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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-05-10
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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. 85/10 08-10.05.10
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Eroglu reveals the members of his negotiating teamIllegal Bayrak television (08.05.10) broadcast the following:
President Dervis Eroglu has determined the delegation that will be taking place by his side at the Cyprus negotiations table and said that the first meeting to take place on the 26th of May between himself and the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias will focus on property. He also said that he will be sitting at the negotiation table with the reality that there are two peoples on the island.
President Dervis Eroglu made the statement while he participated on a televised program on Bayrak Radio and Televisions first Channel.
Eroglu announced that he has chosen Doctor Kudret Ozersay as his special Representative to the negotiations team and New York Representative Kemal Gokeri will also be a part of the negotiation team. He also gave news that he was thinking about allocating retired Undersecretary Osman Ertug as the Presidential spokesman.
Noting that the Greek Cypriot side has started a campaign trying to show himself as being against a solution whereas they themselves did not support a solution being found to the Cyprus problem, Mr Eroglu said I am focusing on the duty the people have given me and will conduct the negotiations process in a sincerely fashion.
Upon being reminded of the Greek Cypriot attempts at blocking the direct trade regulation, President Eroglu said he had sent letters to political party leaders in the European Parliament to explain the realities on the island and to remind them of the promises they had given to the Turks of Cyprus. I will be bringing this issue to the negotiations table, he added.
The President also gave news that he will start his work towards established a National Council and a Public Council as of this Monday.
In addition, reporting on the issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (09.05.10) reports that a great part of the negotiating team of Mr Eroglu became known. According to the paper, academician Dr Kudret Ozersay will take the place of Ozdil Nami. In addition, Kemal Gokeri, who was TRNC representative in New York and lawyer Oguzhan Hasipoglu, son of the Ertugrul Hasipoglu MP with the Democratic Party, will also participate in the negotiation team. The paper further writes that Osman Erug, former undersecretary in the ministry of foreign affairs will be presidential spokesman and will also have the duty of coordinator in the negotiation team. Mr Eroglu will be heading the team.
Moreover, Volkan writes that Mr Eroglu will go to Ankara on the 13th of May and added that the schedule of his visit will be determined in the coming days.
 Irsen Kucuk becomes the new leader of UBPIllegal Bayrak television (09.05.10) broadcast the following:
The Secretary General of the National Unity Party (UBP) Irsen Kucuk has become the leader of the UBP. The UBPs 8th Extraordinary Congress was held this morning. Mr Kucuk was the only candidate for the post which was emptied after the election of Dervis Eroglu as President. President Dervis Eroglu also attended the congress.
In his address to the congress, Irsen Kucuk said it is the most sacred task of his 34 years of political career to be a candidate of a party like the National Unity Party. He also said that his party will continue to work for the development of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus following the Local elections to be held on the 27th of June.
Touching upon the Cyprus issue, Mr Kucuk said a strong TRNC [the breakaway regime in the occupied areas of Cyprus] is the sine qua non of the National Unity Party and only a strong structure can lead to a lasting and mutually acceptable solution in Cyprus.
Another speech was delivered by President Dervis Eroglu who said he is very excited and proud of attending the UBP congress as a president which he headed for many years. Mr Eroglu began his speech by reading a poem marking the Mothers Day.
In addition, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (09.05.10) reports that speaking to illegal Bayrak television, the new Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu, stated that he will assign the duty of forming a government to the party that holds the majority of sits at the self-styled parliament. He also stated that he will hold meetings with all the political parties which have sits in the assembly. Mr Eroglu also said that the party that will be assigned with the duty of forming a government, will proceed forming a coalition government.
 Self-styled parliament speaker to attend an OIC meeting in Istanbul; Ozgurgun to address a conference in IstanbulIllegal Bayrak television (09.05.10) broadcast the following:
The Speaker of the Republics Assembly Hasan Bozer has left the Republic for Istanbul to attend a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Mr Bozer is attending the meeting as guest of the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Mehmet Ali Sahin and the Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. He is expected to return to the Republic on Tuesday evening.
Meanwhile, acting Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun also left the republic for Istanbul where he will attend a conference at the Kadir Has University. Mr Ozgurgun will deliver an opening speech at the conference entitled The importance of civil society and communication in overcoming the prejudices in EU-Turkey relations.
According to the Foreign Ministry Statement, Mr Ozgurgun will also inaugurate a photograph exhibition entitled The 50th years of Turkish Grand National Assembly at the Kadir Has University. As part of his contacts, Mr Ozgurgun will give interviews to some Turkish TV channels.
Moreover, The second extraordinary meeting of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)-member states (PUOICM) will be held in Istanbul on May 10. Turkey's Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin will preside the meeting at Istanbul's Conrad Hotel. Israel's damaging the holy structure of Jerusalem by opening new settlement units will top the agenda of the meeting. Parliament speakers from 14 countries, deputy parliament speakers from 6 countries and parliamentarians from 8 countries will be in attendance at the meeting.
Parliament Speaker Sahin, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Parliamentary Union of the OIC Secretary General Mahmut Erol Kilic and OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu will make opening remarks of the meeting.Established in 1969, OIC is an international organization with 57 member states from the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, Caucasus, Balkans, and South America. The Parliamentary Union of the OIC member states was established in Iran in 1999 and its headquarters is situated in Tehran.
 Talat says he is not leaving politics, but he is not considering of returning to the CTPTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (10.05.10) reports that former Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat has said that he is not leaving politics and he is ready to offer his services to the community. In his first interview with the illegal TAK news agency after the presidential elections, Mr Talat said he has a responsibility towards the 43% who voted for him in the elections and added: I want to contribute to the solution process. I have been carrying out my duty impartially for five years. I am not considering of the presidency of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) or to act within the party.
Mr Talat noted that the propaganda of various circles that there will be no solution in the Cyprus talks has been a decisive factor for the result of the 18 April elections and added that the one who had psychological advantage and lead the non-solution won the elections. He claimed that the statements made by the Greek Cypriot side that there was no progress in the negotiations were among the reasons of his defeat in the elections.
Mr Talat alleged that propaganda based on lies was conducted during the election period and the election results showed that this was especially influential within the settlers from Turkey. He especially referred to the propaganda regarding his statement that he cried at the night of the declaration of the breakaway regime. He noted that this seems to have influenced the Turkish settlers. It was decisive in Karpass and Famagusta for example, he added. He said he also could make propaganda because he had many documents in his hand, but he did not do it as he believed that his views would lead him to victory. Responding to a question, Mr Talat said the fact that the CTP lost the parliamentary elections which were held one year before the presidential elections contributed to his defeat, but he could not say how much. He also said the propaganda that the Turkish settlers would go back to Turkey if a solution is found was an absolute lie, because these people would benefit the most from a possible solution. However, he noted, this propaganda was influential.
Referring to the letter which the Turkish Cypriot leader has sent to the UN Secretary-General, Mr Talat said:
The letter he sent to the UN Secretary-General is a version of the letter which I had sent. References are made to the UN parameters, to the agreements we made. We have to wait and see. However, no one should forget the following: It would not be correct to say that what is said during the election campaign remains there. If Eroglu had said that Talat cannot do this job, I can negotiate better, I would understand it. However, he said that I would take back what Talat gave away, he opposed to the agreements, he said to us you sell us of, you gave concessions. He said he could change the UN parameters. In this situation, now he should keep his promise and take back what I gave away. Let him do this, let him keep his promise and I will be the first who will applaud him. However, if he is going to follow the road I followed, then where is sincerity? ...
 Rauf Denktas says Turkey influenced the Turkish settlers in the occupied areas of Cyprus to vote yes in the referendum for the Annan PlanTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (08.05.10) reports that Rauf Denktas, former Turkish Cypriot leader, has said that the illegal Turkish settlers, who had come to the island and were given the citizenship of the breakaway regime, have contributed a lot in the yes vote of the Turkish side during the referendum for the Annan Plan. In an interview with Havadis, Mr Denktas noted that the percentage of the votes of the Turkish settlers in the 65% yes votes in the referendum was 30%.
Mr Denktas said: The result was like that when Turkey used its influence and the people who came here from Turkey and to whom we gave the citizenship voted because Turkey wanted it. They are 30% within the 65% of those who said yes
Mr Denktas expressed his sorrow because, as he alleged, the people was deceived before the referendum for the Annan Plan. He noted that Mr Talat was saying to the people that if they voted yes, the TRNC, breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, would be recognized.
Referring to the results of the recent presidential elections, Mr Denktas said that those who support their state won. He noted that when the former Turkish Cypriot leader Talat started the negotiations he gave the massage that he could abandon the state and said he did not want separate sovereignty.
Referring to Tahsin Ertugruloglu, candidate in the illegal presidential elections and former MP with the National Unity Party (UBP), Mr Denktas said he told to Ertugruloglu that he is a candidate whom he could easily vote, but when he found out that Ertugruloglu asked in writing from the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Erolgu to promise him that he would become prime minister in case he wins the elections, he advised him not to do it because he would help Talat. Mr Denktas said that Mr Ertugruloglu told him that he would meet with the Turkish President Gul and do whatever he says. Mr Denktas added that he does not know what Gul said to Ertugruloglu.
 Invitation to Huseyin Ozgurgun to visit Australia and to the illegal regime to open a representation office thereTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.05.10) reported that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Huseyin Ozgurgun, met on Friday with the chairman of the Turkish Businessmen Union of Australia and director of the Commonwealth Bank, Huseyin Mustafa.
Huseyin Ozgurgun affirmed illegal regimes desire to exert efforts in order to foster their relations, while described this attempt as part of illegal regimes policy.
On his part, Huseyin Mustafa noted that after the Turkish Cypriot community in the UK, the expats Turkish Cypriots who live in Australia are the second largest Turkish Cypriot community abroad and said that the voice of the Turkish Cypriots expats has started to be heard in several platforms. He went on and asked from the illegal regime to support their activities, as well as to open of a representation office in Australia. Huseyin Mustafa has finally invited Mr Ozgurgun to visit Australia, noting that such a visit will strengthen the moral of the Turkish Cypriots.
According to the paper, Huseyin Ozgurgun has accepted the invitation to visit Australia, but the time of the visit is not yet known.
 Illegal regime pays Oramses initial court cost of £750.000Under the title Playback time, Turkish Cypriot weekend Cyprus Today newspaper (08.05.10) reported the following:
David and Linda Orams breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as the TRNC government finally paid initial court costs of £750,000, following their landmark property battle.
The first tranche of cash was due three months ago, and the couples £500,000 UK home was under threat while it was unpaid.
But Finance Minister Ersin Tatar confirmed yesterday that the money had been released from a holding account at the TRNC offices in London.
It means the Oramses home in Hove, Sussex, is safe for now.
But it could still be sold from under their feet if the next round of money for lawyers fees, which could exceed £2 million, is not paid.
The couple will learn the exact figure on June 19 and may challenge the amount at Londons High Court.
Mrs Orams told Cyprus Today yesterday: David and I feel the same it is just sinking in and it is a weight off our minds. We will look closely at the next amount and may contest it.
The costs are for lawyers who represented Greek Cypriot Meletis Apostolides in south Cyprus and the UK.
Mr Apostolides won a case against the Oramses to reclaim land on which their Lapta [occupied Lapithos] home is built.
In March this year, he gained a holding order on the couples UK home, meaning he could sell the house and take the proceeds at any time.
Yesterday, Mrs Orams revealed the couple were themselves out of pocket to the tune of £250,000 after losing their villa, forking out for some of their own legal costs and being forced to give away or sell possessions at a low price.
And their battle is still not over; their application to demolish their villa, as ordered by the Court of Appeal in January this year, has been rejected by TRNC planners.
Mrs Orams said: The next battle on our hands will be what happens to our house in the TRNC. We cannot demolish it, we do not know what will happen it will be decided in court.
People think that this case is all over, but it is a long way from over and I can see it going on for another year.
Speaking of their loss, she added: I have been angry, but I try to channel it in to fighting this. We have had our bad moments; it was horrible having the charge put on our house. We have lived in the house for 17 years and to think that it could be taken from you is a horrible feeling.
I still love it here [in the TRNC] and will keep coming back. We have wonderful friends here and it is lovely coming back to see them.
Mr Talat has expressed his disappointment over the cost of the case to the TRNC. He confirmed an additional £700,000 had been earmarked for outstanding legal fees for Mr Apostolides, along with around £500,000 or pay the Oramses legal costs.
 Turkey and the occupation regime sign protocol on educationIllegal Bayrak television (08.05.10) broadcast the following:
The Minister of National Education, Youth and Sports Kemal Durust has evaluated his contacts in Ankara at a press conference. He gave news that according to the protocol signed between Turkey and the TRNC four new schools will be built in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus with funding provided from Turkey. The Turkish National Education Ministry will also donate six hundred computers to schools in the Republic in order to better develop technology in schools.
Mr Durust added that during their contacts in Ankara they had invited some private teaching establishments to the TRNC with the hope of reaching their aim to bring 50 thousand students to TRNC universities this year. Durust also gave the good news that from now on textbooks will be given to secondary schools for free. Previously on primary school students and middle school students were given free text books.
Furthermore, illegal Bayrak television (07.05.10) broadcast the following:
The Minister of National Education, Youth and Sports Kemal Durust has met with his Turkish counterpart Nimet Cubukcu in Ankara. The education system in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was the main topic of the meeting at the Turkish Parliament.
During the meeting, Cubukcu pointed out that the TRNC has the necessary characteristics to become an island of education and voiced her countrys readiness to do its best to help improve the economy in the Republic further.
On his part, Durust announced that two nursery schools, one in Iskele [occupied Trikomo] and the other in Guzelyurt [occupied Morfou] will be built with the contributions of Turkey within the additional protocol signed between the two countries.
Meanwhile, a cooperation protocol has been signed between Turkeys Gazi University and the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports.
 The Chamber of Commerce becomes full member of the ESBATurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (10.05.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) has become a full member of the European Small Business Alliance (ESBA). Salih Celiker, member of the administrative council of the KTTO, was elected unanimously in the administrative council of ESBA on 5 May 2010 during the second annual general assembly of ESBA held in Brussels with the participation of delegations from Britain, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Croatia, Slovenia, Gibraltar, Sweden, Greece and the occupied areas of Cyprus.
The paper writes that the KTTO is also member of the International Chamber of Commerce and the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Meanwhile, according to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (10.05.10), the KTTO will celebrate the Day of Europe with a meeting and a reception which will start at 18.00 o clock today. The Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu, the so-called ambassador of Turkey to the occupied part of Lefkosia, Sakir Fakili, the self-styled minister of economy and energy, Sunat Atun, and many foreign diplomats will participate in the reception.
 The chairman of the Foreign Press Union, Fevzi Tanpinar, is visiting FYROMTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (09.05.10) reports that the chairman of the Foreign Press Union, Fevzi Tanpinar, went to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Saturday upon an invitation of the Union of Turkish Journalists of Macedonia.
According to the paper, Mr Tanpinar will give a speech in a conference which will be organized on the developments in the Cyprus problem. Mr Tanpinar will also hold other contacts. He will return to occupied Cyprus on Wednesday.
 The illegal Turkish Cypriot airlines cannot even pay the salaries of their employeesTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (10.05.10) reports that Turkish Technics Company, which offers ground services to the illegal Turkish Cypriot Airlines (KTHY), has confiscated 700 thousand dollars which the KTHY had in its bank account in Turkiye Is Bankasi in return of KTHYs 12-million US dollar credit. The debt of the KTHY increased from 10 million to 12 million US dollars.
According to statements made by the chairman of the administrative council of the company, Erol Atakan, the KTHY cannot pay their dept, closed their account in the Turkiye Is Bankasi and try to open an account with other banks. The paper notes that the company cannot pay the salaries of its employees. Mr Atakan said that they need two and a half million Turkish liras (TL) for paying the salaries. He noted that the confiscated 700 million US dollars correspond to one million TL.
 Zorlu states that the Turkish occupation armed forces in Cyprus are ready to provide any kind of support to the Turkish CypriotsTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.05.10) reported that a military delegation headed by the Lieutenant General of the occupation army in Cyprus, Hilmi Akin Zorlu, paid a visit on Friday to the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.
In his statements, Dervis Eroglu said that the Turkish Cypriots need to be supported by the Turkish occupation army. On his part, Gen. Zorlu said that the Turkish armed forces are ready to provide any kind of support to the Turkish Cypriots.
 Alvaro de Soto said that the referendum day for Annan plan was the saddest day in his careerTurkish daily Sabah newspaper (09.05.10) reports that former UN Secretary-Generals Special Adviser for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, who is currently in Turkey and will be a visiting lecturer to Bahcesehir University, made statements to Sabah regarding the Annan plan.
Replying to the question why he thinks that the Annan plan was unsuccessful, Mr de Soto said: The Annan Plan was so complicated as the Cyprus problem itself. We tried to prepare a balanced plan by melting in a pot both sides desires and dreams. Our biggest enemy was the time. Although we were forced to solve the problem prior to EUs enlargement wave in 2004, the interruption of the process several times and the change of the leaders from both sides during the process prevented it to reach a success. Mr de Soto also said that the vote of the Greek Cypriots was influenced because their leaders had not explained objectively the Annan plans content to the people. Finally, he confessed that the day on which the Greek Cypriots voted no for the Annan plan was the saddest day in the 25 years of his career.
 EU welcomes Turkeys constitutional reforms, but expresses its discontent on CyprusTurkish daily Sundays Zaman (09.05.10) reported the following:
The European Union is preparing to tell Turkey that it welcomes the constitutional amendments that were recently approved after fierce debates in the Turkish Parliament on Monday when Turkish and European authorities meet at the 48th EU-Turkey Association Council in Brussels. Brussels will endorse the heatedly debated constitutional amendments, arguing that the revision will improve the lives of Turkish citizens.
While the 18-page document obtained by Sunday's Zaman welcomes the constitutional amendments, which were opposed by all three opposition parties, the Republican People's Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), it calls on both the opposition and the government to engage in a constructive discussion. Officially called the 48th Meeting of the EU-Turkey Association Council-Position of the European Union, the document applauds the cancellation of the Protocol on Cooperation for Security and Public Order (EMASYA), which allowed military operations and intelligence gathering in cities without the approval of the civilian administration. Critical of the military's influence over politics, the EU calls on senior military personnel not to speak publicly beyond their remit, particularly on domestic and foreign policies.
The EU-Turkey Association Council is the highest institutional decision-making body between Turkey and the EU. The common position of the EU is finalized only after all the 27 member countries agree on the wording.
The EU expresses its discontent on Cyprus and calls once more on Turkey to ratify the Ankara protocol, which calls for allowing Greek Cypriot planes and ships to enter Turkish waters and airspace. Ankara refuses to do so, stressing that the EU has not fulfilled its promise to end the isolation of Turkish Cypriots after Turks overwhelmingly endorsed the Annan plan back in April 2004.Brussels welcomes the positive steps taken regarding the Kurdish issue but urges Ankara to take further steps. "Corruption is still widespread," according to Brussels, and swift implementation of the fight against corruption is very important.The following are excerpts from the document:
Constitution: The EU welcomes in particular the willingness of the government to proceed with a package of constitutional reforms, which were presented to Parliament on March 22. A revised Constitution is needed in Turkey to allow for a number of key reforms --which aim at enhancing democratic standards, human rights and the rule of law, thus improving the daily life of Turkish citizens. The EU is pleased that this objective is broadly accepted today within Turkish society and over major parts of the political spectrum. However, given the crucial importance of these reforms for the future of the country and its EU perspective, the EU stresses the importance of a broadest possible consultation, involving all political parties and civil society, in a spirit of dialogue and compromise, in order to achieve the aims of constitutional reform. In this context, the EU encourages the government and the opposition to engage in constructive discussions.
Foreign policy: Turkey is an important regional player, inter alia, for security in the Middle East and the Southern Caucasus and plays a key role in energy supply and the promotion of dialogue between civilizations. As regards the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia, the EU encourages Turkey to remain committed to the process of normalization and calls on both countries to continue their dialogue and remain committed to the process of normalization without preconditions and in a reasonable timeframe.
Cyprus: The EU notes with deep regret that Turkey, despite repeated calls, continues refusing to fulfil its obligation of full non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Association Agreement. In the absence of progress on this issue, the EU will maintain its measures from 2006, which will have a continuous effect on the overall progress in the negotiations. Furthermore, Turkey has not made progress towards normalization of its relations with the Republic of Cyprus. The EU will continue to closely follow and review progress made on the issues covered by the declaration of the European Community and its Member States of September 21, 2005, in accordance with its conclusions of December 11, 2006. Progress is now expected without further delay.
Kurdish issue: The EU welcomes the removal of all restrictions to broadcast in the Kurdish language by private and public channels at the local and national level. The EU also welcomes the lifting of all restrictions on the use of languages other than Turkish in election campaigns. The EU encourages Turkey to take further measures to enhance cultural rights in practice, and lift remaining restrictions, in particular as regards the use of languages other than Turkish in political life and when accessing public services. The EU encourages Turkey to intensify its efforts to enhance tolerance or promote inclusiveness vis-à-vis minorities. Action is also needed to resolve problems encountered by the Greek minority, in particular as regards education and property rights. The EU welcomes the efforts undertaken by the Turkish government as regards the Roma population, in particular the Roma summit that took place in March; the EU invites the Turkish authorities to address the housing, education, health and employment issues the Roma population is faced with.
Civilian-military relations: The EU welcomes the cancellation of the EMASYA protocol. Senior members of the armed forces should refrain from making statements on issues going beyond their remit as concerns both domestic and foreign policy. Full civilian supervisory functions and parliamentary oversight of defence expenditure need to be guaranteed.
 Istanbul becomes hub of Mideast diplomacyUnder the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (10.05.10) reports the following:
President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had talks this weekend with a number of top leaders from Turkey's Middle Eastern neighbours, including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
President Gul and his spouse, Hayrunnisa Gul, hosted the Syrian president and his spouse, Esma al-Assad, at a breakfast at the Tarabya presidential palace. Prime Minister Erdogan also attended the breakfast. In addition, Gul also separately met with Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, Iraqi government spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh and Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani at Tarabya Palace later in the afternoon.
In addition, the prime minister met with Assad at Ciragan Palace and al-Thani at Dolmabahce Palace. Erdogan also hosted a working lunch for Assad, al-Thani and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr al-Thani. Later in the day, Erdogan met with al-Dabbagh at his office in Dolmabahce Palace.
Assad, on a two-day visit to Istanbul, and Gul held a joint press conference on Saturday during which Gul said Syria had indicated it is ready to resume talks where they had left off; however, they had not yet heard from the Israeli side. It is up to them, he added. Gul said Turkey would like to help contribute to the peace process for the stability and welfare of the region. Israel and Syria held four indirect rounds of talks with Turkish mediation in 2008.
Those were suspended after the Israeli incursion into Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009. Gul later hosted a dinner for the Syrian president and his spouse on a boat in the Bosporus, which was closed to the press.
Noting that the basis of Turkish-Syrian relations was very healthy, Gul said the reciprocal elimination of visa requirements and easier customs operations was a sign of the fast-improving relations between the two countries. Turkey and Syria have developed their relations not only in the political sphere, but also in the spheres of education, culture, tourism and communication, Gul said. He also added that the visit of his valuable friend Assad had carried relations one step further.
Speaking alongside Gul, Assad said he was ready for talks but he accused Israel of avoiding negotiations, saying it did not want a resolution in the fight over the Golan Heights, territory Israel captured in 1967. Israel is not ready for mediation because it knows that successful mediation will bring peace, and the Israeli side does not want peace. We emphasize mediation and Turkeys role, but we also say Israel is not an honest partner, he said.
Assad also said Turkey could play a part in negotiations between Iran and Western powers over its nuclear program. I want Turkey to continue its important role because a trust has formed between the Iranian and Turkish governments and Turkey has good relations with the rest of the region, he said.
 Turkeys constitutional amendment law submitted to President GulAnkara Anatolia news agency (07.05.10) reported the following from Ankara:
The constitutional amendment law, adopted by the Turkish parliament on Thursday, was submitted to the presidential office on Friday. Turkish Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin signed the constitutional amendment law and sent to the Cankaya Presidential Palace. Under the Constitution, President Abdullah Gul has 15 days to scrutinize the law to ratify or send it back to the parliament. If the president does not return the constitutional amendment law, the law will be published in the Official Gazette and then be put on referendum since the entire package received votes more than 330 but less than 367.
The Turkish parliament early on Friday adopted the constitutional amendment law in the final voting of the package as a whole. The package, except the rejected article 8th over dissolution of political parties and a related provisional article, was adopted by 336 votes in favour and 72 against. The constitutional amendment law foresees changes to structure of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). It abolishes the provisional article 15 of the constitution which does not allow trial of the members of the National Security Council formed after a coup in 1980. The law also abolishes the ban on right to general strike; paves the way for a citizen to become a member of more than one union, and the civil servants and other public officials the right to collective bargaining. It also paves the way for trial of parliament speaker, chief of general staff, and senior commanders by the High Tribunal on charges of crimes they commit regarding their positions.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Solution process in Cyprus should pick up from where Talat left offUnder the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (09.05.10) published the following article by Levent Koker:
While Turkey has been busy dealing with the constitutional amendment package, which will clearly occupy the domestic political agenda for some time to come, the potential consequences of the presidential elections in Cyprus have fallen short of attracting the publics attention.
But solving the Cyprus problem is one of the most critical issues in preserving Turkeys European Union membership perspective and enabling the process to continue. In this respect, the potential of the EU-member Greek administration to impair the process and Turkeys failure to open its air and sea ports to this state, which is an issue that is brought up every year, are important points that need to be remembered. It is evident that the moral superiority that Cypriot Turks have because two-thirds of them voted in the affirmative in the referendum on the Annan plan has not really changed the situation. It is for this reason that a solution in Cyprus is at least as critical as democratizing the Constitution.
Mehmet Ali Talat, who became the president in 2005 by winning 55 percent of the vote, lost in the April 18 elections. Talat, who represents a perspective that can be encapsulated in the slogan Solution and European Union, won 43 percent of the vote while his rival, National Unity Party (UBP) leader Dervis Eroglu, won a little over 50 percent and became the new president. These results can be assessed from various perspectives. According to one view, these results attest to the failure of policies enacted by Talat. As for the reason Talat failed, it was because he did not present alternative plans on what he would do if a compromise could not be reached with the Greek side. This situation further consolidated the position of the Greek side, which already has the upper hand because it is an EU member, and made Talat seem as though he was constantly making concessions. An example of this is his approval of a single sovereignty in a federal (united) Cyprus state, whereas now, if Eroglu sits at the negotiation table with an alternative plan or plans and gives the impression that a solution is not an absolute must, then he will have a stronger position. According to this same view, if negotiations and the solution process are temporarily postponed, then everything is on track, and independently from the solution process, the administration should concentrate on solving northern Cyprus socio-economic problems. In brief, there is an attempt to develop an approach that says: Finding a solution is not very important. Let us focus on our responsibilities in the North.
This approach is not compatible with the approach Turkey adopted immediately after the 2002 elections, which brought the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to power. The AK Partys approach on the Cyprus issue discredits the deadlock is a solution attitude in favour of a we will always be a step ahead of the Greeks attitude. As for the political tradition Eroglu comes from, it seeks to predicate the solution process in Cyprus on the existence of two separate and sovereign states. This attitude, which can be identified with Rauf Denktas, sees the yes vote on the Annan plan, which foresaw a federation in Cyprus, as almost treachery and dreams of a confederation between two independent states. The purpose behind this is to make the division on the island official. This formality could be called a confederation or a loose federation --it is not too important what it is called. If this is not possible, then the quest for ways to convince the international community to accept the current condition should be pursued with determination.
Subtitle: Waiting on May 26
We will have the opportunity to see whether Eroglu will maintain this policy during the negotiation process in his first meeting, to be held on May 26. It will also shortly become clear whether the AK Party will preserve its 2002 perspective on the Cyprus problem or if it has adopted a new approach and whether this new approach includes a policy that is warm toward the idea of recognizing a two-state solution. Could Turkey be planning on using its importance, which it reckons has increased in international relations with the positive impetus of its active foreign policy approach --which became more distinct with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu-- to support a change in attitude on the Cyprus problem? This is not yet clear. Could the criticism of choosing the 600,000-populated southern Cyprus over the 70-million-strong Turkey, which has been directed at the EU from time to time, be voiced a bit more strongly? Could the moral strength that comes from the Cypriot Turks being the side that wants a solution and the importance which Turkey believes it has gained in its new foreign policy strategy support this power? The answers to these questions remain unclear.
Nevertheless, limiting the solution process in Cyprus to the need to affirm the current situation (a deadlock is a solution) or to the notion that the way to a solution passes through accepting the existence of two separate people and two separate sovereign states (a two nation-state loose federation or a confederation) actually means not solving the problem. It is important to bear in mind that the Cyprus problem is an outcome of the nationalist conspiracy that was created under Cold War conditions in the 1950s, which led to the fragmentation of the island between Cypriot Turks and Cypriot Greeks. The chief architects of this conspiracy were American and British forces, which reckoned that the island as a whole was susceptible to Soviet influence and that this would undermine NATO. The actors in this conspiracy can be identified as Greek fascists and the Turkish Gladio. Due to this historical development, a final solution in Cyprus cannot be a solution that perpetuates this division, which is the outcome of a conspiracy. To the contrary, a final solution to the Cyprus problem will require a close federation as envisioned in the Annan plan.
It is for this reason that an agreement between Talat and Republic of Cyprus President Demetris Christofias on at least a federal state that has a single sovereignty and a single international identity is a remarkable improvement. Continuing the process on the basis of this agreement will keep hopes for a final solution alive. Will Eroglu, who noted in a letter to the UN Secretary-General that he intended to pursue the process within UN parameters, support the idea of a federal union? Will the AK Party, which is known for supporting Talat, continue this line? Will the Greek side see Eroglus election as a new boon for Turkish nationalism and opt to continue searching for a solution from the place they left off with Talat instead of prolonging the solution process? I am hopeful that we are at the brink of a period in which we will be able to respond positively to these three questions.
 From the Turkish Press of 07, 08 and 09 May 2010Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish Press on 07, 08 and 09 May 2010:
a) Erdogan's upcoming visit to Greece:
Viewing Prime Minister Erdogan's upcoming visit to Greece in an article in Hurriyet Daily News (08.05.10), Cengiz Aktar hopes that "steps will be taken toward a durable peace and non-aggression treaty to slash the defence expenditures of both countries." Enumerating the endless advantages of transforming the Aegean Sea into a peaceful inner sea, Aktar says that the biggest contribution Turkey can make to Greece is a permanent reduction in military expenditures, a contribution that will also benefit Turkey, which was forced to create the Aegean Army in the aftermath of the Cyprus intervention.
b) Turkey's EU accession process:
Ambassador Marc Pierini, head of the delegation of the European Union to Turkey, views Turkey's accession process in an article in Hurriyet Daily News (08.05.10), underlining that the driving force of the accession is the alignment of Turkish legislation with EU standards. Detailing the progress made in the accession negotiations, Pierini explains the reasons for some of the hesitations amongst the EU's political circles to Turkey's membership.
c) Constitutional amendments:
A report entitled "Constitutional marathon over, all eyes on President's office" in Milliyet (07.05.10) says that the bill on constitutional amendments tabled by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was yesterday ratified by the Turkish Parliaments by 336 votes in favour. It notes that the bill will put to a referendum toward the end of July if it is approved by President Abdullah Gul within 15 days.
In an article entitled "If the opposition is not manipulated by the Prime Minister," Hurriyet columnist Mehmet M. Yilmaz (07.05.10) says that the bill on constitutional amendments will be put to a referendum if something unexpected does not happen. Pointing out that the opposition parties have formed a strong alliance against the amendments and can defeat the AKP if they can turn the referendum into a vote of confidence for the government, Yilmaz adds: "If, however, they permit the Prime Minister to set the agenda as they did in the past, we can predict that they will lose. Meanwhile, the government's defeat in the vote of confidence would certainly lead to an early election."
Analyzing motives behind the bill on constitutional amendments ratified by the Turkish Parliament yesterday in an article entitled "Just like a frog," Hurriyet Daily News columnist Yusuf Kanli (07.05.10) accuses the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, of pursuing salami tactics aimed at establishing an Islamist autocracy to replace the secular system. He comments: "Once the current package is approved in a national referendum later this summer, the country will start discussing the merits of moving from the multi-party parliamentary governance to a presidential system. Most probably, the AKP will build its 2011 election campaign on the need for Turkey to write a totally new constitution and move to presidential governance in August 2012 when it elects a new president."
In an article entitled "A referendum on 11 or 18 July," Radikal columnist Ismet Berkan (07.05.10) predicts that a referendum will be held on 11 July or 18 July if the bill is signed into a law by President Gul. He also notes that there are uncertainties about the fate of the bill due to the possibility that the CHP will apply to the Constitutional Court for the annulment of the amendments. He comments: "Eleven judges of the Constitutional Court will face a conflict of interest because they will share their powers with new members to be appointed if the constitutional amendments come into force which will also mean that they will relinquish a part of their powers. This tells us that the date of the referendum is known but whether or not it will be held looks uncertain."
Under the banner headline, "Nation's turn to speak," Yeni Safak (07.05.10) publishes a front-page report which says that the constitutional amendment package prepared by the ruling AKP was adopted as a whole by Parliament late last night. According to the report, if the president approves the package, a referendum will be called where "the people will go to the polling stations to consign some 24 articles of the current constitution prepared by the architects of the 12 September coup to the dustbin of history."
In an article entitled "The mishap could prove beneficial", Zaman columnist Mustafa Unal (07.05.10) asserts that the voting down of the proposed amendment governing political party closures was a "mishap" caused by some AKP deputies' refusal to vote for the amendment as a result of "propaganda" to the effect that the proposed change would enable political parties that are "extensions of separatist violence" to avoid being banned. He also asserts that the rejection of the said proposal is in the AKP's interests because it means that the backbone of the CHP's argument for filing an appeal with the Constitutional Court against the reform package has been effectively destroyed.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has begun preparations for a referendum on the constitutional amendment package and the estimation is that the referendum will be held towards the end of July, writes Fikret Bila in an article in Milliyet (08.05.10). Pointing out, however, that the timetable might change since the Republican People's Party (CHP) will be applying to the Constitutional Court on the issue and will be seeking a stay of execution, Bila explains that if the Court grants the CHP request for a stay of execution then the package timetable might come to a halt until a court decision is made on the essence of the package. Noting that CHP constitutional experts are in the process of preparing the application requesting the annulment of the package, Bila goes onto detail the arguments the CHP will be using to prove that the amendment package is incompatible with the Constitution.
In an article in Referans (08.05.10), Cengiz Candar argues that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Erdogan are partly responsible for the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) boycott of the voting regarding the constitutional amendment article on the closure of parties, adding that, however, the BDP is equally responsible for undermining the democratization process in the country through that boycott. Referring to Abdullah Ocalan's instructions regarding the article on the closure of parties, Candar says that the BDP is nothing but a "tool' for Imrali. The writer argues that with the exception of democrats in Turkey no one views the BDP as legitimate, adding that the BDP cannot realize its desire to be a "party of Turkey" by distancing itself from the democrats who have been exerting efforts to legitimize the BDP despite the risks involved.
According to Sabah columnist Nazli Ilicak (08.05.10), the AKP has emerged victorious from the first round of the constitutional amendment package struggle. Describing the second round as the Constitutional Court hurdle, Ilicak argues that one cannot be so sure that the Court will grant the CHP's request for a stay of execution, warning the CHP not to be so sure of the outcome. The two-month referendum timetable will go into effect after the president endorses the amendment package law, writes Ilicak, wondering whether the Constitutional Court decision will come after the referendum and, if so, whether the Court can rule the opposite of what the nation has decided.
The constitutional amendment package is aimed at changing the system in the country, according to Taraf columnist Ahmet Altan (08.05.10), who argues that even the most conservative elements cannot defend the system which the writer describes as anachronistic and directed against the people. No one is openly opposing the amendments, explains Altan in his article, accusing the system of playing a cunning game by pushing the amendment package aside and placing the AKP at the centre of the discussions and arguing that "anything that is in the interest of the AKP is evil." Conceding that the AKP has many shortcomings, Altan fails to understand how they are connected with the amendments that are in the interests of the people. Asking whether there is any other party that wishes to change the Constitution, the essence of the system, and the structure of the state and that has the power to implement these wishes, Altan, having answered his own rhetorical question in the negative, argues that the mentality that one has to oppose every change initiated by the AKP because it is viewed as an "evil party" is faulty.
In an article entitled "MHP-BDP-CHP Alliance: Whose last recourse is this?", Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Aktay (08.05.10) cites the "defence reflexes of the status quo" as the factor that prompted the "alliance" between the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) against the constitutional amendment package. He asserts that the said parties' behaviour during the parliamentary vote on the reform package demonstrated what a potent move the Government had made in drawing up the package in the sense that the initiative to change the Constitution forced these parties to reveal the coalition amongst one another that they had taken pains to keep secret until then. He also claims that the BDP's stance on the package has established that this party is entirely pleased with the tendency to "ethnic denial" or "discriminatory nationalism" that informs establishment policies.
In an article entitled "AKP-PKK hand in hand?", Vakit columnist Serdar Arseven (08.05.10) describes the passage of the constitutional amendment package as a major blow to the Ergenekon network and predicts that Ergenekon will have to go increasingly underground from now on. He accuses Ergenekon of staging the latest terrorist attacks on Turkish soldiers and claims that this organization is "supporting its extensions in Parliament by massacring Turkish troops." He also asserts that the results of the parliamentary vote on the reform package have given the lie to allegations of AKP-PKK cooperation in changing the Constitution.
In an article entitled "They should not apply to the Constitutional Court before the referendum," Milli Gazete columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan (09.05.10) advises the CHP against submitting an application to the Constitutional Court for the annulment of a bill on constitutional amendments if it is approved by President Abdullah Gul because it would mean that the CHP does not respect people's decision about the amendments.