefkosia:
Excitement surrounding Cypriot reunification talks is now being replaced by election fever in the islands north as the Turkish community prepares for polls that could influence the future course of negotiations.
The two main candidates, incumbent President Mehmet Ali Talat and hard-liner Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu, have diametrically opposed views on the peace process.
Speaking to the daily Hurriyet while campaigning, Talat blamed Eroglu for the many developments that have negatively affected Turkish Cypriots over the past decade.
[Everyone] knows [Eroglu] does not want a solution. He is the architect and the spokesman of the 'lack of solution is the solution' motto, Talat said.
The rival Cypriot presidents halted their peace talks last week ahead of the norths elections on April 18. Talat and his Greek counterpart, Demetris Christofias, said in a joint statement that they are positive they will overcome their divergent positions soon.
Subtitle: Eroglu would kill the process
Talat said he expects the negotiation process to speed up after the elections if he wins.
It is hard to mention a timetable. But I expect it [an agreement to be submitted for a referendum] will happen in one or one-and-half years from now because the Greek Cypriots will hold presidential elections in 2013, he said.
Christofias, meanwhile, has promised not to seek re-election if the peace talks fail.
The leaders have agreed on various issues, including the economy and relations with the European Union and have prepared more than 30 documents on these various issues. However, disagreements remain on challenging issues, including the governance of the new state and legislative bodies.
Victory for Eroglu would mean the end of the peace process and a return to the old policies that reached no solution for decades, said Talat, who has campaigned by framing the choice as one between a return to these past policies or a chance to open up to the world.
Eroglu was the prime minister when the Greek Cypriots were admitted to the EU, Talat said in highlighting the connection between his main opponent and past problems for northern Cypriots.
According to the latest opinion poll issued last week, Eroglu leads the race by more than 10 points. The results were dismissed by Talat who said the Eroglu government had put pressure on the people and threatened them.
Eroglu, meanwhile, has accused Talat of wanting to destroy northern Cyprus by accepting a federal structure composed of two constituent states. The prime minister insists the solution must be based on a two-state principle.
Subtitle: Great ties with Turkey
Turkey, one of the islands three guarantor states, has remained silent on declaring its favored candidate. The position of Turkey is important, Talat said. As the mainland, Turkey is beloved and trusted among the Turkish Cypriots, as well as those who moved from Turkey to the island.
The Cyprus issue is a stumbling block in Turkey's negotiations for entry into the EU, as European leaders have suspended eight chapters in the accession package over Turkey's refusal to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriots before peace is reached on the island.
We have great relations with Turkey. Because Turkey wants a solution under the United Nations parameters, Talat said, adding Ankara supports every policy that Eroglu is against.
Although Eroglu has said he will remain at the table after the elections, his position suggests he may attempt to backtrack from the already sensitive deal the two Cypriots leaders reached.
His supporters, however, have been disappointed with the lack of any improvement in the conditions of Turkish Cyprus after 2004 when the Turkish Cypriots voted in favor of a U.N.-backed reunification deal while Greek Cypriots rejected the plan.
 Eroglu reveals his intentions if he wins the so-called electionsIllegal Bayrak television (06.04.10) broadcast the following:
The leader of the governing National Unity Party (UBP), Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu has said that those who favour living under the roof of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in security should support him in the upcoming elections. Mr Eroglu said that he was seeking the support of his people, not the outside forces.
The Premier was campaigning in Lefke [occupied Lefka] yesterday.
Speaking in the town centre, the UBP candidate said that he will be fighting to win back the concessions President Talat has given to the Greek Cypriot side at the negotiating table. Mr Eroglu stressed that he would be resuming the talks in order to get the Greek Cypriot leader Christofias, as well as the international community to accept the sovereignty of the Turks of Cyprus.
Criticizing various circles who claim that the talks will collapse in the event of his election, he said he will not leave the table. I shall sit opposite Christofias at the negotiating table and defend our rights, he added.
Pointing out that there are two peoples and two states in Cyprus, Mr Eroglu said that an agreement could only be reached between two equals and that the way to a solution passed through the recognition of the TRNC peoples sovereignty.
In addition, Turkish daily Aksam newspaper (07.04.10) publishes an interview with Mr Dervis Eroglu, given during the latters election campaign in occupied Morfu area and notes that Mr Eroglu expressed the opinion that he will be elected from the first round of the presidential elections. The paper, writes that a race is taking place as regards Ankaras support in the presidential elections and adds that Mr Eroglu who is supported by Rauf Denktas and his son Serdar Denktas, is the favourite to win the elections.
Asked why the balance of power changed in Cyprus in the last five years in favour of the National Unity Party, Mr Eroglu said that the main reason for this was the failure of Mr Talat to keep his promises as regards the solution of the Cyprus problem. According to Mr Eroglu, Mr Talat said that he would solve the Cyprus problem in three months but five years later the problem is not solved. He also said that Talat based his promises on the European Union, which, as he alleged, did not keep the promises it gave to the Turkish Cypriots. I cannot give promises for the world and the EU. But first of all I can promise to our people tranquillity and safety under one roof of our state, Mr Eroglu stated.
Referring to the negotiations for finding a solution of the Cyprus problem, Mr Eroglu stated, inter alia, that he will continue to negotiate, despite the fact that the Greek Cypriot side is responsible for the non solution of the Cyprus problem, as he claimed. For how long will the Greek Cypriots remain at the negotiation table? They know that I will not say yes to everything they will say to me. Perhaps they will get bored and leave the negotiations before we do. Because they neither want nor they need an agreement. But in order for the world to understand this we have to stay a little bit more at the negotiation table, he said.
Replying to another question, Mr Eroglu stated that Mr Talat is a hypocrite towards Turkey because he never calls Turkey his mother land and because he wants a Cyprus in which no army or Turkey will exist. He added that Talat belongs to a party which after the 1974 Turkish operation, as Eroglu called the Turkish invasion, went into the streets and shouted for the end of the Turkish occupation of Cyprus. Mr Eroglu also said that Mr Talat in a Marxist, a Leninist and an atheist. Talat continues his political relations with Erdogan because he has political interest, stated Eroglu.
 Denktas reveals the reasons for extending his support to Dervis ErogluIllegal Bayrak television (06.04.10) broadcast the following:
Founding President Rauf Denktas has said that it has become necessary for him to express support to the National Unity Party (UBP) and the Democrat Party (DP), which he said, are in favour of the continuation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
In a written statement, Mr. Denktas stated that the race for the TRNC Presidency will be held between those who want to abandon the TRNC and patch up the Turks of Cyprus to the Greek Cypriot Administration and those who are in support of a comprehensive agreement. We are on the side of those having the vision of bringing peace by claiming our state and of those who are ready to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve this objective. We are not against any candidate but we are in support of our state and sovereignty, he said.
Responding to criticisms made against him for voicing support to the National Unity Partys Presidential candidate Dervis Eroglu, he stated that the elections are about the existence of the TRNC, the sovereignty of the TRNC people and the guarantorship rights, adding that because of this he felt it was necessary to make his position over the election clear.
 Turkish journalist who is reportedly close to Erdogan says Turkey does not want its pro-solution image to be lostTurkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (07.04.10) reports that Mustafa Karaalioglu, general director of Star newspaper in Turkey and known as member of the staff of the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, is visiting the occupied areas of Cyprus in order to support the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat in the illegal elections of 18 April.
Under the title Eroglu should prove that he is not the old Eroglu, the paper reports that in statements to SIM FM radio, Mr Karaalioglu said that in case Mr Dervis Eroglu is elected he should persuade the world that he wants a solution. He should say I am not the old Eroglu, I want a solution, he added and expressed the view that whoever goes outside the solution perspective in Cyprus has no political future. He noted that Turkey does not want its pro-solution image to be lost.
Mr Karaalioglu said that the period when two centres of authority, i.e. the army and the civilian government, existed in Turkey has ended and added: There are no two or three Turkeys now. There is only one Turkey, one authority.
Meanwhile, according to Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (07.04.10), in statements to journalist Aysu Basri Akter and the Kanal SIM television, Mr Karaalioglu said that Turkey is worried that a candidate who does not want the solution in Cyprus might win in the forthcoming elections in the occupied areas of the island. He expressed the view that serious differences exist between Talat and Eroglu.
Noting that the choice on 18 April will be made between the solution and the non-solution, Mr Karaalioglu stated, inter alia, the following: The symbol of the non-solution, [Rauf] Denktas, was also negotiating. Eroglu may continue to do so, but he cannot be compared with Talat. Talat has a great reputation in the world in comparison with his predecessor Denktas. Many things changed with Talat...
 Ertugruloglu says his vision is a strong TRNCTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (07.04.10) reports that Tahsin Ertugruloglu, independent candidate for the illegal presidential elections in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, has stated that a strong and reformed TRNC, breakaway regime in the occupied part of Cyprus, is needed in order to overcome its problems and be able to sit at the negotiating table with its head erect and strong.
According to a statement issued by his office, Mr Ertugruloglu expressed the view that if the Turkish Cypriots do not feel the presence of a strong state behind them while they carry out the negotiations, they will be annihilated in the end, even if they make an agreement where all their demands are accepted.
Mr Ertugruloglu said that the vision he put forward with his candidature is to be the leader in the movement of strengthening the TRNC. He said that the negotiations for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem should continue for creating a new partnership on the basis of two sovereign equals. He claimed that the TRNC should participate in the negotiations and in a possible agreement as founding state. He alleged: This is the reality of Cyprus. There should be an agreement by defining who is who. The new partnership to be established having a single international identity should be on the basis of two equal founding states and the sovereign equality.
 Tumkan announced his political views and believesUnder the title The target is just system, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (07.04.10) reports that Mustafa Tumkan, independent candidate for the illegal presidential elections in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, has announced to the press his political views and believes. Mr Tumkan said his target is to establish a just system.
He noted that his aim is to lead a new structure where the people will live happier together with their neighbours, if the other side sincerely respects the continuation of their state and sovereignty.
 Kirdag says the elections have been turned into a disgraceTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (07.04.10) reports that Arif Salih Kirdag, independent candidate for the illegal presidential elections in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, has said that the people with whom he talked during his election campaign do not want to vote. According to a statement issued by his office, Mr Kirdag visited six villages of Mesaoria area yesterday within the framework of his campaign.
He stated that the elections are generally of low quality and have been turned into a disgrace. He expressed the view that the people complain about the fact that the candidates have not sat altogether in a panel and debate on the problems which exist in the occupied areas of Cyprus.
 Local elections in occupied Cyprus to be held on 27th June 2010Illegal Bayrak television (06.04.10) broadcast the following:
Its been announced that local elections in the TRNC will be held on the 27th of June. The date was set by the Parliament yesterday.
During yesterdays session, the Parliament also discussed the draft law on Constitutional Amendments and the draft amendments to the Election and Referendum Law. A vote will be held on the two bills on the 12th of April.
 Self-styled MP with the CTP will meet with MEPs in BrusselsTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (07.04.10) reports that Sibel Siber, self-styled MP with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), will participate in the Crans Montana Forum in Brussels. According to a statement issued by the self-styled assembly, Mrs Siber will represent the body in the forum on the issue of the new economic parameters in Africa. During her visit in Brussels, Mrs Siber will meet with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Mrs Siber will return to the occupied areas of Cyprus on 11 April.
 Former general secretary of the MGK and commander of the occupation army in Cyprus is arrested in the framework of the Sledgehammer operationTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (07.04.10) reports the following:
Nine suspects, including seven active duty military officers, were rearrested yesterday as part of the investigation into an alleged military plot to topple the government after last week's ruling by a judge to release them was rescinded by a panel of judges at the Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court.
The nine suspects came to Istanbuls Besiktas Courthouse yesterday, where they were arrested. Retired Gen. Sukru Sariisik, a former general secretary of the National Security Council (MGK), who was detained during Monday's detentions as part of the Sledgehammer (Balyoz) coup plot, which allegedly sought to undermine the government to prepare the ground for a military takeover, was also referred to court yesterday after his interrogation by the police.
Retired Col. Bulent Tuncay and retired Col. Umit Ozcan as well as active duty military officers Gen. Ihsan Balabanli, Gen. Bekir Memis, Col. Yuksel Gurcan, Col. Levent Cehreli, Col. Abdullah Zafer Arisoy, Col. Recep Yildiz and Col. Mustafa Onsel were arrested and sent to Hasdal Military Prison yesterday. Retired Col. Tuncay and retired Col. Ozcan, two of the 21 for whom the court issued a warrant, arrived at Istanbuls Besiktas Courthouse early yesterday. Ozcan had a briefcase with him when he came to the courthouse. Retired Col. Kubilay Aktas, retired Col. Suat Aykin and retired Gen. Izzet Ocak were also arrested on Monday and were sent back to prison.
Last on Thursday 12th High Criminal Court Judge Oktay Kuban released 19 of the Sledgehammer suspects due to the non-existence of serious doubt regarding the crime.
He also previously released two other generals who had not been arrested. However, the panel of judges at the Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court ordered the re-arrest of 19 suspects in the investigation who were released by judge Kuban in addition to the arrest of Gen. Yurdaer Olcan and Gen. Abdullah Dalay, who were released by Kuban earlier this month after their interrogation.
In the meantime, the interrogation of the 14 retired officers who were detained during Mondays operations is under way at the Istanbul Police Department. The National Police Department on Monday detained the 14 in raids conducted at various locations as part of the Sledgehammer probe.
While the prosecutors conducting the probe ordered the detention of 86 suspects in the latest operation, 70 active duty military officers included in the detention list have gone untouched due to a February notice from Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin. Engin sent a notice to the Istanbul Police Department and the Ankara Central Command on February 26 telling them not to allow searches at addresses of suspects as part of an investigation into the Sledgehammer plot, a move many jurists then termed unlawful and unacceptable and agreed constituted an attempt to block further operations and detentions as part of the probe.
In accordance with Engins notice, the Ankara Central Command refused to detain 70 active duty military personnel. According to news reports, 25 active duty generals, including Vice Adm. Kadir Sagdic and Vice Adm. Mehmet Otuzbiroglu, were to be detained by prosecutors.
The suspects detained on Monday include retired generals Sariisik, Zekeriya Ozturk, Behzat Balta, Unal Akbulut, Tuncay Cakan, Mustafa Kemal Tutkun, Faruk Oktay Memioglu, retired Col. Beser Guzel, retired Col. Ertugrul Ucler and retired Col. Sitki Ö.
Since retired colonels Erdal Akyazan and Ali Tarik Akcan were not in the country, they could not be detained on Monday as part of the ongoing investigation into the Sledgehammer coup plot. Searches were carried out in the Ankara homes of Akcan and Akyazan on Monday. They are still being sought by the police as suspects in the investigation.
Subtitle: Prosecutor: Detentions not based on court decisions
In the meantime the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutors Office announced yesterday that Mondays detentions were not based on court decisions. After Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Engin removed two prosecutors conducting the Sledgehammer coup plot probe from the case on Monday and suspended the probe, there were comments that Engin had violated court orders. Officials from the office said the investigation was not halted, yet there will be a waiting period for the newly assigned prosecutors to give new orders. Stressing that no authority can block the enforcement of a court decision, the officials said recent detentions were ordered by the prosecutors conducting the probe. Engin replaced Bilal Bayraktar and Mehmet Berk with Murat Yonder and Mehmet Ergul in the Sledgehammer investigation.
According to the Sledgehammer plot, made public by a newspaper in January, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had a systematic plan to create chaos in society by bombing mosques and attacking popular museums with Molotov cocktails. The attacks desired result was to increase pressure on the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government for failing to provide security to its citizens. The attacks were to eventually lead to a military coup. The plan was drawn up in 2003 and discussed at a seminar held at the General Staffs Selimiye barracks in March of that year. Dozens of retired and active duty military officers have been detained in the probe.
In addition, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (07.04.10) reports that retired general Sukru Sariisik is the first army officer who has served in the occupied areas of Cyprus and is arrested within the framework of the Ergenekon investigation. The paper writes that general Sariisik was the commander of the Turkish occupation army in Cyprus between 1998 and 2000 and that the presidential elections" in 2000 marked the Sariisik period. Afrika reminds that during that elections, Rauf Denktas and Dervis Eroglu remained to the second round and that surprisingly Mr Eroglu withdrew his candidature afterwards and stated that he was followed by 42 agents of the Turkish National Intelligence Service (MIT). According to the paper, it is claimed that one of the allegations put forward after the arrest of general Sariisik is that the general had a relation with the 42 MIT agents who were following Eroglu.
 Statements by Erdogan regarding Cyprus in Bosnia; He arrived in Paris for a meeting with the French PresidentIllegal Bayrak television (06.04.10) broadcast the following:
It is a mistake to bargain away Turkey for south Cyprus, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stressed.
Speaking at a gathering of the Bosnian Institute in Sarajevo, Erdogan said that the European Union is contradicting itself by delaying and hardening Turkeys membership process.
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan referred to the statements of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who both agreed that it was wrong to accept the Greek Cypriot sides unilateral membership into the EU. Sooner or later, we will enter the EU, the Premier said, warning that the EU will be the looser if it fails to approve Turkeys membership.
Mr. Erdogan said that Turkey wants to see the EU as the centre to the Alliance of Civilizations, but added that the EU will only prove itself as a Christian club if Ankara is left out.
Furthermore, Ankara Anatolia news agency (06.04.10) reported the following from Paris: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived Tuesday in Paris where he will meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and take part in the closing ceremony of the Season of Turkey activities in Paris.
Erdogan will watch the concert Musenna, a music and dance show that combines European baroque and Ottoman music, which marks the end of nine-month-long Season of Turkey activities held to promote Turkish culture in France.
Erdogan will later attend a reception to be held after the concert, together with French Senate President Gerard Larcher.
On Wednesday, Erdogan, will meet with President Nicholas Sarkozy over a luncheon at the Elysee Palace and have separate meetings with French Parliament Speaker Bernard Accoyer, Senate President Gerard Larcher and Prime Minister Francois Fillon.
Erdogan's meetings will focus on bilateral relations, Turkey's EU bid, and other regional and international issues, diplomats said.
Erdogan will also meet with executives of several leading French companies at the French Businessmen's Association (MEDEF) and he will deliver a speech to Turkish people living in France.
In a statement on Friday, France said it wanted to promote economic ties with Turkey with Erdogan's visit.
French Foreign Ministry said that new cooperation projects in the areas of transportation, energy and infrastructure would be discussed during Erdogan's visit.
France which wants to promote economic ties with Turkey said it wanted to boost the trade volume between the two countries to 15 billion Euro by 2012 from the current 10 billion Euro level.
The ministry said: Erdogan's visit which aimed at enhancing relations between the two countries, created an opportunity for discussion of topics like Afghanistan, Middle East and Iran".
 Alper Coskun to replace Burak Ozugergin as Foreign Ministry SpokesmanIstanbul Hurriyet Daily News.com (06.04.10) reported that Alper Coskun will replace Burak Ozugergin as the spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, diplomatic sources confirmed Tuesday.
Ozugergin has been appointed as the new ambassador to Croatia, according to the ambassadors' decree approved by President Abdullah Gul late Saturday. Coskun has been serving in Brussels as the deputy permanent representative to NATO for Turkey.
Two key posts still await new appointments. It has yet to be announced who will serve as chief foreign advisor to Gul, whose current advisor, veteran diplomat Huseyin Dirioz, has been assigned to Rome.
It had long been assumed that Dirioz would be assigned as the deputy NATO secretary general, leaving who will take that position open to speculation as well.
 Rene van der Linden extends his support to Turkeys EU full membershipAnkara Anatolia news agency (06.04.10) reported the following from Ankara:
The president of the Dutch senate paid a courtesy visit to the Turkish parliament speaker on Tuesday.
Turkish Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin met Rene van der Linden, the president of the Dutch Senate, at his office at the parliament in Ankara.
As there is an agreement and commitment, the two parties should obey it, Linden said during the meeting when commenting on Turkey's European Union (EU) membership.
Linden is paying his first formal visit to Turkey after he became the president of the Dutch Senate.
The senate president said he personally thought that there could be no other alternative to Turkey's EU full membership, like privileged partnership.
Linden said he hoped Turkey's reform process would help Turkey progress on its road to the EU.
The senate president said Turkey's role as a mediator in its geography was important for not only Turkey but also Europe and the entire region.
Also, Linden said the Netherlands had started to plan some activities for 2012, which would be the 400th anniversary of establishment of Turkish-Dutch diplomatic relations.
Linden said the Netherlands was attaching great importance to such activities since they helped overcome misunderstandings.
Also, Sahin defined Linden as a friend of Turks, and said he believed this visit would boost relations between the two parliaments.
Sahin thanked the Dutch government and executives for their support to Turkey's EU membership bid.
The Turkish parliament speaker said the parliament was working to pass new legal amendments soon.
Sahin later hosted a luncheon in Linden's honor.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press of 06 April 2010Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 06 April 2010:
a) Constitutional reform package amendments:
Rather than democratizing Turkey, the Justice and Development Partys, AKP, constitutional reform package will merely enable the government to control the high court, stresses Hurriyet Daily News commentator Yusuf Kanli, and referring to the fact that some of the signatures in the constitutional amendment proposal were forged and the recent developments in the Sledgehammer investigation, questions whether democracy really prevails in Turkey.
Drawing attention to the lack of communication between the parties in the National Assembly, Hurriyet columnist Fatih Cekirge says: "We have an assembly that triggers a mounting polarization in the society... What kind of constitutional amendments will the assembly make under such circumstances? Is it possible to reach a consensus when there are such deep and sharp differences in the assembly?" Noting that the only way to resolve this division is to turn to the people, Cekirge says: "The referendum will take four months. General elections will be held 10 months after the referendum. Turkey should get ready for such an election timetable."
"It is necessary to prepare a new constitution that is in line with the social, legal, and economic rights and rules required by democracy and the society, but this new Constitution should be taken up by the new TBMM [Turkish Grand National Assembly] that will be elected after the next general elections," argues Cuneyt Arcayurek in Cumhuriyet. Explaining in an article that the AKP officials submit the draft amendment package to the political parties and the nongovernmental organizations and ask them to announce their views within three days, Arcayurek says: "The AKP government is openly imposing the constitutional amendments. The amendment package is an AKP constitution." Arcayurek asserts that rather than a democratic and modern state of law, Erdogan wants to strengthen the "prime ministry regime" and to establish a more authoritarian administration and criticizes Erdogan for engaging in demagogy regarding the referendum and the will of the people.
b) Sledgehammer investigation:
Arguing that the release and the re-arrest of the military personnel in the Sledgehammer investigation creates confusion and shows that the judiciary is not independent, Mehmet Ali Birand, in an article in Hurriyet Daily News newspaper, refers to AKPs efforts to control the agenda in Turkey and to appear as a victimized party prior to the 2011 general elections at the cost of creating tension in the country.
The struggle in the National Assembly is natural, but the struggle in the judiciary is not, says an article penned by Murat Yetkin in Radikal and summarizes the developments that have led to the arrests of the previously released military personnel and the removal of the prosecutors who gave the instructions for the arrests from office. It is gradually becoming more difficult to say that the fight in the judiciary is a fight for law and justice, asserts Yetkin and maintains that the polarization in the judiciary will lead to lack of confidence in the judicial system. "The politicians should act with the understanding that one day everyone will need an independent and impartial judiciary, while the judges and prosecutors should act with the understanding that the laws should be legislated by politicians and not by them," underlines Yetkin.
The recent developments in the Sledgehammer investigation show that "the judicial system in Turkey has gone bankrupt" or rather they display the true face of a system that went bankrupt a long time ago, argues Ahmet Altan in an article in Taraf and describes the judicial system as "a system that belongs to jurists who announce that they love the state more than they love justice." From my standpoint, the most important part of this judicial reform is ensuring that the judiciary serves justice instead of acting as the guard of the system, asserts Altan and adds that the judiciary is the greatest obstacle before change. We want to change the system and we want to ensure that the coups are investigated, the coupists are put on trial, and the torturers are forced to render accounts, says Altan and notes: "We will fight as much as we can until a system that will put the coupists on trial is established."
In an article entitled "Making an end of arbitrariness in the judicial system", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru looks at recent developments involving a judge's release of a number of military detainees in the Sledgehammer investigation and the subsequent issuance of an arrest warrant for the suspects by three other justices who condemned the earlier decision as "arbitrary" and "irresponsible." Koru argues that this "preposterous" turn of events in the said investigation reveals the extent to which the judicial mechanism in Turkey is open to manipulation, a situation which he claims should lead the Opposition to contribute to the Government's efforts to amend the judicial system by coming up with its own reform proposals.
A front-paged report in Vakit entitled "GATA ploy once again," accuses some of the military suspects in the Sledgehammer probe released by Justice Oktay Kuban of trying to avoid being sent to prison again in having themselves referred to GATA Military Hospital. Published along with the report is a cartoon showing an "ETO" [Ergenekon Terrorist Organization] inmate digging a tunnel out of his cell to come out of the ground near a signpost saying "Welcome to GATA."
In an article entitled "Basbug's last 90 days", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak accuses Chief of Staff General Ilker Basbug of going out of his way to defend Navy Captain Dursun Cicek against allegations that he signed a plan to set the scene for a military takeover. He asks rhetorically whether Basbug would have denied the allegations so persistently if what was in question was a conspiracy involving reactionary members of the armed forces. He also advises Basbug to "plan his last 90 days in office well" asserting that he will be remembered mostly for what he did during that period.
In an article entitled "The judiciary's judgment", Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone cites the latest "judicial scandal" involving a judge's decision to release nineteen military suspects in the Sledgehammer probe as proof of how judicial independence in Turkey is "promoting the oligarchic tendencies of the higher judiciary." He also argues that the key concept in the ongoing controversy over the draft constitutional amendments is "judicial neutrality."