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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-05-14

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. 89/10 14.05.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] UBP and DP could not agree on cooperating in the municipal elections; ORP is ready to cooperate with the UBP for a coalition government; Eroglus daughter is MP candidate in occupied Famagusta
  • [02] Ozgurgun states that they will make no concessions as regards the Direct Trade Regulation
  • [03] Turkish Cypriot NGO campaigns for direct trade with EU
  • [04] German MP holds contacts in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [05] Applications to the Immovable Property Commission reached 520
  • [06] The self-styled minister of tourism announces that two airline companies are to launch charter flights to occupied Cyprus and foresees a 30% increase in the number of tourists in 2010
  • [07] Davutoglu and Clinton hold a telephone conversation; Cyprus was discussed
  • [08] Turkish and Slovakian Foreign Ministers meet in Ankara; Cyprus among their issues of discussion
  • [09] Davutoglu evaluates the agreement signed with Russia and Erdogans trip to Athens
  • [10] Referendum regarding the constitutional amendments in Turkey to take place on September 12
  • [11] Turkish defence company to manufacture defence systems components for the Jordanian military
  • [12] Turkish PM issues a decree on non-muslim minorities in Turkey
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] From the Turkish Press of 13 May 2010

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] UBP and DP could not agree on cooperating in the municipal elections; ORP is ready to cooperate with the UBP for a coalition government; Eroglus daughter is MP candidate in occupied Famagusta

    Under the title It is the turn of the ORP, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (14.05.10) reports that the National Unity Party (UBP) and the Democratic Party (DP) could not agree on the issue of how to share the municipalities in the occupied areas of Cyprus and thus the establishment of a coalition government between the two parties entered into a crisis.

    The paper writes that the UBP did not accept some of the conditions put by the DP for establishing a coalition government. UBPs general administrative council rejected last night the proposal of the DP for the two parties to appoint a single candidate in eight areas, including the municipalities of occupied Famagusta and Kythrea. Thus the expectations for coalition government between the two parties have suddenly entered into crisis, writes the paper adding that the UBP administration, which considered the demands of the DP to be excessive, has launched new efforts for establishing a coalition government. The leader of the UBP, Irsen Kucuk is expected to meet with the chairman of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), Turgay Avci today in parallel to his meeting with Serdar Denktas, president of the DP.

    Late last night, Mr Avci stated to Kibris that one official from the UBP contacted him and today his party is expecting a visit by Irsen Kucuk. Avci said that they are ready for a collation government with the UBP.

    The paper writes that the DP has launched a counter attack and that it decided to appoint its chairman Serdar Denktas as its candidate in occupied Lefkosia municipality and its general secretary Ejder Aslanbaba in Trikomo municipality. The paper reports that the DP is considering of supporting Oktay Kayalp, candidate of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) in occupied Famagusta municipality, if the two parties agree on cooperating on the issue of the vacant seat in the parliament after Dervis Eroglus election to the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community. Elections for this seat will also be held on 27 June. Furthermore, the DP will support Ahmet Benli, CTPs candidate in occupied Geunyeli municipality.

    Meanwhile, referring to the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (14.05.10) reports that in statements after a meeting of his party last night, Serdar Denktas said that it is still early to say that the negotiations for a coalition government have entered into an impasse and added that the decision of his party to support a minority government is not valid any more. Mr Denktas noted that they have determined eight candidates of their party for the municipal elections and they will determine another twenty.

    The paper writes also that Irsen Kucuk, chairman of the UBP, stated that they offered two ministries to the DP, which insists on taking three ministries. Mr Kucuk said that they are ready to discuss the establishment of a coalition government with the DP, the ORP and the Social Democracy Party (TDP). He confirmed that the cooperation in the municipal elections entered into an impasse and added that they do not wish for this impasse to be reflected on the efforts for establishing a coalition government.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (14.05.10) reports that the UBP decided for Irsen Kucuk to meet with the ORP today and establish a coalition government with this party. According to information acquired by reliable sources, the UBP will give to the ORP only one ministry. The paper writes that ORPs Mustafa Gokmen will be given the ministry of economy and tourism, while Turgay Avci will not participate in the cabinet.

    The paper writes also that the sources said the advices of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan played a decisive role in the decision of the UBP and therefore the partys negations with the DP turned to the opposite direction. The coalition protocol between the UBP and the ORP is expected to be signed today, writes the paper.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (14.05.10) reports that Resmiye (Eroglu) Canaltay, Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglus daughter, will be the candidate of the UBP in the by-elections to be held in occupied Famagusta for the vacant seat of Mr Eroglu in the assembly. The decision of the party was announced last night by its chairman, Irsen Kucuk.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Ozgurgun states that they will make no concessions as regards the Direct Trade Regulation

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.05.10) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun said on Thursday that approval of the direct trade regulation was a necessity of EU's earlier pledges and added that Turkish Cypriots would not make any concessions for such an approval.In a statement, Ozgurgun said that the Greek Cypriot side was lobbying at the European Parliament to block a to-be-voted proposal on the regulation, which would make direct trade possible with Turkish Cypriots. Greek Cypriots are trying to make it impossible by binding it to conditions, Ozgurgun said. Greek Cypriots are trying to bind approval of direct trade regulation to conditions, putting Maras [closed area of Varosha] which is an indispensable part of a comprehensive settlement plan, on the agenda, he said. So, they aim to kill the regulation.

    Pointing out Greek Cypriot officials' remarks that Greek Cypriot administration would not allow opening of new chapters in entry talks between Turkey and the EU if the proposal is approved, Ozgurgun said Greek Cypriot side has been exploiting the advantage of being an EU member which he said was a blow to EU-Turkey relations. This unfair situation is trying our patience, he said.

    [03] Turkish Cypriot NGO campaigns for direct trade with EU

    Under the above title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (13.05.10) reported the following from Ankara:

    The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, or KTTO, which has intensified lobbying efforts regarding direct trade with the EU, is riding on hopes that the European Parliaments involvement in the decision-making process will help draw focus to the substance instead of the political matters of the Cyprus dispute.

    Deadlocks and embargoes have punctuated decades of Cypriot history, but the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, or KTTO, has a chance to be the key to break down the blockade on northern Cyprus trade with the European Union.

    The Turkish Cypriot NGO is lobbying Brussels to implement promising regulation that would allow northern Cyprus to trade directly with EU members. The European Parliaments say regarding trade issues was strengthened after the Lisbon Treaty went into effect in December 2009.

    No member of the international community recognizes northern Cyprus except Turkey, but because the KTTO was founded in 1958, before the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, it has been designated by the EU Commission as the body responsible for certifying that goods originate from northern Cyprus. If the regulation passes, goods from northern Cyprus would be eligible for free circulation within the community customs territory.

    The Lisbon Treaty introduces qualified votes, instead of unanimous decisions on certain issues, including trade. Before Lisbon, the direct trade proposal had been stuck at the EU Council due to the Greek Cypriot blockade.

    The KTTO, which has intensified efforts and has drafted a position document regarding the direct trade regulation, is riding on the hopes that the European Parliaments involvement in decision-making procedures will help draw focus to the substance instead of its political matters caused by the Cyprus dispute.

    The adoption of the direct trade proposal will not end the sanctions imposed on northern Cyprus but rather will promote trade between northern Cyprus and EU member states, which will increase the competitiveness of Turkish Cypriot products and thus help bridge the economic gap with Greek Cyprus, Kemal Baykalli, international relations and communication director of the KTTO, told the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review on Thursday.

    There have been concerns that the provision for direct trade could result in the political upgrade of northern Cyprus, thus discouraging Turkish Cypriots from seeking a political settlement.

    Baykalli said the claims were unfounded, adding that direct trade regulations would actually contribute to the reunification of Cyprus.

    The easing of the economic isolation on Turkish Cypriots through direct trade does not aim to and will not automatically bring any further political recognition to northern Cyprus, he said.

    It is a fact that the wider the economic gap between the two sides and the longer it lasts, the higher the burden of a solution will be, and this will serve to de-motivate the Greek Cypriots instead, he said. A more developed Turkish Cypriot economy will convince the Turkish Cypriots about the benefits of a solution, and will give the Greek Cypriots an incentive to reach a solution.

    The KTTO is now in constant contact with European parliamentarians and has based its campaign on the slogans, Trade is what brought the EU together; Trade is what will bring Turkish Cypriots and the EU together; Trade is what will bring Cyprus together. Cyprus needs the Direct Trade Regulation NOW!

    Subtitle: Which parliament committee?

    With the shift of the direct trade regulation to the European Parliament's agenda, the current dispute with Greek Cypriots centres on which parliamentary committee should deal with the proposal, Mualla Cirakli, the Brussels representative of the KTTO, told the Daily News.

    We suggest the direct trade should be taken up by the European Parliament's international trade committee, while the Greek Cypriots argue it should be discussed at either the legal affairs committee or the internal market committee. The Greek Cypriots are attempting to draw the issue onto the political platform, she said.

    If direct trade is considered by the European Parliament as a matter of legal affairs or the internal market, Greek Cypriots will have the right to veto the regulation based on their agreement with the EU, which considers the north as an area not under the control of Republic of Cyprus.

    The issue is now at the European Parliament's conference of presidents, which will decide which parliamentary committee should take up the regulation.

    There is a long process ahead. The committee will be defined and that committee will appoint a special rapporteur. We have restricted means and what we are trying to do is lobby at the European Parliament and update the parliamentarians on the direct trade issue, said Cirakli.

    Subtitle: About direct trade

    Turkish Cypriots, who overwhelmingly voted in favour of a United Nations-backed peace plan, the Annan Plan, in a 2004 referendum, were left out in the cold when the majority of Greek Cypriots voted the reunification proposal down. Despite their rejection, Greek Cypriots joined the EU one week after the vote. The EU now considers Cyprus as an EU territory but whose legislation is not valid in the north due to the division of the island.

    In an effort to end Turkish Cypriot isolation, however, the EU offered two proposals. First, it adopted the Green Line legislation aimed at facilitating trade between the northern and southern parts of Cyprus.

    Later, the EU Commission drafted a second, more comprehensive package comprised of financial assistance for Turkish Cypriots and direct preferential access for Turkish Cypriot goods to EU territory. Because of the Greek Cypriot blockade, however, the package had to be decoupled. A 259 million-euro financial aid regulation was adopted in 2006, yet no progress has been made on the direct trade promise.

    Having remained untouched since 2004 due to the Greek Cypriot veto in the EU Council despite the efforts of many term presidencies, northern Cyprus has high hopes that it may finally secure the right to direct trade thanks to the Lisbon Treaty.

    [04] German MP holds contacts in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak television (13.05.10) broadcast the following:

    The Speaker of the Republics Assembly Hasan Bozer has reiterated his call on the European Union to help lift the international isolations on the Cyprus Turkish people.

    Mr Bozer was speaking during a visit paid to him by the TRNC Honorary Representative in Munich, Professor Peter Paul Gantzer, who is a member of the Bavarian Parliament. The German parliamentarian was also received by President Dervis Eroglu.

    During the meeting, Parliamentary Speaker Bozer pointed to the importance of relations between Germany and the TRNC and the support the country has been providing to the Cyprus Turkish People on the Cyprus issue. But, Mr Bozer complained that the inhumane isolation imposed on the TRNC is still continuing.

    He reminded that Germany had played an active role in the process ahead of the 2004 Referendum on the UN-prepared Annan Plan, which was overwhelmingly supported by the Cyprus Turkish People, but complained that the Direct Trade Regulation, which was prepared by the European Commission to help ease the isolation, has not been implemented yet.

    On his part, Gantzer said that he is disappointed with the continuation of the isolation, adding that his country will do its best to help the Cyprus Turkish people.

    Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.05.10) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    A member of the European Parliament (EP) Peter Paul Gantzer said Thursday, in regard to isolations imposed on the Turkish Cypriots, all humans in the world were equal but that the situation in Cyprus did not represent equality of humans.

    President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Dervis Eroglu received Peter Paul Gantzer, an EP member from the German state of Bavaria, in Lefkosia on Thursday.

    I am pleased to welcome Gantzer to the TRNC, Eroglu said. Gantzer paid a visit to the Greek Cypriot administration two and a half years ago. Gantzer came to the TRNC after thinking that the propaganda made in southern Cyprus on the TRNC was not accurate, Eroglu said.

    Gantzer noticed that the TRNC was a democratic country and that the elections here took place in a democratic atmosphere. Gantzer congratulated me for having been elected as the TRNC President, Eroglu said.

    Gantzer, on his part, said that he went to the Greek Cypriot administration two and a half years ago. There were things that were said by Greek Cypriots that I found difficult to believe and, as such, I decided to visit the TRNC, Gantzer said. I wanted to hear what the two sides had to say. I was shocked to see that there were no direct flights to the TRNC and that the country was left under isolations, Gantzer said. The situation in Cyprus is against human rights. All humans in the world are equal but this is not the case in Cyprus, Gantzer said. When I return back to Germany, I will tell the people there that most things said on Cyprus did not represent the truth, Gantzer also said.

    [05] Applications to the Immovable Property Commission reached 520

    Illegal Bayrak television (13.05.10) broadcast the following:

    Greek Cypriot applications to the Immoveable Property Commission of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus continue to increase. The number of Greek Cypriots applying the Commission, which provides local remedy to Greek Cypriot property claims in the TRNC, has reached 520.

    The Immovable Property Commission, which acts as a court with its local and foreign experts, has concluded 108 of the cases brought before it. One hundred and four (104) files were resolved through mutual agreement and 4 through court hearing. Most of the cases were resolved through compensation and Greek Cypriots received a total of 43-million British Pounds in compensation. Eight (8) of those were solved via restitution and 2 via exchange.

    Headed by Sumer Erkmen, the Commission consists of Gungor Gunkan, Ayfer Erkmen, Hans C. Kruger, Romans Mapolar and Daniel Tarschys.

    [06] The self-styled minister of tourism announces that two airline companies are to launch charter flights to occupied Cyprus and foresees a 30% increase in the number of tourists in 2010

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (14.05.10) reports on statements made by the self-styled minister of tourism, environment and culture, Hamza Ersan Saner, according to which the number of foreign tourists visited the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus during the first four months of 2010 increased by 13%.

    Announcing that two airline companies will launch charter flights to occupied Cyprus as of this month, Mr Saner added that this is expected to lead to an increase of 30% in the number of foreign tourists visiting occupied Cyprus in 2010. Noting that tourists are not only visiting occupied Cyprus for its casinos, Mr Saner admitted that casino entertainment is an alternative kind of tourism which the illegal regime offers.

    According to Mr Saner, the number of foreign tourists who visited occupied Cyprus in 2009 increased by 11% in comparison with 2008.

    (ML)

    [07] Davutoglu and Clinton hold a telephone conversation; Cyprus was discussed

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.05.10) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Foreign Minister and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a phone conversation during which they discussed Iran's nuclear program, diplomats said on Thursday.

    Davutoglu informed Clinton about the recent situation regarding Turkey's efforts for mediation between Iran and the international community. The two top diplomats discussed future steps and diplomatic efforts exerted by Turkey, diplomats said. Davutoglu gave information to Clinton about his talks with Iranian officials on uranium swap.

    Davutoglu and Clinton agreed to continue to hold discussions over Turkey's efforts on Iran's nuclear program, diplomats said, adding that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's recent visit to Turkey, the developments after the elections in Iraq, Azerbaijan, the situation in the Caucasus, Cyprus and energy were other topics during their phone talk.

    [08] Turkish and Slovakian Foreign Ministers meet in Ankara; Cyprus among their issues of discussion

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.05.10) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Turkey had been trying to find a diplomatic solution to the problem about Iran's nuclear program.Davutoglu said at a joint news conference with his Slovakian counterpart Miroslav Lajcak, who is currently in Ankara on a state visit, that he talked to Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki on the phone yesterday and there had been continuous contacts with Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim. In line with developments in the coming days, we can pay some visits and hold some meetings. We will also meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he said.

    Referring to Turkey-Slovakia relations, Davutoglu said: There are perfect relations between the two countries. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to travel to Slovakia in the coming months. Slovakia is one of the countries extending full support to Turkey's policy about the Balkans. Recent developments in the Balkans were high on agenda of our meeting, and we exchanged views on Bosnia-Herzegovina's integration efforts with NATO, the European Union and the international community. He said that Turkey's EU negotiation process and the Cyprus issue also topped their agenda.

    Slovakian Foreign Minister Lajcak, on his part, said that Turkey was a significant global actor, and that there was not any issue that could be resolved without Turkey's contribution. He reiterated his country's full support to Turkey's membership to the European Union. Membership criteria should be exactly the same for each country, and there should not be any extra conditions, he said. Lajcak also extended Slovakia's support to visa exemption for Turkish citizens.

    Asked about the Upper Karabakh dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Davutoglu said that they expected the international community and the Minsk group to pursue a more active policy.

    As a result of initiatives by Russia and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and President Serzh Sargsian of Armenia held a series of talks in the last one year. Accordingly, the process has gained impetus. The Upper Karabakh dispute was high on agenda of President Medvedev's talks with President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his visit to Ankara. Caucasus is our region and settlement of peace and stability will contribute to prosperity of whole region, he said.

    [09] Davutoglu evaluates the agreement signed with Russia and Erdogans trip to Athens

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.05.10) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday the visa exemption agreement between Turkey and Russia that was signed on Wednesday was a revolutionary step. Speaking on Haberturk TV channel, Davutoglu said that Russian tourists may come to Turkey without visa this summer. Turkish businesspeople, intellectuals and tourists will be able to travel to Russia without a need for visa, Davutoglu said.

    Four high level visits took place between Turkey and Russia in a year. Our relations were not competition but rather cooperation and economic integration, Davutoglu said. In the past five years, the nature of Turkey-Russia relations went through a change. This change would make serious contributions to stability from the Balkans to China, Davutoglu said. The model of High Level Strategic Cooperation Council was one developed by Turkey. In the event economic union is established with countries in such councils, the Turkish economy would benefit from such an entity, Davutoglu said.

    Touching on energy agreements made with Russia, Davutoglu said that such agreements defeated the thesis that Turkey and Russia were in competition with each other in the field of energy. We are establishing a model with Russia that shows how we are progressing into cooperation and (economic) integration rather than competition, Davutoglu said.

    In regard to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Greece on Friday, Davutoglu said that the Turkish government was working to create an atmosphere of psychological change. We are trying to change the perception that the two countries are in competition with each other, Davutoglu said. Our goal in bilateral relations with Greece is not merely to minimize tensions. We have to maximize the number of areas in which cooperation may take place so that no notion of tension remains in minds, Davutoglu said. We do want to reach economic integration with Greece. We plan to develop relations in areas ranging from economy to tourism, Davutoglu said.

    In reference to Turkey's relations with Armenia, Davutoglu stressed that no one would benefit if the protocols signed between Turkey and Armenia get suspended. Turning back from the protocols is neither to the interest of Turkey nor Armenia, Davutoglu said. Just as in the Balkans, Turkey will help realize psychological revolution in the Caucasus. We will turn the Caucasus into a region of peace and security, Davutoglu also said.

    [10] Referendum regarding the constitutional amendments in Turkey to take place on September 12

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (14.05.10) reports the following:

    A public referendum on the government's constitutional amendment package, which passed in Parliament last week, will be held on September 12, the Supreme Election Board (YSK) announced yesterday.

    The package, which was accepted on May 7, was published in the Official Gazette yesterday, effectively kicking off the referendum process. The public vote was expected to be held 60 days after the publication of the package in the Official Gazette, but the YSK announced yesterday that it will be held on September 12.

    The YSK gathered immediately following the publication of yesterday's Official Gazette to deliberate on when to hold the referendum. The YSK decision comes as a surprise because it shows the board opted to go by the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) interpretation. Although the government was expecting a referendum date in late July, the CHP said the waiting period to hold a referendum after a constitutional change proposal is published in the Official Gazette is not 60, but 120 days. Indeed, this period was recently changed to 60 days. Based on a provision of the election law, the CHP argued that the new period can only be applied next year. Although most legal experts and jurists had dismissed this argument, yesterday's announcement showed that the YSK went by the CHP thesis. However, the CHP is not as concerned about delaying the date of the referendum as it is with cancelling it completely.

    The YSK's decision comes as a shock to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). In a recent statement, AK Party parliamentary group deputy chairman Mustafa Elitas had said: If the YSK makes a legal decision, then it will go for a 60-day waiting period prior to the referendum. If it makes a political decision, it will say 120 days.

    AK Party Deputy Chairman Omer Celik and State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek also firmly stated that they believe the YSK setting the referendum date later than July was out of the question.

    However, September 12 might actually be a good time, as the date is symbolically loaded for Turkish voters. The most devastating coup d'état in Turkey was staged on September 12, 1980. The date itself might act as a psychological incentive for voters to vote against the status quo.

    Subtitle: CHP goes to court today

    President Abdullah Gul on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for a public referendum on the amendment package. The CHP, which has repeatedly said it will take the package to court, is planning to go to the Constitutional Court today. The high court's ruling on the package is of crucial importance. If the court rules in line with an earlier decision it made on October 21, 2007, ahead of another public vote, saying it cannot hear an appeal against the package as the legal process for its enactment had not yet been complete, a public vote on the package will be held as scheduled. However, if the court cancels one or more articles in the package, Turkey will be facing yet another legal crisis.

    The CHP announced yesterday that it will be applying to the court today. Its intention was to complete the application today with the 110 deputy signatures it already has ready as that is the minimum required for applications to the high court, but it had to delay its move due to the unexpected death of former CHP deputy Oya Arasli's mother. Her funeral was held yesterday.

    If the Constitutional Court annuls one or more of the articles of the package, this situation could trigger early elections. The AK Party has repeatedly said the next general election will be held on time, but it also knows that earlier polls might be inevitable if the package does not go to a referendum intact.

    The CHP, which has applied 43 times to the Constitutional Court against parliamentary reforms, has 97 seats. It was able to gather 110 deputy signatures with the support of six Democratic Left Party (DSP) deputies and seven independents as well as Democrat Party (DP) member and former Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz.

    Subtitle: CHP demands annulments

    The CHP not only argues that the constitutional package includes unconstitutional reforms, but also that it was passed through procedural violations. It wants the Constitutional Court to review the proposal process. When the AK Party first applied, it mistakenly turned in the signature of Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin, who cannot support any proposals as parliament speaker, along with its own deputies. Later, when this was noticed, deputies withdrew their signatures and then applied with the proposal once again, this time without Sahin's signature. The CHP argues that this cannot be done and is a procedural violation. In fact, the Constitutional Court is authorized only to make procedural assessments. However, past experience shows that it has no fear of exceeding its authority, as it did so on June 5, 2008, when it cancelled amendments to Article 10 and Article 42 of the Constitution that lifted the ban on headscarves at universities. The court determined that the amendments, which had been passed in Parliament with the support of 411 deputies, indirectly violated the first three articles of the Constitution --which are unchangeable and to which amendments cannot be proposed-- and were therefore cancelled.

    The CHP's legal advisers argue that the changes the package makes to the structures of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) and the Constitutional Court are in violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers. With this claim, the CHP alleges that the AK Party is attempting to change one of Turkey's constitutional articles that cannot be amended. So, in addition to a review of the package on procedural grounds, the CHP also demands a review of the content of the package.

    The CHP also demands a stay of execution on the referendum process, bringing the total of CHP demands to three.

    What the court will do is of paramount importance. However, a similar case in the past might indicate the potential course of action it will take. In 2007, the Constitutional Court rejected an appeal from former President Ahmet Necdet Sezer to annul a constitutional change that would allow the people to elect the president as opposed to Parliament. That change was on its way to a public referendum at the time. The court said the legislative process was ongoing and rejected Sezer's appeal. If it makes a different ruling this time, a new political crisis is likely to emerge. Even if the court finds some of the changes as being against the Constitution, this might spur the AK Party to call early elections.

    [11] Turkish defence company to manufacture defence systems components for the Jordanian military

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (14.05.10) reports the following:

    Turkeys leading defence company, Aselsan, as part of a joint venture in Jordan is to start manufacturing defence systems components for the Jordanian military.

    Aselsan has recently reached an agreement with the Jordan-based King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) to set up a joint venture in Jordan. Within the scope of the agreement, signed by Aselsans deputy chairperson, Necmettin Baykul, and KADDBs chairperson, Moayyad Samman, the newly established electro-optics company will manufacture night vision and thermal imaging systems to meet the military needs of Jordan. The devices could also be sold to other countries in the region.

    The agreement between the two companies specifies the design, development, manufacture, marketing and provision of the systems as well as maintenance, testing and certification of the products, officials said. Aselsan is a Turkish electronics company that designs, develops and manufactures modern electronics systems for military and industrial customers in Turkey and abroad.

    [12] Turkish PM issues a decree on non-muslim minorities in Turkey

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (14.05.10) reports the following:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued a memorandum warning against discrimination against minorities in Turkey.

    The prime ministers memo on minority Turkish citizens was published in the Official Gazette on Thursday. Turkish minorities must not be discriminated against during the course of state operations and transactions, and just treatment is of great importance to their feeling fully part of the Turkish nation and state, Erdogan noted.

    Within the framework of the principle of equality set forth in the Constitution, Turkish citizens who are non-Muslim minorities are, as all the citizens of the Republic of Turkey, inseparable pieces of the national culture and identity and also possessed of the opportunity to live and perpetuate their own identities and cultures, he said. The prime minister underscored that there should be no incidences of discrimination while the state provides services for such citizens, as non-Muslims have full rights under Turkish law, adding that equality during interactions with the state encourages a feeling of belonging to the Turkish state as a full citizen.

    The prime minister noted in the memo that as part of efforts to democratize Turkey in recent years, despite the passing of regulations to ensure fair treatment of non-Muslim Turks, discrimination and prejudice have not been fully eradicated. He noted that care needed to be taken especially on matters concerning the protection and maintenance of cemeteries for non-Muslims and that the proper procedures needed to be taken with regard to the assets of non-Muslim foundations. Touching upon the treatment of the spiritual leaders of non-Muslim Turkish communities with regard to issues of protocol that ensure the proper etiquette when it comes to interacting with leaders in appreciation of their status, Erdogan emphasized that the law must be followed when it comes to such matters.

    I request that within the context of [all this], the relevant establishments and institutions take the care necessary to show sensitivity to this topic to ensure that all such problems that could arise are avoided entirely, he said.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] From the Turkish Press of 13 May 2010

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish Press on 13 May 2010:

    a) Erdogan's visit to Greece:

    Viewing Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to Greece expected to begin on 14 May in an article in Sabah, Stelyo Berberakis writes that Erdogan will be the first Turkish prime minister to visit Athens twice within six years. Noting that ten ministers will be accompanying Erdogan in this visit, Berberakis says that for the first time a High Level Cooperation Council meeting will be held during the visit. This will be the first time in the history of the two countries that a council that will function like a joint ministers council will be established, writes Berberakis, adding that this council will be signing the agreements to be concluded during the visit.

    b) Turkish-Russian Relations:

    Assessing the numerous agreements signed between Turkey and Russia in an article in Hurriyet Daily News, Yusuf Kanli writes that consolidating relations with Russia might paradoxically help Turkey come closer to Europe, or help Turkey become an indispensable country for the European economies. Drawing attention to the fact that the agreements signed with Russia include no reference to Turkey paying its energy imports from Russia with exports to that country, Kanli fears an enormous trade deficit for Turkey. Viewing Turkey's increased energy dependence on Russia, Kanli questions whether it will not be wiser for Turkey to grant the contract of its first nuclear power station to a country other than Russia and diversify its energy sources.

    Viewing Russian President Medvedev's visit to Turkey and the US and Russian completion over Turkey in an article in Sabah, Meliha Okur argues that only the EU has failed to assess Turkey's rising importance.

    Describing Medvedev's visit as a turning point in Turkish foreign policy, in an article in Radikal, Hasan Celal Guzel says that we are no longer faced with Turkey's traditional enemy but with a new "super power" that has begun to reach Western standards in democracy. Viewing the trade and energy agreements concluded between the two countries, Guzel asserts that Russia is Turkey's most important neighbour and its "strategic partner." The writer goes on to make a comparison between Turkey's strategic partnership with the United States and Turkey's relations with Russia. In conclusion, Guzel lauds Erdogan, President Gul, and Foreign Minister Davutoglu for transforming Turkey from being a regional power to becoming a "central country."

    Medvedev's contacts in Ankara have opened a new page in Turkish-Russian relations, maintains Murat Yetkin in an article in Radikal, adding that the 20 odd agreements signed will create a new cooperation axis in the region. Viewing the political dimension of the agreements, Yetkin draws attention to the timing of the support Medvedev extended to the Turkish-Brazilian initiative regarding Iran's nuclear program. The writer goes on to examine the nuclear power station agreement and the political implications of the developing trade and economic relations.

    Under the banner headline, "Unlimited partnership," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which highlights the results of Russian President Medvedev's visit to Turkey. According to the report, Ankara and Moscow have put their signatures to a number of "historic" agreements entailing the removal of visa requirements for visits up to 30 days, the increase of the volume of trade to $100 billion in some five years, the use of national currencies in trade between the two countries, etc.

    In an article entitled "Star countries put on a show while the West goes under", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul discusses the significance of the "unprecedented" level of rapprochement between Turkey and Russia in the 90th year of their diplomatic relations since the demise of Tsarist Russia and the Ottoman Empire and their "experimentation" with a model of economic partnership at a time when massive bailout packages are being put together to ride out the latest economic crisis affecting Europe. He reiterates his assertion that the consolidation of Turkish-Russian ties is only one of the manifestations of major shifts of power that are challenging the established global system.

    Under the headline, "Historic initiative toward Russia," Zaman runs a front-page report which says that Turkey and Russia "celebrated the 90th anniversary of their establishment of diplomatic relations with one another by signing a number of historic agreements" yesterday.

    In an article entitled "Old friends and foes move toward deepening strategic cooperation", Today's Zaman columnist Lale Kemal argues that Turkish-Russian "cooperation ... has taken on new momentum as a result of [the AKP's] 'zero problems with neighbours' policy."

    c) Economy:

    An editorial in Hurriyet Daily News praises the government's decision "to target 1 percent of GDP as a public deficit goal as part of the development of a so-called 'fiscal rule." The editorial warns that, however, "policies undertaken strictly with an eye to pleasing international financiers, necessary to keep the flow of foreign investment coming, should not ignore the needs of the unemployed, the sick, the elderly and others at the margins of Turkey's economy."

    Finally, viewing the upcoming visit of an IMF delegation to Turkey in an article in Sabah, Erdal Safak declares that, however, this time it will not put forth any demands. It will only give a few advices. Maybe, it will refrain from doing that either because this is a routine visit that the IMF pays to every member country. Noting that the IMF now has a say in the Greek economy as we as in the other EU countries, Safak explains: The IMF is extending one third (20 billion Euro) of the 60 billion Euro worth package prepared for 16 members of the eurozone. One third (250 billion Euro) of the 750 billion Euro support package prepared for the 27 members of the EU is also being extended by the IMF. Pointing out that the IMF is extending funds to European countries that are not EU members such as Serbia, Ukraine, and Belarus, Safak concludes: The IMF, which has risen to the position of a decision-making organ in the economic policies of almost the entire European continent, can no longer interfere in Turkey. This time the IMF is really welcome to Turkey.

    EG/


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