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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-05-03

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. 80/10 01-03.05.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Irsen Kucuk to run as a single candidate for UBPs leadership on the May 9th
  • [02] Eroglu asks for the lifting of the so-called embargoes
  • [03] Izcan and Soyer criticize the UBP for distributing the citizenship of the regime to settlers from Turkey before the elections
  • [04] Delegation from occupied Cyprus held contacts in Lebanon on the issue of carrying Lebanese tourists to the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [05] Turkey to offer a 500-milion US dollar as credit to the occupation regime
  • [06] YKP: Our riot is against occupation
  • [07] The 2nd International Economic Conference will be held in occupied Keryneia
  • [08] UN Spokesman says the building of the road in Limnitis area will end soon
  • [09] Davutoglu will give a conference in Brussels on May 10
  • [10] Bagis calls on the EP to lift the so-called economic sanctions on the Turkish Cypriots in order for Turkey to open its ports to the Republic of Cyprus
  • [11] Turkish State Minister for foreign trade holds contacts in Syria
  • [12] Turkeys new drilling platform from South Korea to be available for oil exploration by early-2011
  • [13] Turkeys exports increase by seven percent in the first quarter of 2010
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [14] From the Turkish Press of 30 April and 01, 02 of May 2010

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Irsen Kucuk to run as a single candidate for UBPs leadership on the May 9th

    Illegal Bayrak television (01.05.10) broadcast the following:

    Its been announced that the acting president and the General Secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP), Irsen Kucuk, will be the only candidate to run for the partys presidency at the extraordinary general assembly of the party which will take place on the 9th of May. The UBP party assembly approved to support Mr Kucuk at the partys extraordinary general assembly in line with the recommendations of the partys parliamentary group and executive committee.

    On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (01.05.10) reports that the demand of Dervis Eroglu at his meeting with the MPs of the UBP at the presidency was followed and Irsen Kucuk will be the single candidate for UBPs presidency on May 9. Irsen Kucuk will also act as self-styled prime minister until November 2010.

    (ML)

    [02] Eroglu asks for the lifting of the so-called embargoes

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.05.10) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu has stated that overcoming the economic imbalances against the Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus is important for making a lasting agreement on the island. In his message on the occasion of the 1st of May Labour Day, Mr Eroglu noted that this should not be forgotten and added that their basic expectation is the lifting of the so-called embargoes on the breakaway regime.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Izcan and Soyer criticize the UBP for distributing the citizenship of the regime to settlers from Turkey before the elections

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (01.05.10) reports that a delegation of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) headed by its General Secretary, Izzet Izcan visited the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) on Friday. Mr Izcan said that the aim of their visit was to discuss the municipality elections and to inform the CTP that they are ready for cooperation among the supporters of the solution in Cyprus.

    Mr Izcan criticized the policy followed by the National Unity Party (UBP) on the issue of the population and added that that they are worried about the fact that the UBP distributes the citizenship of the regime with the intention to benefit in the elections. Mr Izcan noted that they will refer to this issue during the conference on Cyprus which the European Left Group will organize on May 5 at the European Parliament.

    Moreover, Ferdi Sabit Soyer, chairman of the CTP, also criticized the fact that the UBP distributes the citizenship of the regime before the elections and alleged that this could cause worries for the future and division among the people who live in the TRNC, as he described the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    He claimed that especially the recent developments showed the realities and that the artificial alliances established for the continuation of the non-solution in Cyprus, as he described the support of the Democratic Party to Dervis Eroglu during the presidential elections, are meaningless. Referring to the statement by Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party (DP), that he could not sign the letter sent by the Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu to the UN Secretary-General right after his election, Mr Soyer alleged that this kind of artificial alliances could serve no other purpose than creating more crises in the society.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Delegation from occupied Cyprus held contacts in Lebanon on the issue of carrying Lebanese tourists to the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.05.10) reports that a delegation of businessmen and representatives from the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry (KTSO), headed by the director of the Cyprus Turkish Investment Development Agency (YAGA), Ayse Donmezer, held a meeting with the chairman of the Lebanese Union of Tourism and Travel Agencies, Jean Abboud, on the issue of carrying Lebanese tourists to the occupied areas of Cyprus. For this purpose, a delegation from Lebanese tourism operators will visit the occupied areas of the Republic in order to carry out surveys. A short film presenting occupied Cyprus as a tourism destination was also displayed during the meeting.

    The paper further writes that the representatives from YAGA, KTTO and KTSO have signed a number of protocols with the Turkish-Lebanese Business Council on improving their economic and trade relations through a cooperation agreement between YAGA and the Council, as well as an agreement for KTTO and KTSO to become member of the Council. The agreement foresees the improvement of the trade volume, cooperation in the fields of industry and technology, business visits and exchange of information on the fields of investment, trade, industry and technology.

    The delegation YAGAs contacts on Lebanon were concluded on Friday, 30 April 2010.

    (ML)

    [05] Turkey to offer a 500-milion US dollar as credit to the occupation regime

    Under the front-page title Gratitude to you Motherland, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (01.05.10) reports that the decision of the Turkish Council of Ministers on March 29th, 2010 to offer financial aid of 500 million US dollars to the illegal regime through a protocol signed on March 12th, 2010 was published in the Turkish Gazette.

    In the framework of the protocols signed every year, Turkey is greatly contributing by giving financial support and credit to the illegal regimes budget, the paper notes.

    (ML)

    [06] YKP: Our riot is against occupation

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.05.10) reports that during the rally for the 1st of May Labour Day organized in the occupied part of Lefkosia, members of the New Cyprus Party (YKP) carried a banner writing that Our riot is against occupation. The acting chairman of the National Unity Party, Irsen Kucuk and the self-styled minister of interior and local administrations, Ilkay Kamil described this behaviour as unacceptable. Mr Kamil alleged that this incident was extremely shameful and added that the participation of political parties and organizations representatives in such a march was unacceptable.

    Mr Kucuk said that they could not approve a banner which puts Turkey into the position of an occupier. He noted that neither Turkey nor the Turkish Cypriots deserved such a banner. He said that they were disappointed to see that former Turkish Cypriot leader Talat and the chairmen of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and the Social Democracy Party (TDP), Ferdi Sabit Soyer and Mehmet Cakici respectively, participated in that march.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] The 2nd International Economic Conference will be held in occupied Keryneia

    Turkish daily Zaman newspaper (02.05.10) reports that Turkeys Economic Association will hold the 2nd International Economic Conference on the effects of the global financial crisis in the occupied town of Keryneia between September 1-3, 2010.

    According to information given by the Chairman of the Institution Prof. Dr. Ercan Uygur to Ankara Anatolia (A.A) news agencys correspondent, Masahiko Aoki from Stanford University and Chairman of International Economic Association, Guillermo Calvo from Columbia University and former Chairman of the Association, Graciela Kaminsky from George Washington University, Fiorella Kostoris from Rome University, Stephen Turnovsky from Washington University as well as the Chairman of Chinese World Economic and Policy Institute Yu Yongding will participate in the conference under the title, The global economy after the crisis: challenges and opportunities.

    Mr Uygur said that the first conference was held in Ankara, but this time they chose Keryneia because the event has economic dimensions for them and in addition, they hope that the event will contribute to the participants getting familiar with the occupied areas of Cyprus. Noting that such large-scale international activities are not quite often organized in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Uygur said that they will work in cooperation with the universities in the area for the conference.

    (DPs)

    [08] UN Spokesman says the building of the road in Limnitis area will end soon

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (03.05.10) reports that Jose Diaz, Spokesman of the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), has stated that the building of the road in Pyrgos-Limnitis area has started and it will end soon. Mr Diaz was asked by journalist Kerem Hassan of Ada television to give some information on the latest developments regarding the opening of Pyrgos-Limnitis crossing point. He said the works started in the area and expressed the view that they will end until autumn. Asked to comment on information published in the Greek Cypriot press that the Turkish side puts some obstacles for the progress of the works, Mr Diaz said he had no specific information and added that it is true that some problems were experienced during the taking of samples of land, but in spite of these the works began. He noted that we should be ready for some delays, but signs that the road will end within a few months exist from now.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Davutoglu will give a conference in Brussels on May 10

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (03.05.10) reports that Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoglu will give a conference in Brussels on 10 May under the title The Turkish foreign policy and the EU. The conference is organized by the Royal Institute for International Relations EGMONT and TUKSON. Mr Davutoglu is expected to assess the situation regarding the EU and Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Bagis calls on the EP to lift the so-called economic sanctions on the Turkish Cypriots in order for Turkey to open its ports to the Republic of Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.04.10) reported the following from Berlin:

    Turkey's chief negotiator for European Union membership talks has said the Union needed to move ahead with enlargement unless it opted to remain as a social club. It wouldn't be realistic to say that the EU could self-sustain economically. Enlargement is the only way out for the Union unless Europeans were willing to work 75 days a week or they had high hopes of finding some new natural resources. In the long term, Europe will need Turkey, Ukraine and may be even Russia as well, Egemen Bagis told the Turkish broadcasting service of Deutsche Welle radio.

    Bagis said the EU could only become a global power and compete other powers if it secured free trade and movement in an area of 800-900 million people. Otherwise, it would remain as a social club.

    Bagis rejected a privileged partnership for Turkey instead of a full-fledged EU accession --an option proposed by German and French leaders-- saying that such a engagement was only possible with Germany. Three million Turks live in Germany, the country which is our biggest trade partner and which sends to Turkey the most tourists. A privileged partnership or cooperation is only possible within that context, not in our European Union membership process. And I think that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had come to understand that during her latest visit to Turkey, Bagis said.

    Turkey has opened 12 out of 35 negotiation chapters, or policy areas in EU accession since its talks for full membership began formally in October 2005. Eight chapters have been suspended following a resolution by EU General Affairs and Foreign Affairs Councils, pending Ankara's full implementation of an additional protocol to the country's customs union agreement, which requires the country to open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels.

    If the European Parliament (EP) adopts a resolution to lift up economic sanctions and start trade relations with Turkish Cyprus, the additional protocol can be implemented for the Greek Cyprus as well, which would remove obstacles against the eight suspended protocols, Bagis said.

    [11] Turkish State Minister for foreign trade holds contacts in Syria

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.05.10) reported the following from Damascus:

    Turkish foreign trade minister said on Saturday that Turkey and Syria aimed to boost trade in a stable way within the scope of free trade agreement after his meeting with Syrian deputy premier in Damascus. Turkish State Minister for foreign trade Zafer Caglayan had a meeting that lasted for one and a half hours with Syrian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdallah al-Dardari and Economy and Trade Minister Lamia Asi.

    Following the meeting, Dardari said a Turkish-Syrian bank would be established in Syria by the end of 2010.

    Caglayan said he discussed mutual relations, trade and economy with Syrian ministers and they also focused on problems of Turkish companies operating in Syria in the meeting. Bilateral trade between the two countries was nearly 1.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2008. A similar figure was reached in 2009 as well. Turkey's exports to Syria amounted to 212 million U.S. dollars and Syria's exports to Turkey totalled 28 million U.S. dollars in the first two months of 2009. In the same period of 2010, Turkey's exports reached 254 million USD and Syria's exports to Turkey were 82 million USD, he said.

    There are several opportunities in Syria for Turkish companies and they should make more investments in Syria, Caglayan said. A conference on investing in Syria would be organized in Ankara or Istanbul in June 2010, he said.

    On his part, Dardari said Syria's exports to Turkey rose by 200 percent in the first two months of 2010 from the same period a year earlier despite global economic crisis and it was a pleasing development. Dardari said they were determined to make good use of opportunities between Turkey and Syria.

    Syrian Economy Minister Asi said they attach a great importance to a regional alliance of economy covering Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Turkey is a door opening to Europe for Syria and Syria is a door opening to Arab world for Turkey, Asi said. Asi said Syrian officials are ready to work for solution of problems of Turkish companies in Syria.

    [12] Turkeys new drilling platform from South Korea to be available for oil exploration by early-2011

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.05.10) reported the following from Kocaeli:

    Turkey's new oil drilling platform, ordered from South Korea, will be available for oil exploration by early-2011, Turkey's energy minister said on Saturday.

    Taner Yildiz told a conference on energy efficiency that Turkey's order was under construction in South Korea and that it would cost around $1.5 billion. The new oil rig will join Leiv Eiriksson, one of the world's largest rigs that started oil and gas explorations off Black Sea earlier this year as part of a deal signed last year by Turkish petroleum company TPAO and Brazil's state oil company Petrobras. Yildiz said the new platform would explore oil at a depth of 12,000 meters. This is a process only to drill oil from one well. Such efforts are made only for an adventure in the Black Sea, he said. When we find oil, another process will begin and it will take eight years.

    Earlier this year, Leiv Eiriksson, which set off from Norway months ago, passed through Turkish straits and reached Sinop on the north coast of Turkey to explore oil at a depth of 6,000 meters with a daily cost of up to $1 million. The platform will stay in the Black Sea for five years.

    Turkish officials are very hopeful about drilling operations in the Black Sea which is believed to harbour huge underwater oil and natural gas reserves. Recent seismic researches estimate a 10-billion barrel oil reserve in the region.

    In January 2010, Exxon Mobile announced that it signed a deal with Brasil's Petrobras to partake in the consortium with TPAO in a quest to find oil in the Black Sea. Exxon said that under the deal it purchased 25 percent share of rights over a 3-million hectare area in Sinop, Ayancik and Carsamba shores, with Pertobras holding 25 percent and TPAO 50 percent shares in the consortium.

    [13] Turkeys exports increase by seven percent in the first quarter of 2010

    Todays Zaman newspaper (01.05.10) reported the following:

    A huge gap between Turkey's imports and exports resulted in a $12.1 billion foreign trade deficit in the first three months of the year, Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) data have shown. Turkey's foreign trade deficit increased by a drastic 175.3 percent in the January-March period when compared to the same quarter of 2009, a discouraging picture amid recent signals of recovery from the 2009 global economic crisis.

    The country's foreign trade deficit was $4.4 billion in the first quarter of 2009. Turkey's exports increased by 7 percent in the first quarter when compared to the same months of 2009 and amounted to $26.2 billion.

    Imports also jumped by 32.7 percent to $38.3 billion in the same period. Turkey's total exports amounted to $24.4 billion in the first quarter while the value of imports was $28.8 billion in the same period.

    Despite a negative outlook in the foreign trade deficit in the first three months, Turkey's exports rose by 22.4 percent in March over the same month of the preceding year to $9.98 billion, an encouraging figure signalling that exports are approaching their pre-crisis levels. Imports in March surged by 42.7 percent over the same month of 2009 and reached $15 billion.

    With regard to industry sub-sectors, auto manufacturing and the auto parts industry made up the largest export sector in March 2010, with $1.38 million. They were followed by iron and steel exports with $796 million and machinery exports with $782 million. In the same period, the leading imported products were crude oil with $2.9 million, while Turkey's machinery imports reached $1.68 million. Iron and steel imports followed with $1.37 million and electronics imports came in fourth with $1.26 million.

    Meanwhile, Turkey's intermediate goods imports rose by 34.6 percent in January-March 2010 over the same period of last year. Capital goods imports also increased by 23.9 percent in the same months when compared to the first quarter of last year.

    Turkey's exports to the EU increased by 33.3 percent in March 2010 compared to the same month of 2009. In March, the main partner country for exports was Germany with $917 million. Germany was followed by Italy with $593 million, France with $589 million and Britain with $561 million. The top four countries importing from Turkey in March were Russia, China, Germany and the US.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [14] From the Turkish Press of 30 April and 01, 02 of May 2010

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 30 April and 01, 02 of May 2010:

    a) May Day at Taksim Square:

    Turkish newspaper reports and columns (02.05.10) almost exclusively focus on the May Day rally held for the first time in Istanbul's Taksim Square since last May Day rally there in 1977 when 34 people were killed from fire opened on the crowd by unknown persons. The commentators see this year's rally, in which every disparate group participated, as a sign of social and democratic maturity. In its report on the rally, accompanied by numerous pictures, Hurriyet says the impressive rally "befitted" the Taksim Square. In its report, also accompanied by various pictures, Milliyet says the rally, attended by some 150,000 people, was an affirmation of democracy. The paper mentions that the only incident marring the holiday atmosphere was a scuffle in which a trade union official broke his arm. The paper also quotes Interior Minister Besir Atalay as saying that "the May 1 syndrome in Turkey has come to an end. As of today, May 1 will no more be a contentious issue." In its report, Sabah points out to the road traversed from the "bloody May 1" of 1977 to the present exuberant celebration of the day. In its report, Radikal notes how the Taksim Square turned into a "festival ground" when the state finally withdrew its objection to the rally. In its report, Cumhuriyet says the workers won the right to mark the May Day after a long and hard struggle, adding that during the rally workers protested the government and the "global capital."

    Ferai Tinc says in her column in Hurriyet (02.05.10) that people went to Taksim because they wanted "to air their demands by democratic means" and because they were "longing for normalization and democratization." Noting that since 1977 the CHP has distanced itself from the working masses, she agrees with the opinion of a trade union official that the AKP government has to be thanked for the mitigation of social tension, though the AKP had to implement the May Day overture under pressure from collective struggle. Tinc concludes by saying that the Taksim gathering has convinced her that "Turkey is ready for full democracy" provided that it is no more distracted by political bickering.

    Mahmut Ovur declares in his column in Sabah (02.05.10) that that this year's "historic" May Day rally is the product of workers' struggle as well as the government's policy. He believes the Ergenekon probe launched three years ago actually opened the way for the "festival of democracy" on May Day, adding that faced with the government's policy of cleansing the state, the dark forces are now finding it difficult to perpetrated massacres. Pointing out that "both the society and the state are changing" in Turkey, Ovur asserts that the Taksim rally was the result of the Ergenekon trial as well as the popular rejection of the legacy of the 12 September 1980 coup.

    Oral Calislar says in his column in Radikal (02.05.10) that though the May Day proved to be a "turning point" in the struggle against the coup plotters, it has not brought any solution to the labour problems. He thinks in the next step the workers should struggle for their union rights, the leftist forces should distance themselves from the Kemalist ideology, and the leftist groups should unite to meet the challenges of the modern world. Calislar says he still believes the left has a role to play in Turkey's future.

    Rusen Cakir says in his column in Vatan (02.05.10) that the rally showed the Turkish workers can mark May Day in peace when there is no provocation. Cakir says he is pleased that Turkey has returned to normal life after 32 years. Cakir also believes deeply disappointed are those who thought the left was about to die, adding that only time will show if the exuberant rally is going to energize the left.

    b) Constitutional amendment package:

    An article by Goksel Bozkurt of Hurriyet Daily News (01.05.10) views the efforts made by the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) to prevent the adoption of the constitutional amendment package proposed by the ruling AKP. Bozkurt says that the CHP is pressuring Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin to stop forcing deputies to vote. According to the CHP, she adds, "some figures are under pressure --but if there were no pressure, they could act freely and vote against the package. Therefore, the CHP claims, we could have different results on at least a few articles, while several articles could even be dropped."

    In his article in Milliyet (01.05.10), Fikret Bila cites Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek on the dispute between the government and the opposition with regard to the proposed constitutional amendments. Cicek asserts that the government is "still open to compromise," but the CHP has to put forward its "solid proposals" for the controversial articles, such as the structure of the Constitutional Court. He criticizes the CHP plan to appeal to the Constitutional Court for the abolition of the amendments, noting that the CHP regards the Constitutional Court as an authority that ratifies the laws adopted by the National Assembly. Cicek says that a referendum will be "inevitable" if the political parties fail to reach a consensus before the second round of the vote. He denies alleged government plan to hold an early general election, pointing at the "stability" in the country. He also notes that the government does not consider elections even if it receives a promising result in the referendum.

    A report entitled "CHP leadership determined to take an appeal to Constitutional Court against whole package" in Yeni Safak (01.05.10) says that the Republican People's Party is determined to apply to the Constitutional Court for the annulment of a bill on constitutional amendments if it is signed into a law by President Abdullah Gul after the second round of debate in Parliament.

    An article entitled "Constitutional amendments increased 'yes' votes" in Yeni Safak (01.05.10) highlights an opinion poll conducted by Denge, a polling company, which showed that voter support for the AKP went up to 41.7 percent while almost 65 percent of the respondents said that they were in favour of a new constitution. According to the results of the poll, voter support for the CHP and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) is 21.3 percent and 16.4 percent, respectively.

    Under the banner headline "'Do not oppose the nation!'" Milli Gazete (01.05.10) carries a report which highlights comments made by Felicity Party Leader Numan Kurtulmus who urged the CHP not to apply to the Constitutional Court for the nullification of the constitutional amendments which, he warned, would play into the ruling party's hands.

    In an article entitled "A cautionary tale," Milli Gazete (01.05.10) columnist Yasin Hatipoglu criticizes the AKP for failing to keep the promises that it made before elections, predicting that the constitutional amendments will not help it to win the next general election.

    In an article entitled "A preposterous scenario", Yeni Safak columnist (30.04.10) Fehmi Koru comments on a "scenario" disclosed by Vatan writer Okay Gonensin, where the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) files an appeal with the Constitutional Court against the constitutional amendment package, accusing the AKP of attempting to amend the unchangeable articles of the Constitution, and the top court upholds the appeal, whereupon the chief public prosecutor of the Supreme Court files a closure case against the AKP which is accepted by the top court, leading to a situation where the AKP is banned together with some 265 deputies who signed the package and a coalition consisting of the CHP and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) takes over pending an early general election. In mocking this scenario, Koru asks his readers at which point exactly it had them in a "fit of laughter." He also asks whether those suggesting such scenarios are not aware that they would never be able to carry out plans of this sort in "the conditions governing new Turkey."

    c) Debate over presidential system:

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News (01.05.10), Cengiz Aktar opposes the establishment of a presidential system in Turkey, saying that regardless of the fact that the ruling AKP has not made any noteworthy effort to develop the parliamentarian system in Turkey, it is now talking about "another system which will obviously make the current one more problematic. What is this for? It is said that it is for stability, but seeking political stability has paradoxically become one of the obstacles before democracy."

    A column by Erol Katircioglu of Taraf (01.05.10) opposes Prime Minister Erdogan's call for a presidential system in Turkey, noting that such a system cannot be democratic even if it ends the "military tutelage" in the country. According to the columnist, the presidential system works in favour of the ruling party but "ignores the political demands of other sectors." He asserts that if the politicians are really unhappy with the current system in the country, then they should start with a plan to change the Election Law and reduce the election threshold."

    d) Allegations about possible closure case against AKP:

    In an article entitled "Who is the judge who has met with soldiers?" Sabah columnist (30.04.10) Nazli Ilicak cites passages from a Habervaktim report highlighting an alleged telephone conversation between an unidentified judge from the Constitutional Court who is quoted as saying that Brigadier General Hifzi Cubuklu, Legal Adviser to the Chief of the General Staff, urged them to close down the AKP during a lunch which was also attended by two other judges from the Court. Ilicak comments: "It was initially alleged that those remarks were made by Serdar Ozguldur, a judge of the Constitutional Court who previously served for the military. But, he denied those allegations. But, this matter must definitely be investigated. I am declaring in this column that a crime has been committed. A public prosecutor should take it seriously and try to identify the person who has made those remarks. If the taped conversation has actually taken place, it would mean that the democratic regime is facing a threat. Are they talking about a lawsuit to be brought for the closure of the AKP after the constitutional amendments in April or May? This must be investigated."

    In an article entitled "The bleakest scenario," Taraf columnist (30.04.10) Yasemin Congar highlights the speculation that the Constitutional Court will first overrule the constitutional amendments before they are put to the referendum and then close down the AKP which will be followed by the formation of a coalition government made up of the CHP and the Nationalist Action Party. Emphasizing that this speculation should not be taken lightly in light of events witnessed in the past, Congar says: "We are going through a very critical period and preventing the package of constitutional amendments from being put into force following their ratification in a referendum has become a matter of death for those who are in favour of the military's tutelage."

    A report entitled "We do not want a closure case against AKP" in Milliyet (30.04.10) quotes Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal as saying during a televised interview that he does not lend credence to allegations that a lawsuit will be instituted for banning the AKP. Baykal added: "I do not believe that there is such a possibility and I am emphasizing that it should not happen. We do not want such a thing. We will go to the polls and make our choice without any intervention. Turkey will deal with this problem in the next election."

    In an article entitled "AK Party and the Constitutional Court," Today's Zaman columnist Ihsan Yilmaz (02.05.10) advises AKP leadership not to file for the correction of the Constitutional Court's ruling about the party, cautioning that the Court may decide to ban it as a result of a retrial because the proposed constitutional amendments threaten what he calls "bureaucratic oligarchy." He says: "They are almost metaphorically dead, and proper democracy will come to the country at last. They will do whatever it takes to survive. All right, AK Party, or its revived version, can get at least 40-50 percent [of votes in an election] after the closure, but they should also think about the economy. It is their baby, not the oligarchy's."

    e) Basbugs retirement from his post due to age-limit:

    Under the headline, "Basbug is retired," Bugun (30.04.10) publishes a front-page report which asserts that Chief of Staff General Ilker Basbug is effectively "retired as of yesterday" because he turned 68 on 29 April. The report quotes "experts" as saying that Basbug's actions as chief of staff from now on will be "null and void" and can become the subject of a lawsuit.

    EG/


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