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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-05-11

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. 86/10 11.05.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Eroglu designates UBP leader to form the new so-called government of the occupation regime
  • [02] Eroglu asks for the lifting of their so-called isolations; Cerkez alleges that the Green Line Regulation is not sufficient for closing the difference between the economies of the two communities
  • [03] Eroglu sends a letter to the Elders asking for their support so that the so-called isolation on the illegal regime to be lifted
  • [04] Disagreements between the UBP and DP regarding the municipalities are reportedly creating problems in their cooperation
  • [05] Ozgurgun accuses EU for the current situation in Cyprus
  • [06] Tatar on the purchases of the Turkish Cypriots from the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus; He is visiting Ankara today
  • [07] The chairman of DP Youth to participate in the Youth Community of the Turkish World in FYROM
  • [08] Turkeys main opposition CHP leader quits
  • [09] CHP searches for new leader following Baykal resignation
  • [10] Davutoglu and Bagis hold contacts in Brussels
  • [11] OICs COMCEC meeting kicks off in Antalya
  • [12] The Parliamentary Union of the OIC reaffirms commitment to the foundation of the Palestinian state
  • [13] Tripartite meeting between Turkey, Syria and Qatar took part in Istanbul
  • [14] Russian President Medvedev to hold contacts in Turkey
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [15] From the Turkish Press of 10 May 2010

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Eroglu designates UBP leader to form the new so-called government of the occupation regime

    Illegal Bayrak television (10.05.10) broadcast the following:

    President Dervis Eroglu empowered the Leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) Irsen Kucuk on the formation of the new government after holding separate meetings with political parties having seats at the Parliament today. Eroglu wished Kucuk success on his new duty and Kucuk in return said he will be doing his best.

    Eroglu first met with the representatives of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) this morning.

    Speaking at the end of the meeting, ORP Leader Turgay Avci expressed full support to Eroglu in the continuation of the solution process, together with Turkey.

    The Social Democratic Party (TDP) officials were next to meet with Eroglu and the TDP Leader Mehmet Cakici told reporters that his party welcomes the establishment of the National Council. For his turn, Democrat Party Leader Serdar Denktas confirmed support to the government to be newly formed.Eroglu then met with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) delegation. While leaving the Presidential Palace, CTP Leader Ferdi Sabit Soyer said that UBP and DP would work on forming a coalition government, but added that another formation would come onto the agenda following UBPs ordinary congress to be held in November.

    After holding the final meeting with the UBP delegation, President Eroglu announced UBP Leader Irsen Kucuks nomination on the government formation. Amid the announcement, Kucuk told reporters that he will meet with all political parties being represented at the Parliament as soon as he holds meetings with the UBP organs first. UBP Leader noted that he intends to present to the President with the list of government members before the 15-day-long period ends.

    [02] Eroglu asks for the lifting of their so-called isolations; Cerkez alleges that the Green Line Regulation is not sufficient for closing the difference between the economies of the two communities

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.05.10) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu has alleged that the European friends of the Turkish Cypriots should do some things in order for the Greek Cypriots to enter into the road of the solution. In statements yesterday during a reception organized by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) on the occasion of the Europe Day, Mr Eroglu claimed that one of these things is the lifting of the so-called embargoes on the Turkish Cypriots. The paper writes that foreign ambassadors to Lefkosia, the self-styled ambassador of Turkey to the occupied part of the divided capital, Sakir Fakili and the chairman of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Manthos Mavrommatis were among the participants in the reception.

    Mr Eroglu alleged that the lifting of the unjust isolations or giving the message that they could be lifted will secure for the Greek Cypriots to sit at the table for a solution. Mr Eroglu said that the party of which he has been president until recently implements the free market economy since 1987 and supports the European Union. He added, however, that they have some expectations from the EU. He said that he will continue the negotiations for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, that all the EU member states want this and that time has finally come for taking a result. He alleged that the target of the Turkish Cypriots is to find a solution and accused the Greek Cypriots of using delaying tactics.

    Moreover, the chairman of the KTTO, Gunay Cerkez, said in his speech that KTTO strongly supports the solution in Cyprus and the accession to the EU and added that they will continue the efforts of preparing the economy of the breakaway regime for an agreement in Cyprus. Mr Cerkez reminded that free trade, justice, democracy and the human rights are principles supported by the EU and wondered why the Union does not implement these principles for its Turkish Cypriot citizens. Pointing out to the fact that the results of Eurobarometre showed that the trust and support of the Turkish Cypriots towards the EU decreased from 95% to 35%, Mr Cerkez noted that the accession of Cyprus to the EU, in spite of the fact that the Greek Cypriots rejected the Annan Plan and the demand of the EU from Turkey to open its ports to the Cypriot vessels, played important role in this.

    Mr Cerkez criticized the implementation of the so-called embargoes and isolations on the Turkish Cypriots. Noting that the Turkish Cypriots did whatever was asked from them, he wondered what else they should do for acquiring the right of direct trade. He reiterated the allegation that the Green Line Regulation is not sufficient and that closing the difference between the economies of the two communities will not be possible with this Regulation.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Eroglu sends a letter to the Elders asking for their support so that the so-called isolation on the illegal regime to be lifted

    Under the title Eroglu asked support from the Elders!, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has sent a letter of thanks to the Bishop Tutu, and asked the Elders support so that the so-called shameful restrictions and obstacles that are allegedly, applied on the Turkish Cypriots to be lifted.

    Mr Eroglus letter came as a response to the congratulatory letter sent by Bishop Tutu to Dervis Eroglu after the latters election in the Turkish Cypriot leadership. In the letter, Mr Eroglu has expressed his gratitude for the encouragement and support which the Elders provide to the Cyprus negotiation process, while he stated his commitment for a solution to be reached after the conclusion of the negotiations between President Demetris Christofias and himself. He also informed in detail Bishop Tutu on the context of the letter he sent to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on April 23, the paper writes.

    Stating that the Turkish Cypriot sides expectation is for the unjust isolation and restrictions to be lifted, Dervis Eroglu added that this demand of the Turkish Cypriot side is in accordance with the recommendation made by the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his report submitted to the UN Security Council on May 28, 2004. He also noted that the lifting of the so-called restrictions will encourage the Greek Cypriot side to adopt a more flexible and constructive approach at the negotiations table.

    Dervis Eroglu finally expressed his wish to get acquainted with the members of the Elders during a visit that they will pay to Cyprus. Furthermore, he invited the group to visit the occupied territories of the Republic. Our door is always open and I will be always pleased to have a dialogue with you, Eroglu concluded.

    (ML)

    [04] Disagreements between the UBP and DP regarding the municipalities are reportedly creating problems in their cooperation

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.05.10) reports that delegations from the National Unity Party (UBP) and the Democratic Party (DP) headed by the presidents of these parties, Irsen Kucuk and Serdar Denktas respectively, met yesterday and discussed issues regarding their cooperation in the municipality elections, which will be held in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus on 27 June, 2010. Mr Kucuk and Mr Denktas said before the meeting that they would discuss their cooperation and that no statement would be made regarding the result of the meeting.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (11.05.10) reports that the relations between the two parties severed when the UBP officials asked from the DP 27 out of the 28 municipalities in the occupied areas of Cyprus. Citing reliable sources, the paper writes that the DP insists on taking the municipality of occupied Famagusta in return of the municipality in the occupied part of Lefkosia and the municipalities in occupied Agios Sergios, Kythrea and Dikomo together with the four municipalities which the party possesses at the moment. The sources said that the UBP gives to the DP the right of having a candidate only for occupied Agios Amvrosios municipality and that the negotiations and the cooperation between the two parties ended.

    Referring to the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (11.05.10) reports that rupture is created in the cooperation of the two parties. The DP is annoyed from the developments, says the paper adding that after the above-mentioned meeting the chairmen of the DPs local organizations sent a letter to Mr Serdar Denktas asking him not to support the minority government which the UBP is expected to establish.

    The paper reports that Irsen Kucuk, chairman of the UBP, confirmed the crisis noting that the UBPs base wants narrow cooperation with the DP. The chairman of the DP, Serdar Denktas said there is no crisis, but the general secretary of the party, Ejder Aslanbaba confirmed the information and noted that the cooperation might end.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Ozgurgun accuses EU for the current situation in Cyprus

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (10.05.10) reported the following from Istanbul:

    Europe Day, the annual commemoration of the Schuman Declaration, which marks the first step of the creation of a European Union, was celebrated at the Kadir Has University on Monday.

    First, a panel discussion was held on the role of media and civil society in removing prejudices on Turkey-EU relations, where important names in Turkeys politics and civil society participated. Then, all the participants were invited to an exhibition where newspapers front pages baring important headlines on the history of Turkey-EU relations were displayed.

    In his opening speech, the vice prime minister and minister of foreign affairs for northern Cyprus, [occupied areas of Cyprus] Huseyin Ozgurgun, protested against the fact that Brussels debates on the Cyprus issue have always been biased, adding that the European Union is the one who should be kept responsible on the islands present situation, not Turkey. In response to both local and foreign press speculations after Eroglu won the general elections, Ozgurgun said the newly elected government of northern Cyprus is determined to continue struggling for a solution to the issue.

    Ziya Muezzinoglu, the chair of the boards of directors of the Turkish-European Association, told the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review that he does not believe the Cyprus issue is the most crucial factor in Turkeys negotiations for accession. Cyprus is just an excuse used by European authorities. The critical issues are kept backstage, said Muezzinoglu, adding that the EU and Turkey should engage in speeding up the process and all such barriers should be automatically removed. He also stressed that there is a need for a new vision in Europe, capable of removing existing prejudices and the lack of confidence in Turkeys integration process. Turkey has gained an important place in the worlds new dynamics. The crisis in Greece, of which I first feared would have made the EUs stand toward Turkey more strict, showed once more that the EU needs us, said Muezzinoglu.

    Mevlut Cavusoglu, the chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said in his speech for Turkey to continue with its reforms and should not only pass good laws but also implement them properly. He also said Turkey aims to be a member of the union before 2023.

    We must work hard to get rid of all the prejudices and convince the EU of our standpoints, in which the media and civil society must play a key role, said Cavusoglu, adding that Turkey should not allow the EU to use double standards and it should keep its promises. Asked about how the constitutional reform package and the referendum will affect the negotiations, Cavusoglu told the Daily News that the package is an indicator of the countrys progress toward democratization, adding that a new constitution would be ideal. It is a coup constitution that is impeding Turkey to undertake important reforms, he said.

    All the speakers of the panel agreed on one important key point: Turkey must be determined on its path to EU integration; full membership is Turkeys right rather than a reward given by the union countries. The panel was followed by the inauguration of a photo exhibition of Turkish newspapers front pages bearing important headlines on the history of Turkey-EU relations since 1959.

    [06] Tatar on the purchases of the Turkish Cypriots from the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus; He is visiting Ankara today

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (11.05.10) reports on statements made by the self-styled minister of finance, Ersin Tatar on the economy of the illegal regime and the purchases conducted by the Turkish Cypriots from the government-controlled territories of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Stating that according to figures, only 1.5% of the illegal regimes imports are conducted from the free territories of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Tatar called on the people not to panic regarding the money spent in the free areas of the Republic and alleged that the occupied area of the island is gradually turning into a cheap place for purchases due to the measures which are taken by the government.

    Noting that the monthly purchases of the Turkish Cypriots from the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus are 1.5 million US dollars which means that the annual purchases are less than 20 million, Mr Tatar said that this number cannot be considered as big if someone has in mind the numbers given in the past by the economists who were referring to purchases of 40 billion US dollars.

    Mr Tatar further added that according to information obtained by Card Plus --a joint credit card of five banks operating in occupied Cyprus-- Turkish Cypriots have spent 683.000 Euros in purchases from the free areas of the Republic during the first four months of 2010.

    Referring to the imports of the illegal regime, Mr Tatar said that occupied Cyprus annually imports products of approximately 1.4 billion US dollars worth, which means that its monthly imports reach 120 million US dollars.

    The paper further writes that Ersin Tatar flies today to Ankara in order to hold contacts with the Turkish Minister of Foreign Trade, Zafer Caglayan. The overcoming of the financial problems and difficulties existing between Turkey and the illegal regime due to the application of fees and customs in their transactions will be the issues on Mr Tatars agenda.

    (ML)

    [07] The chairman of DP Youth to participate in the Youth Community of the Turkish World in FYROM

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (11.05.10) reports that the chairman of the Youth Organizations of the Democratic Party (DP), Munur Ozturk is to visit FYROM on May 17 after an invitation addressed to him by the Youth Community of the Turkish World. Munur Ozturk is to participate in the annual works of the Youth Community of the Turkish Worlds meeting. He will be accompanied by DPs Secretary of Foreign Relations, Huseyin Doygunel.

    The paper reminds that the illegal regime hosted the annual meeting of Youth Community of the Turkish World two years ago.

    (ML)

    [08] Turkeys main opposition CHP leader quits

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (10.05.10) reported the following from Ankara:

    After four decades of involvement in Turkish politics, Deniz Baykals career comes to an apparent end as he resigns amid an uproar of criticism for his alleged appearance with a female staffer on a clandestinely recorded video. The CHP leader says its a conspiracy and he is not done fighting the claims.

    Breaking a three-day silence in the wake of a sex tape that has riveted the nation, Turkeys main opposition leader Deniz Baykal exited the political stage Monday, announcing his resignation at an Ankara press conference.

    After a meeting with his senior party members at the Republican Peoples Party, or CHP, headquarters in Ankara, CHP leader Baykal announced his resignation in a dramatic speech, saying he is the victim of a conspiracy and blamed the government for the plot but did not give any names.

    Such private images cannot be taped and such a plot cant be realized without the knowledge of the government, Baykal said. So-called well-intentioned statements from the government cant conceal this crime. Those who criticize the plot are the real initiators, Baykal said.

    This violates human rights that are respected by all political regimes and all religions. It was not organized for economic benefit, but for political reasons. The plot targets not an individual, but the CHP's struggle for democracy,

    Baykal said. If necessary, I am ready to bear responsibility.

    Subtitle: Emphasis on Fethullah Gulen

    Referring to Fethullah Gulen, leader of a religious movement, Baykal also said he received messages of sorrow and support from Pennsylvania --where Gulen currently resides-- and that he believed the sincerity of the messages sent from the United States.

    Baykals remarks have been deemed a response to those who claimed that Gulen or some of his followers were behind the sex tape.

    Noting that it was not a coincidence that the tape was released amid debates over constitutional reform, the CHP leader also said he would never surrender to the organizers of the plot and that his resignation should not be considered a defeat.

    My resignation does not mean running away or giving in, Baykal said.

    Meanwhile, daily Zaman columnist Huseyin Gulerce told private news channel CNNTurk on Monday that Baykal and Gulen had held talks about the tape.

    Baykal's resignation spelled the end of a four-decade-long political career.

    Meanwhile, in response to Baykals allegations against the government, Bekir Bozdag of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, denied the claims, saying it was the AKPs biggest wish for the plotters to be disclosed.

    While making politics, Baykal usually demonstrated an approach that polarized the political sides. Now, it seems he is following the same policy while resigning by accusing the AKP. His resignation is not a situation that we will be happy about, Bozdag said.

    Subtitle: Reactions swift

    Commenting on the dramatic resignation, CHP deputy Mustafa Ozyurek said Baykal was being victimized in an ugly conspiracy.

    He talked to everyone, including the public, for four days. He resigned with the truth he expressed. This is a very hard situation for us. Baykal became one with the CHP. It is impossible to separate them from each other. But he said he made a decision on a personal matter, and that from now on the rest would belong to the CHP, he said.

    We will have a general assembly. Our party will make the necessary evaluations. He will keep fighting in every situation. It is the fight for the survival of democracy, secularism and the principles of modern Turkeys founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

    Ozyurek said the general assembly process would continue as scheduled. We all wanted him to take the responsibility [of leading the CHP]. But he announced that he would not participate [in the assembly.] He said the CHP must determine its own path, Ozyurek said.

    CHP deputy Mehmet Sevigen said, Baykal did what suited him; but if called to duty, there is a chance that Baykal will return.

    Former CHP Deputy Inal Batu said: He made the right choice. Even writers and commentators who support the CHP were saying he should resign.

    Touching on Baykals accusations, he said: But he calls it a conspiracy, and at the same time denies it. It's a hard situation to understand. He believes the government is behind the conspiracy, then he must have solid evidence.

    CHP deputy Kemal Kilicdaroglu announced that he will not be a candidate at the party's next general assembly.

    Meanwhile, CHP delegates launched a petition campaign to convince Baykal not to resign.

    Journalist Saygi Ozturk of Hurriyet said: We need Deniz Baykal. He could be a candidate again at the [CHPs] general assembly.

    Bengi Yildiz of the Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, said a party leader involved in such a situation bears responsibility.

    He has shown the respect needed. As in all democratic countries, he has fulfilled his responsibility. We hope that this situation will lead to important advances and a new start in Turkish political history, Yildiz said. A party that claims to be a social democrat needs to promise the public an important future --the public must have hope.

    State Minister Zafer Caglayan, meanwhile, said, This is Baykal's own decision, we must respect it.

    Subtitle: Prime minister speaks

    Later Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a statement to the press. It was not our intention to intervene in such a personal issue, but after the importance given in the press and the ugly and irresponsible remarks made by the opposition party, we felt obliged to intervene. The AKP will not take responsibility for issues that do not pertain to it. We took all the necessary precautions immediately and the opposition must try not to blame us for things it is responsible for, Erdogan said. I wish he [Baykal] could deny these occurrences, but in the impossibility to do so, he should not throw his fault onto others.

    [09] CHP searches for new leader following Baykal resignation

    Under the above title, Hurriyet Daily News (10.05.10) reported the following from Ankara:

    All eyes have turned to the upcoming Republican Peoples Party convention where a new party leader is expected to be elected following main opposition leader Deniz Baykals resignation Monday.

    The resignation has fuelled speculations in the capital as to whether the quit was a tactical move despite the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) leaders assurance that he would not be a candidate at the convention, which is scheduled for May 22 and 23.

    Baykal resigned in a Monday speech following three days of silence after a sex tape showing Baykal in a compromising position with a CHP female parliamentary deputy was uploaded to the Internet.

    The former leader first shared his resignation decision with senior party members in his party's Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting where all board members opposed the decision.

    The MYK asked Baykal to remain in his post, yet the latter rebuffed their requests, saying he would not attend the party convention in Ankara.

    Baykal said the CHP should draft a road map after his resignation.

    The CHPs Mustafa Ozyurek said they had wanted Baykal to run at the party convention but that the leader has refused.

    Subtitle: Will Baykal return?

    Baykal resigned from his post as the party leader when the CHP failed to reach the 10 percent election threshold in 1999 elections.

    CHP deputy Altan Oymen was elected as the new party leader, but his leadership lasted only 15 months when Baykal became a candidate for the party leadership at the next party convention in 2000 even though Oymen was preparing to compete for the same post. Baykal was re-elected leader in the election, garnering 543 votes.

    Baykals resignation Monday reminded many of the 2000 incidents, fuelling speculation that he may try to return again.

    During his resignation speech, Baykal said he would not surrender to the plot against him, thereby strengthening the possibility that he will return. Likewise, the provincial party chairpersons of all 81 provinces are likely to call on Baykal to return to his post ahead of the party convention in a petition.

    CHP Manisa deputy Sahin Mengu said Monday that he would support Baykals re-candidacy if Baykal wanted to run at the convention.

    Meanwhile, the members of the partys women and youth branches gathered at the party headquarters and his home and called for his return.

    Subtitle: Temporary candidate formula

    Others have speculated that Baykal may rest while the scandal blows over before running at a subsequent party convention, much as he did in 1999. As such, Baykal might work on a formula that appoints a temporary party leader until he returns.

    Subtitle: Possible candidates

    In addition to Baykal, CHP deputy Kemal Kilicdaroglu is being tipped as a potential new leader in a different mold from the rest. Also known as Ghandi Kemal, Kilicdaroglu's star shined brightly during his candidacy for Istanbul mayor, where he raised the CHP's votes by five points over the previous election.

    Reports said Kilicdaroglu's stance on the matter would become clearer in the next few days.

    Other names mentioned include Samsun Deputy Haluk Koc, who has previously ran against Baykal, as well as former Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP) leader Murat Karayalcin, who was the architect of the previous SHP and CHP unity.

    Textile businessman Umut Oran, who ran against Baykal at the convention two years ago, and academic Suheyl Batum are other possible candidates.

    [10] Davutoglu and Bagis hold contacts in Brussels

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.05.10) reports the following from Brussels:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Monday Turkey's foreign policy and diplomacy were in full harmony with European Union (EU) values.

    The 48th Turkey-EU Association Council meeting took place in Brussels with the participation of Davutoglu, Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis, EU Term President Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule.

    Speaking at a press conference following the Association Council meeting, Davutoglu said that he hoped the 50th Turkey-EU Association Council meeting would take place with Turkey as a full member of the union. I am pleased to say that Turkey's foreign policy and diplomacy are in full harmony with EU values. With its foreign policy, Turkey contributed to global and regional peace. Turkey's foreign policy is in harmony with that of the EU and our counterparts in the EU have affirmed such a character of Turkey's foreign policy, Davutoglu said. Turkey's economic performance at a time of global financial crisis has been appreciated by the EU. We have told our friends in the EU that Turkey's economic achievements would continue in the future. Turkey, in the upcoming term, will continue to be a real value both politically and economically for the EU, Davutoglu said.

    Egemen Bagis, in his part, said that Turkey's determination on the EU continued despite all difficulties and obstacles. The capital that celebrated Europe Day on Sunday with the greatest joy was Ankara. As a country that recently opened the chapter on environment, we began the day by riding our bikes. Turkey's EU process resembles riding a bike. As pedals get turned, you move on. We will continue to work with determination, Bagis said. Bagis said that Turkey wanted to open as many chapters as possible to negotiations during Spain's EU Term Presidency.

    [11] OICs COMCEC meeting kicks off in Antalya

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.05.10) reported the following from Antalya:

    The 26th meeting of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC) of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has begun in the southern province of Antalya.

    Making opening remarks of the meeting, Turkish State Minister Cevdet Yilmaz said: The share of OIC-member countries in the world's exports increased to 11.2 percent from 8.1 percent between 2003 and 2008. When we examine the exports among the OIC-member countries, oil and oil products accounted for 29 percent, industrial products accounted for 27 percent and agricultural products accounted for 17 percent. We need to further improve our economic and commercial relations to increase our competitive power.

    More than 100 delegates from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Senegal, Kuwait, Iran, Cameroon, Pakistan, Qatar, Indonesia and Sierra Leone are attending the three-day meeting.

    Established during the Third Islamic Summit Conference held in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in 1981, COMCEC became operational at the Fourth Islamic Summit in 1984 with the election of the president of Turkey as its chairman. The committee aims at developing economic and commercial cooperation among the member states. It has 57 member states and three observer members.

    In addition, Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.05.10) reported the following from Antalya:

    Turkey's President said on Monday that the rapid implementation of the Trade Preferential System among member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) would pave the way for the enhancement of intra-OIC trade. Turkish President Abdullah Gul sent a message to the 26th meeting of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC) of OIC held in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.In his message, Gul said: Giving effect to Trade Preferential System among the member states of the OIC as soon as possible will carry us much further towards the enhancement of intra-OIC trade. In this regard, implementation, at the earliest convenience, of the OIC Trade Preferential System is of paramount importance. Gul highlighted the OIC members' shared goals to enhance cooperation such as strengthening of COMCEC's institutional structure, exploration of sources of financing, development of viable projects, display of a stronger political will and unfailing pursuance and determination by the member countries.

    The Turkish president also said that he believed tourism, transportation and agriculture should be prioritized in COMCEC's future actions. Besides its economic contribution to our countries, I attach great importance to tourism in terms of further qualities which will bring closer our peoples who share history and a common set of cultural values, and even enrich our cultures through acknowledgement of our differences, Gul said.

    Describing transportation as one of the most crucial sectors for economic cooperation, Gul said: We need to develop the physical and legal infrastructure of our countries in the fields of transportation and logistics. We also need to popularize multilateral and bilateral agreements, remove and settle border problems and work on co-investments in order to integrate into the world.

    Reminding that 22 of the 49 least developed countries in the world were OIC members, Gul said such fact actually added to the importance of poverty-fighting programs.

    Highlighting OIC's increasing efficiency and presence as a prominent organization recently, Gul also said: We maintain our desire to host the OIC Summit in 2014. We expect the invaluable support of the OIC countries.

    [12] The Parliamentary Union of the OIC reaffirms commitment to the foundation of the Palestinian state

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.05.10) reported the following from Istanbul:

    The Parliamentary Union of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (PUOICM) reaffirmed on Monday commitment to foundation of the Palestinian state.

    The Executive Committee of the PUOICM held its second meeting in Istanbul, Turkey and ratified the Istanbul Declaration at the end of the meeting.

    In the declaration, the participants reaffirmed their full commitment to a fair, permanent and comprehensive peace in the Middle East with establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state in line with United Nations (UN) resolutions, the capital of which would be Jerusalem. The declaration said the Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip, West Bank and Jerusalem, were a whole.

    In the declaration, the participants once more called on Israel to end tension, withdraw its military forces from Palestinian cities and towns, cease all settlement activities, stop attacking on civilians and settlements, and lift blockade of Palestinian territories. The declaration condemned Israel's provocative acts against sacred places in Palestine. Also, the declaration called on the Palestinian groups to leave aside differences, and maintain national dialogue.

    [13] Tripartite meeting between Turkey, Syria and Qatar took part in Istanbul

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.05.10) reported the following from Istanbul:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday that Turkey, Syria and Qatar condemned the statements aiming to escalate tension in the region. Commenting on the tripartite summit between delegations of Turkey, Syria and Qatar, Davutoglu said: The three countries condemned the recent statements and efforts aiming to escalate tension in our region and once again felt the need to announce to the international community that efforts to ensure compromise should be encouraged.

    Davutoglu said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Qatari prime minister, foreign ministers and Iraqi President's Chief Advisor on Politics attended the summit.

    The participants exchanged views on some very fundamental regional matters. The three countries primarily reaffirmed their support to both restoration of a fair and permanent peace between Palestine and Israel based on related UN resolutions and establishment of an independent Palestinian state, he said. The participants considered the settlement policies of Israel which seriously hamper efforts for peace unacceptable and underlined that Israel should give up this policy. Similarly, the participants also reaffirmed their determination that activities impeding protection of historical and religious identity of East Jerusalem should be stopped, Davutoglu said.

    Separately, the leaders underlined that international community should not remain as spectator to ongoing tragedy in Gaza and that this tragedy should be ended soon, Davutoglu said and made a call to international community to step up efforts in this respect.

    Davutoglu said Syria-Israel peace negotiations were discussed during the talks, adding that, Syria once again reaffirmed its determination to resume indirect peace talks under the mediation of Turkey.

    Davutoglu said Syria and Qatar expressed their support to the efforts carried out by Turkey on the matter, adding, both two countries underlined their support to results of elections in Iraq and wished results of elections to bring peace and prosperity to friendly country Iraq. The two countries reaffirmed that everybody should respect to the results of elections".

    [14] Russian President Medvedev to hold contacts in Turkey

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (11.05.10) reports the following:

    Turkey and Russia will discuss plans to introduce a visa-free regime and ways to deepen cooperation in energy, economy, agriculture and security, in addition to political ties, during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Turkey, which begins today.

    Turkish-Russian ties have predominantly expanded on an economic basis, with gigantic energy deals and projects constituting the backbone of the growing cooperation. But Medvedev's visit is likely to be a cornerstone in introducing a political and strategic dimension to the growing ties, with the two countries formally creating a high-level cooperation council.

    We can confidently say that Russian-Turkish relations have advanced to the level of a multidimensional strategic partnership, Medvedev wrote in an article he penned for Today's Zaman ahead of his visit. He described the council as a new mechanism for intergovernmental cooperation and said:

    The purpose of this council is to develop a strategy on basic ways to develop Russian-Turkish relations, coordinate the implementation of critical projects and provide incentives for businessmen in both countries to cooperate with each other. Moreover, it aims to create synergy between foreign policies to ensure international peace, stability and safety.

    Medvedev also described Turkey as one of our most important partners with respect to regional and international issues. Officials from the two countries are expected to discuss the situation in the southern Caucasus, with a special focus on the Nagorno-Karabakh problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia, during Medvedevs two-day visit.

    Most of the discussions, however, will still be focused on energy, which Medvedev says comprises the main axis of Russian-Turkish cooperation. The planned South Stream and Blue Stream-2 natural gas pipelines, the construction of the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline and a nuclear power plant to be built by Russia on Turkish soil are the most critical items of the talks.

    The two countries will also discuss ways to boost the mutual trade volume. Russia is Turkeys single biggest trading partner and provides two-thirds of its gas. The two countries have bilateral trade ties totalling some $40 billion. Medvedev said they should aim to increase trade three to fivefold during the next five years, not only in raw materials but also through cooperation in hi-tech fields and mutual investment.

    The Russian president is expected to kick off his meetings in Turkey on Tuesday after visiting the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. In Ankara, Medvedev is scheduled to meet with President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Medvedevs wife, Svetlana Medvedeva, will also accompany the Russian president during the visit.

    According to Turkish diplomatic sources, during Medvedevs visit a deal initialled between the two countries envisaging the elimination of visa requirements may be signed without waiting for the domestic confirmation process. Nearly 3 million Russian tourists flock to Turkey every year and the visa-free regime would largely affect Russian tourists, for whom Turkey is highly attractive destination for tourism.

    Medvedev will be accompanied by a large number of businessmen and officials, and various agreements regarding energy, economy, agriculture and security are expected to be signed during the historic visit. The two countries are also expected to discuss regional and international issues and bilateral relations in particular.

    Meanwhile, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (11.05.10) reports the following:

    Trade volume between Turkey and Russia is expected to increase three to fivefold following Russian President Dmitry Medvedevs visit, which begins today.

    Medvedevs visit is expected to significantly increase bilateral trade between the two countries by 2015. Turkeys exports to Russia stood at $6.5 billion in 2008 while imports from Russia totalled $31.4 billion, bringing the bilateral trade volume to $38 billion. This fell to $22.9 billion in 2009 due to the global economic crisis. An overall increase in exports to Russia in the first five months of 2010 has boosted hopes regarding trade with this country.

    The Turkish-Russian Business Forum will be held tomorrow in Ankara. The forum, organized by the Foreign Trade Undersecretariat and the Turkish Exporters Assembly (T0M), will feature the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) and many Turkish and Russian businessmen.

    Meetings between businessmen of the two countries aim to increase the current trade volume from $23 billion to $60 billion. Turkish businessmen believe solid steps taken at the forum will gradually boost the trade volume. Also, a High Level Cooperation Council to be chaired by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Medvedev will encourage cooperation between Turkish and Russian businessmen.

    While noting that the visit will have both strategic and commercial effects, T0M Chairman Mehmet Buyukeksi said Turkey has a high trade deficit with Russia and that an expected agreement on visa-free travel will have an impact on trade as well. He also added that Turkish businessmen will be able to increase the recognition of their trademarks in Russia.

    Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters Union (0TH0B) Chairman Hikmet Tanriverdi said they hope problems that occur at customs will be eliminated, adding that the abolishment of visa requirements between the two countries will affect trade positively.

    Vahap Kucuk, the CEO of LC Waikiki, one of Turkeys leading textile manufacturers, recalled that the elimination of visa requirements with Syria has had a positive effect on trade between the two countries and that a similar move will have a long-term impact on Turkey and Russia, too.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [15] From the Turkish Press of 10 May 2010

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish Press on 10 May 2010:

    a) Baykal's reason for resignation:

    In her article in Milliyet, Asli Aydintasbas writes that Republican People's Party (CHP) leader, Deniz Baykal, has ended his two-day silence about the compromising videotape allegedly showing him with CHP deputy Baytok, saying that the video attack is "the doing of the state." According to CHP whips, the video is not the result of a settling of scores prior to the CHP Congress, nor is it the doings of an international force as claimed earlier, but is aimed at rendering the CHP ineffective in the constitutional amendment process, declares Aydintasbas. The impression I got from circles close to the party leader is that Baykal will not be resigning but will be placing his candidacy for party leadership in the upcoming CHP Congress and will be leading the "no campaign" against the referendum on the constitutional amendments, notes the writer. Focusing on criticisms levelled at Baykal for making Baytok a parliamentary deputy, Aydintasbas goes on to detail her education, career, and achievements saying that she deserved to become a deputy.

    Irrespective of whether the Baykal-Baytok videotape is authentic, it is clearly a blatant breach of privacy and can in no way be excused with the assumption that those engaged in public life can no longer have walls of secrecy, writes Yusuf Kanli in Hurriyet Daily News. Expressing appreciation for Prime Minister Erdogan's reaction to the videotape crisis, Kanli notes that such developments aim to divert public attention away from discussions on the upcoming referendum on the constitutional amendment package.

    Questioning who could benefit from Baykal's political liquidation in an article in Sabah, Engin Ardic rules out the possibility of the AKP, explaining that the CHP does not pose a threat to the ruling party. Ridiculing assessments coming from the CHP circles blaming "international forces" for the video assault, Ardic argues that this veiled reference to the United States is ludicrous. The columnist dismisses conjectures that the United States, concerned about the government's policies on Israel and Iran, wants to replace Baykal with another candidate who has better chances of winning in the upcoming elections, mocking the various candidates who might replace Baykal whom he believes are incapable of leading the masses.

    In an article entitled "What my friend told me to write", Yeni Safak columnist Taha Kivanc, quotes a "friend with whom I used to exchange political suspense novels and detective movies" as having told him that the recently disclosed video allegedly showing Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal in an intimate position with Nesrin Baytok, who used to be Baykal's private secretary before she became a CHP deputy, was posted on the Internet by quarters that have for some time been trying to blackmail the CHP leader into going out of his way to block the latest constitutional amendment package.

    In an article entitled "The only way Baykal could get away with it", Yeni Safak columnist Salih Tuna blasts the "cursed cooperation" between those who leaked the compromising video of Deniz Baykal and columnists like Ruhat Mengi, Ahmet Hakan, Fatih Altayli, and Mustafa Mutlu who are calling on the CHP leader to resign based on the said video. He asserts that the same mainstream news media that are using the "illegitimately obtained" information contained in the video against the CHP leader held Islamic circles responsible for the assassination of journalists Cetin Emec in 1990 and Ugur Mumcu in 1993 and conducted a smear campaign against pious circles during the 28 February process on the basis of alleged sex scandals involving so-called sheikhs.

    In an article entitled "An extramarital affair", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak responds to the accusations against Vakit over the posting of Baykal's compromising video on www.habervaktim.com by asking whether the mainstream news media would not publish a similar compromising video of Prime Minister Erdogan if they came by one and asserting that "if you wiretap Baykal's conversations, you are accused of violating a person's privacy while you are deemed to be carrying out a national duty if you wiretap Fethullah Gulen's conversations." He also calls on Baykal to disclose what he knows about the possible motives of those who released this video in "getting across the message that they have other videos."

    b) Future of EU and Turkey's EU bid:

    Viewing the future of the EU in an article in Milliyet, Semih Idiz argues that the EU member countries have failed to formulate a joint foreign and defence policy as witnessed in the Yugoslav crisis and the recent Iraq war. Noting that EU has always yielded to Washington's initiative on these issues, Idiz believes that the fundamental reason for this failure is that the member countries have still not freed themselves from the concept of "national interests" in favour of the concept of "unity." Viewing the issue from Turkey's standpoint, Idiz writes that as a result of the EU perspective, Turkey is raising its standards, adding: "However, if Turkey can achieve these goals on its own, then it is not difficult to predict that the importance of the concept of 'EU membership' will diminish." Referring to recent assessments that the crisis in Greece will render Turkey's EU bid more difficult since Europe will, from now on, be concentrating on measures against such crises instead of on growth, Idiz concedes that this assessment is, to a certain extent, true, adding that, however, this process will be in Turkey's interests in the long run because after this serious crisis the EU will shift from the concept of "political unity" to that of a "functioning economic unity."

    In an article entitled "Is EU accession compatible with regional integration?", Today's Zaman columnist Sahin Alpay comments on Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's responses at a recent meeting in Oxford to such questions as "whether Turkey's efforts towards increasing economic interdependence with neighbouring countries did not conflict with negotiations toward EU accession" and "how Turkey could aspire to contribute to regional and even global peace and stability when it has not yet been able to achieve full peace and stability at home."

    c) Medvedev's visit to Turkey:

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News, Cem Oguz views the progress made in Turkish-Russian relations from being arch-military adversaries to that of becoming strategic partners. Noting that both capitals have finally acknowledged that bilateral cooperation in the vast Eurasian area is a basic prerequisite for regional stability, Oguz describes the Karabakh conflict as the main problem in the Caucasus, adding that one of the basic issues to be discussed during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's official visit to Turkey will therefore be the Karabakh problem, the acid test in bilateral relations.

    d) Economy:

    Viewing the negative effects of the Greek crisis on the Turkish economy in an article in Hurriyet, Erdal Saglam declares that Turkey has been one of the countries that has been most affected by this crisis. Recalling the five percent drop in the Istanbul Stock Exchange, Saglam draws attention to the rising interest rates and the devaluation of the Turkish Lira against both the Euro and the Dollar. Assessing a halt in Turkish exports to European markets to be one of the most dangerous consequences of the current crisis, Saglam notes that a decrease in foreign demand will affect domestic demand and consequently production, thus disrupting the already sensitive balances.

    In civilized democracies the government has a responsibility toward the people, which means that it is responsible for solving their problems, asserts Erol Cevikce in an article in Vatan. Declaring that the primary problem of the people is livelihood and employment, Cevikce notes that the unofficial unemployment rate has reached 25 percent. Noting that the Erdogan government is exerting efforts to pull the CHP into an artificial agenda of tension in a bid to divert the attention of the people away from their real concerns, Cevikce calls on the CHP not to be dragged into the AKP's tactic of tension and to focus on the first and only item on the people's agenda, that of employment, until the elections.

    Arguing that the European rescue plan was delayed and that therefore it will be hard to reap the benefits of it, Radikal columnist Ugur Gurses in his article tries to assess how Turkey will be affected from the second phase of the economic crisis. Predicting a credit squeeze in the eurozone and a subsequent economic stagnation and shrinkage, Gurses believes that Turkey will be more affected by these developments than it was from the October 2008 crisis. Noting that a significant part of Turkey's exports are made to the eurozone and are linked to the Euro, Gurses suspects that there will be breakdowns in the foreign trade channel of the banking transactions and a shrinkage in foreign financing.

    EG/


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