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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-05-17

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. 90/10 15-17.05.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] UBP and DP reached an agreement regarding the municipal elections and the DPs support to a so-called minority government
  • [02] Self-styled minister to address a meeting of OIC in Tajikistan
  • [03] Eroglu meets with the British High Commissioner
  • [04] Turkish businessman offers 50 million US dollars for shares of the illegal Turkish Cypriot airlines
  • [05] Dutch tourists have reportedly arrived in the occupied areas of Cyprus with a direct flight to the illegal Tymvou airport
  • [06] Illegal university signs a protocol for cooperation with an Italian university
  • [07] Turkish and Greek Prime Ministers meet in Athens
  • [08] Turkey and Greece sign 22 agreements during Erdogans visit to Athens
  • [09] How the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot press covered Erdogans visit to Athens
  • [10] Alvaro de Soto urges EU to end the alleged isolation of the Turkish Cypriots
  • [11] Iran to send its enriched uranium to Turkey over a nuclear fuel swap agreement
  • [12] Political opinion poll shows that ruling AKPs vote percentage fell after Baykals resignation
  • [13] High-level visit from S. Africa to enliven ties with Turkey
  • [14] Kurdish journalist in Turkey was sentenced to 166.5 years in prison for PKK membership and propaganda
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [15] From the Turkish Press of 14, 15 and 16 May 2010

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] UBP and DP reached an agreement regarding the municipal elections and the DPs support to a so-called minority government

    Illegal Bayrak television (15.05.10) broadcast the following:

    The National Unity Party and the Democrat Party (UBP) have reached agreement on forming an alliance for next months local elections. Democrat Party also agreed to support indefinitely a minority government to set up by the UBP.

    Announcing the agreement in front of the UBP headquarters in Lefkosia, the leader of the National Unity Party Irsen Kucuk said that they had arrived at an agreement to cooperate in next months local elections following a meeting with the DP yesterday afternoon. He said that the two parties had also reached agreement on nominating their own separate candidates for the municipal assembly.

    According to the agreement reached, the UBP will be nominating 20 candidates for the 28 different municipalities. The DP will be nominating eight candidates for the remaining municipalities of Yeni Erenkoy [occupied Yialousa], Mehmetcik [occupied Galatia], Tatlisu [occupied Akanthou], Esentepe [occupied Ag. Amvrosios], Gazimagusa [occupied Famagusta], Degirmenlik [occupied Kythrea] and Vadili [occupied Vatili].

    As for the by-elections for Gazimagusa [occupied Famagusta] MP, Kucuk said that the Democrat Party has agreed not to nominate its own candidate in Gazimagusa and to support the UBPs candidate. The UBP announced yesterday Resmiye Canaltay as its official candidate for the vacated seat of Gazimagusa MP following the election of President Dervis Eroglu.

    [02] Self-styled minister to address a meeting of OIC in Tajikistan

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.05.10) reports that a delegation under Hamza Ersan Saner, self-styled minister of tourism, environment and culture, will represent the breakaway regime at the 37th General Assembly of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), which will take place in Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan between 18 and 20 May, 2010. According to a statement issued by the self-styled ministry of foreign affairs, during the meeting, Mr Saner is expected to have contacts with ministers of member-states, the Secretariat of OIC and officials of other institutions. He is also expected to address the general assembly.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Eroglu meets with the British High Commissioner

    Illegal Bayrak television (15.05.10) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    President Dervis Eroglu has received the newly-appointed British High Commissioner John Christopher William Kidd.

    No press statement was issued after the meeting at the [so-called] Presidential Palace.

    [04] Turkish businessman offers 50 million US dollars for shares of the illegal Turkish Cypriot airlines

    Illegal Bayrak television (15.05.10) reported the following:

    The council of ministers has agreed to sign on a partner for the ailing national carrier Cyprus Turkish Airlines. The process to find a partner for the airlines will be overseen by a committee formed by five government ministers it has been announced.

    The decision taken at todays extraordinary meeting of the council of ministers aims at keeping the national airline running and to strengthen its capital structure.

    Speaking to reporters at the end of todays meeting which lasted for an hour, the minister of economy and energy, Sunat Atun, said the government attached great importance to keeping the countrys national airline running and had therefore, decided that the best option would be to find a partner for the company.

    Asked on how the airlines shares will be distributed with the introduction of a new partner, Atun said that the details of the deal will be decided by the committee created to oversee the process.

    On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.05.10) writes that the five-member committee is formed by the following self-styled ministers: Ersin Tatar, minister of finance, Hasan Tacoy, minister of public works and transportation, Ersan Saner, minister of tourism, environment and culture, Turkay Tokel, minister of labour and social security and Sunat Atun, minister of economy and energy.

    Under the banner front-page title, There are 50 million dollars, the paper further writes that a businessman by the name of Mehmet Celik from Turkeys Urfa province has submitted an offer of 50 million U.S. dollars for purchasing 51% of the shares of the Turkish Cypriot airlines. Mehmet Celik is the owner of two firms operating in the financial sector in the occupied territories, Kibris adds.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (16.05.10) moreover, reports on statements made by the former chairman of the travel agents union, Ismail Cetin according to which the Turkish Cypriot airlines is at the doorstep of bankruptcy and he prepared a proposal package for its rescue. Noting that if the airlines go bankrupt the economy of the illegal regime will collapse as well, Mr Cetin suggested the establishment of a new partnership between the Turkish Cypriot airlines and the Turkish airlines. If this is not achievable Mr Cetin added, then 40% of the shares of the Turkish Cypriot airlines should be offered for purchase to the illegal regimes private sector.

    Halkin Sesi further notes that the travel agents and tour operators are in a great discomfort due to the developments in the Turkish Cypriot airlines because they may need to cancel the reservations which tourists from Britain, Germany, the Scandinavian countries, Italy and Turkey made for the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus for the period until the end of October.

    (ML)

    [05] Dutch tourists have reportedly arrived in the occupied areas of Cyprus with a direct flight to the illegal Tymvou airport

    Under the title Attack in tourism, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (17.05.10) reports that 168 tourists from the Netherlands arrived yesterday in the occupied areas of Cyprus with a direct flight to the illegal Tymvou airport. The paper writes that this is the first flight organized to the occupied areas of Cyprus by the Dutch Corendon Tour Operator Company and Corendon airlines. Above its front-page title, the paper writes the following: In spite of the embargoes of the Greek Cypriots and their efforts to prevent it, 168 tourists came to the TRNC from the Netherlands with a direct flight.

    According to statements made by Ismail Abidin, director of the Akmina Travel Club, partner of Corendon for the occupied areas of Cyprus, the Dutch company aims to carry 10.000 tourists to the occupied areas of the island. He said they cooperate with Corendon in the Dutch and Belgian markets.

    Corendon will conduct 26 flights to the occupied areas of Cyprus until the end of the season. The paper reports that the self-styled ministry of tourism, environment and culture organized a welcome ceremony with folkloric dances for the first flight of Corendon.

    Meanwhile, referring to the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.05.10) reports that Sahap Asikoglu, undersecretary of the above-mentioned ministry, told the paper that according to the one-year agreement they have made with Corendon, the company will carry tourists to the occupied areas of Cyprus from Belgium and the Netherlands. He noted that the Dutch company is based in the Turkish city of Antalya. He said the flights will continue for 4-5 months twice a week.

    Kibris reports also that Akmina Travel, partner of Corendon, issued a statement noting that the freedom of movement of no community could be limited with embargoes and thanked Corendon airlines and its administrators for cooperating with it in Belgium and the Netherlands and for believing and investing in the occupied areas of Cyprus. Akmina thanked also the ministry of tourism of the breakaway regime and the competent authorities of the Republic of Turkey for their support.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (17.05.10) publishes an interview with Hamza Ersan Saner, self-styled minister of tourism, who said that their target is to reach an occupancy rate of 40% in the hotels in the occupied areas of Cyprus this year. He pointed out that the occupancy rate of the hotels was 33.5% in 2008 and increased to 35% in 2009. Mr Saner noted that the number of the tourists from Turkey and Britain increased by 13% and 24% respectively this year. He added that there is 11% increase in the general number of tourists for this year. He said that the number of tourists who visited the occupied areas of Cyprus in 2008 was 103.613 and that this number increased to 114.000 in 2009. Our aim is to increase this number of foreign tourists by 30% this year, he added.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Illegal university signs a protocol for cooperation with an Italian university

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.05.10) reports that the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University (DAU), has signed a program for academic cooperation with Italys Catania University in the fields of archaeology, underwater archaeology and similar areas. According to a statement issued by DAU, the agreement was signed by the rector of the illegal university and afterwards it was approved by the senate of Catania University. The statement notes that within the framework of the agreement, students from Catania University will participate in the excavations and researches carried out by DAU in Turkey and exchanges of students will be possible between the DAU and the Italian university.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Turkish and Greek Prime Ministers meet in Athens

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.05.10) reported the following from Athens:

    Turkish premier voiced optimism on Friday that his government's efforts for the reopening of the Halki Seminary would prove successful. I am positive that our efforts for a solution in this issue will yield a result, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in response to a question at a joint press appearance with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou, in Athens.

    Erdogan was in the Greek capital on Friday on a formal visit, his first since 2004, along with a large delegation of Turkish officials including senior cabinet members and high-level bureaucrats. The two countries held a joint cabinet meeting under a High-Level Cooperation Council to boost political and economic relations and cooperation, and they signed nearly two dozen agreements.Erdogan said his government was ready to handover the seminary to the Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul as soon as he received the formal ruling of an international court on the issue. I'd like to say that my stance on this one is positive. We are working on it and I hope we will settle it in a short time, he said.

    Turkey on Friday urged its western neighbour Greece to fly its fighter jets disarmed over the Aegean Sea, saying defence expenditures hampered investment in other areas. We do not want planes fly over the Aegean as bombers. If they are to hold manoeuvres, let them do it unarmed. And let's quit these flight altogether in time, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters during a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou in Athens.

    Erdogan also called for matching cuts in military spending in Turkey and in Greece: Investments in the defence industry could be made in education, in health. These investments could be transferred to the poorest people as income per capita, Erdogan said.

    Erdogan said the Muslim minority of the Western Thrace must assign their religious leader, the mufti, on their own in an election and he proposed that the Greek government ratified an elected mufti. Just as we do not appoint the patriarch in Istanbul, the Greek government should not appoint a religious leader for the Muslims living there. We need to talk this issue and find a quick solution, Erdogan said.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that they wished the Aegean Sea would become the symbol of peace.

    Prime Minister Erdogan said at a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou following Turkey-Greece High-Level Cooperation Council meeting, tourism is one of the most important sources of income for Greece. And Turkey has made a great progress in tourism in the last seven years. If we cooperate with each other in tourism, we can make a great attempt by organizing joint tourism packages.

    Both Turkey and Greece have faced serious problems about terrorism. We need to take confidence-building measures in solidarity. We also need to take some joint steps for an influential fight against human smuggling, he said.Referring to economic and commercial relations between Turkey and Greece, Prime Minister Erdogan said, our trade volume fell to 2.5 billion USD. We have to increase it up to 5 billion euro. Both Turkey and Greece have the necessary political will to this end. We, as Turkish and Greek governments, are ready to encourage our businessmen. Greece has always supported Turkey in its European Union membership process. I believe that Greek government would continue supporting us in the future. The European Union membership is a strategic target for Turkey. We are determined to become a member of the European Union.

    The Cyprus negotiation process will continue with the same determination following the presidential election in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). The guarantor countries, Turkey and Greece, can join this process. The European Union presidency and the United Nations can also join. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot party will always support the target of solution, he said. We wish that the Aegean Sea would become the symbol of peace. We can achieve this, Prime Minister Erdogan added.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would not be bothered if the Greek Orthodox patriarch in Istanbul was called by the title ecumenic. I won't be bothered. It does not bother me if it did not bother my ancestors, Erdogan said in response to question at a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou in Athens. I had plans to include on board our religious affairs director, Huseyin Bardakoglu, and Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew on my visit to Greece, if it were not for Bardakoglu's busy schedule, Erdogan said. Erdogan said Turkish Foreign Ministry records showed that there were around 50 thousand Turkish citizen Greeks living outside Turkey, adding that Turkey's stance toward them were positive. They may come to Turkey and live in our country. Because they are already our citizens. We feel comfortable with them living in Turkey for our country is a home for many different cultures, Erdogan said.

    Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.05.10) reported the following from Athens:

    Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan got together with representatives of the Greek media over breakfast on Saturday. Erdogan, who pointed out that positive steps were taken to enhance relations between Turkey and Greece, urged the Greek media to support the process.

    The Cyprus issue also came up during the meeting and Erdogan briefed Turkey's views on the issue as one of the three guarantor states. In response to a journalist's question as to why they did not leave the parties in Cyprus alone, Erdogan asked why the UN Peace Force was deployed in the island.

    On his way out of the breakfast with Greek media, Erdogan spoke to the Turkish Press.

    Answering a reporter's question as to whether they made a proposal regarding fighter jets' flights in the Aegean, Erdogan said Turkish jets were flying without weapons and ammunition, adding that they urged Greece to the same.

    [08] Turkey and Greece sign 22 agreements during Erdogans visit to Athens

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.05.10) reported the following from Athens:

    Turkey and Greece signed 22 agreements on the sidelines of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's state visit to Greece. The agreements were signed by Prime Minister Erdogan and Prime Minister George Papandreou of Greece.

    The agreements include the joint political declaration about establishment of High-Level Cooperation Council; the protocol about political consultations between Turkish and Greek foreign ministries; the joint declaration about removal of obstacles in the Pazarkule-Kastanies border crossing; the joint declaration about development of cooperation between Turkish and Greek private sectors; the memorandum of understanding about technical cooperation between the Turkish Standards Institution (TSE) and the Greek Organization for Standardization (ELOT); the memorandum of understanding about development of cooperation between Turkey's Investment Support and Promotion Agency and Greece's INVEST in Greece; the memorandum of understanding about forestry; the memorandum of understanding about energy cooperation; the joint declaration about development of cooperation in highway transportation; the joint declaration about illegal migration, organized crimes, illicit drug trafficking and civil defence; visa exemption for holders of special passports; the joint declaration about cultural cooperation; the joint declaration about tourism cooperation; the cooperation protocol between Turkey's Anadolu News Agency (A.A) and Athens-Macedonia News Agency (ANA-MPA); and the memorandum of understanding about cooperation between Turkey's Union of Banks and Greece's Union of Banks.

    Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.05.10) reported the following from Athens:

    Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou signed the Olympic Truce in Athens, Greece on Saturday. The two premiers crowned the historic rapprochement between Turkey and Greece with a symbolic gesture by signing the Olympic truce in Kalimarmaro or the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympic Games were held.

    The signing of the truce came after Friday's historic joint cabinet meeting between the two countries titled "High-Level Cooperation Council" to boost political and economic relations and cooperation on Friday which resulted with signing of 22 protocols.

    Speaking during the signing of the Truce, Papandreou said the gesture aimed at giving out a peace message to the world. Papandreou also vowed to support Turkey's candidacy to host the 2020 Olympics.

    Erdogan, who thanked the Greek premier for the hospitality displayed during the entire visit, welcomed Greece's support for Turkey's candidacy. He said Turkey would happily resort to Greece's experience in hosting Olympics, should it win the right to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

    According to historians, a truce was announced before and during each of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece to allow visitors to travel safely to Olympia. An inscription describing the truce was written on a bronze discus which was displayed at Olympia. During the truce, wars were suspended, armies were prohibited from entering Elis, where the Olympic Games were held or threatening the Games, and legal disputes and the carrying out of death penalties were forbidden.

    [09] How the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot press covered Erdogans visit to Athens

    The Turkish newspapers (16.05.10) covered Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogans visit to Athens as follows:

    Sabah: Olympic Truce. The paper reports that Prime Minister Erdogan signed the symbolic historic Olympic Truce with his counterpart Papandreou during his last day of visit in Athens at Kalimarmaro stadium, where the first Olympic Games were held.

    Hurriyet: A promise of support for a concert in Ephesus. The paper reports that Erdogan visited the house of Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis. Theodorakis said that he wants to give again a concert in the ancient town of Ephesus with Zulfu Livaneli. Erdogan gave his full support for this.

    Radikal: A tense conversation with the press. The paper reports that during a breakfast with Greek media, Erdogan got angry regarding a question on Turkish fighter jets flights in the Aegean and said: You are working like a press office of the Greek Ministry of Defence. The journalists replied: Will you teach us how we are going to do our work? Erdogan said: I am just giving an advice in order for not increasing the tension.

    Bugun: We can go to the Hague

    Zaman: This visit is just the beginning; the relations can be carried to a partnership level.

    Taraf: We will not throw the Greeks into the sea anymore. The paper refers to one of the 22 signed cooperative protocols between Turkey and Greece, where they should clean from the textbooks expressions that contain enmity and hatred.

    Milliyet: The words that surprised the Greek media.

    Cumhuriyet: A surprising guest

    In the meantime, the Turkish Cypriot press of 16.05.10 covered the visit of Prime Minister Erdogan to Greece as follows:

    Under the title Political will is needed, Kibris reports that Erdogan said that the ground for the solution of the Cyprus problem exists.

    Havadis refers to the issue under the title We are very close to the solution. Above the title, the paper writes: The visit of the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to Athens caused great repercussions. Speaking to Ta Nea newspaper, Erdogan made important statements on the Cyprus problem.

    Under the title The Turkish army must go away from Cyprus, Yeni Volkan reports that the Greek Greek Cypriot duos national target has not changed and that responding to Prime Minister Erdogan, the Greek Prime Minister Papandreou stated once more the main condition of the Greek Greek Cypriot duo regarding the solution.

    Vatan covers the visit under the title They burned the Turkish flag in Athens.

    Kibrisli refers to the issue under the title Erdogan: The momentum for the solution must not be lost!

    Under the title One, two, three, race with Papandreou, Afrika refers to a funny incident between the two Prime Ministers regarding the agreement on the issue of the Turkish citizens travelling to the Greek islands without visa. The paper writes that great interest was shown for Tayyip Erdogans visit to Turkey and adds that the Turkish Prime Minister stated that their aim is for a solution to be found in Cyprus until the end of the year and that Dervis Eroglu agrees with them.

    Yeni Duzen refers to the issue in its inside pages under the issue The target of Erdogan and Papandreou is a solution in Cyprus.

    Star Kibris refers to the issue under the titles Meaningful message from Erdogan to the Greek journalists: Support the process and Papandreou: We support the efforts for a solution in Cyprus.

    Haberdar wonders whether the Spring in the relations between Turkey and Greece will come to Cyprus as well.

    Ortam covers the issue under the title: Erdogan: Eroglu also wants a solution.

    [10] Alvaro de Soto urges EU to end the alleged isolation of the Turkish Cypriots

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (17.05.10) reports the following:

    Alvaro de Soto, the UN Secretary-Generals former special adviser on Cyprus, has said the European Union should, as promised, end the isolation of Turkish Cypriots to help find a lasting solution to the problems on the long-divided island.

    In an interview with Todays Zaman last week, de Soto stated that it would only be fair for the EU live up to its promises to the Turkish inhabitants of northern Cyprus. Noting that he believes that the EU should comply with its commitments to the Turkish Cypriots, he said this would drive Turkey to open its ports to traffic from Greek Cyprus. Turkey refuses to do so as long as the Turkish Cypriots continue to be subjected to isolation, which the EU had promised to end following the Greek Cypriot rejection of the Annan plan in 2004 while the Turkish side overwhelmingly approved it.

    The former UN envoy argued that one reason that prompted the Greek Cypriots to reject the Annan plan aimed at reunifying the island six years ago could be that they felt they were in an advantageous position because they were going to join the EU. He added that another reason was that the Greek Cypriots did not study the plan as carefully as the Turkish Cypriots and were therefore not completely aware of what it would have meant for them.

    De Soto also assessed the prospects of resolving the issue through the bilateral talks initiated by Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and former Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) President Mehmet Ali Talat on September 3, 2008. Talat was unseated by Dervis Eroglu at the presidential elections held a month ago.

    He said both sides have agreed to a bi-communal, bi-zonal federal state solution as a compromise, though it was not either sides preference. Stating that the parties have agreed to terms of reference for the talks, he said: There is a new basis. I see that even Mr Eroglu has agreed to continue on the same basis. They are pursuing a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution, the results of which would have to be a state of single international legal personality and sovereignty, and that is in conformity with the Annan plan as far as I can tell. He added that it is a good thing to see Eroglu pledge to continue the talks from where they left off. Christofias and Eroglu are scheduled to hold the 72nd meeting of the reunification talks on May 26.

    De Soto lastly discussed the reason for his resignation from his last post at the UN in 2007 as the special coordinator for the Middle East peace process. He said he resigned because the UN refused to talk with Hamas. In the Quartet, the UN decided not to deal with Hamas even though Hamas had been democratically elected in an election that has been praised by the observers, including the EU observers. Even though this was the case, the UN stopped dealing with the government of the Palestinian authority, and that was a mistake. I tried to get things changed, and when I was not successful, I left the UN, he said.

    [11] Iran to send its enriched uranium to Turkey over a nuclear fuel swap agreement

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.05.10) reports the following from Tehran:

    Turkey will be the venue of uranium swap between Iran and the West according to an agreement signed between Turkey, Iran and Brazil in Tehran on Monday.

    With the agreement signed by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, Iran committed to give the 1200kg of 3.5% enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for 20% enriched uranium it will receive from Western countries to be used as fuel in the nuclear research reactor in Tehran. Tehran will receive the enriched uranium from the Vienna Group, comprising of the U.S, France, Russia and International Atomic Energy Agency, in Turkey.

    Appearing at a joint press conference with his Iranian and Brazilian counterparts after the signing of the agreement, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey would do its part to make the uranium exchange happen. He said that with the signing of the uranium exchange agreement Iran gave a positive response to the expectations of the international community regarding its nuclear program.

    Davutoglu said that the cloud of suspicion over Iran was dispersed with the agreement, and a serious crisis was overcome. He pointed out that Turkey once again showed to the whole world that all problems could be solved through dialogue and diplomacy.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Motaki said if the uranium exchange somehow failed, Turkey would unconditionally give the 1200kg of low-enriched uranium back to Iran.

    Furthermore, Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.05.10) reports the following from Tehran:

    Iran has agreed to send its enriched uranium to Turkey under a nuclear fuel swap deal.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Foreign Minister Celso Amorim of Brazil and Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki of Iran signed an agreement on procedure of nuclear fuel swap deal in Tehran.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad of Iran and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil were also in attendance at the signing ceremony.

    [12] Political opinion poll shows that ruling AKPs vote percentage fell after Baykals resignation

    Turkish Haber Turk news portal (15.05.10) reported the following:

    The public opinion survey that Konsensus Research and Consulting does for HaberTurk regularly every month was completed with the latest Turkey Agenda April 2010. But the resignation of CHP [Republican People's Party] leader Deniz Baykal put the survey results into chaos. So, Konsensus conducted two separate polls, one pre-resignation and one post-resignation. According to the results of these, the support for the AKP [Justice and Development Party] fell from 38.7 percent to 33.8 percent following Baykal's resignation, while the CHP gained strength, increasing its share of the vote from 24.8 percent to 27.2 percent.

    Turkish politics has been experiencing days of unprecedented turbulence. After a sex cassette purportedly showing CHP Chairman Deniz Baykal was distributed on the Internet, Deniz Baykal told party members to let him go and resigned from the General Chairmanship. As for the Konsensus Research and Consulting Company, one of Turkey's leading public opinion research firms, it completed its latest polling effort, which it does monthly for HaberTurk, entitled Turkey Agenda April 2010.

    The poll was conducted prior to Baykal's resignation, between the dates of 30 April and 9 May, with a telephone survey method involving 1,563 people above the age of 17 in 81 provinces of Turkey. According to the results of the survey, after the undecided votes were distributed, the AKP was the first party, with support of 38.7 percent, while support for the CHP was at 24.8 percent.

    Subtitle: CHP rose

    Following the videocassette allegations, CHP leader Baykal resigned on 10 May. Baykal's resignation hit the political agenda like a bomb. Following this extraordinary development, Konsensus conducted a new polling effort, entitled Political Analysis Following Deniz Baykal's Resignation - May 2010, and thus took the pulse of the public. The poll, which brought out very striking results that are likely to shake the agenda of Turkey, took place during 12-13 May in the form of a telephone survey among 508 people above the age of 17, 268 of them males and 240 of them females, in 81 provinces of Turkey. Following Baykal's resignation, the AKP's percentage of the vote fell by 4.9 percent, to 33.8 percent. In contrast, the CHP gained in support. The CHP's percentage of the vote rose by 2.4 percent, to 27.2 percent.

    Subtitle: Kilicdaroglu clearly ahead in leadership race

    One of the most crucial questions is: Whom would you like to see as the General Chairman of the CHP? During 12-13 May, when Konsensus was taking the pulse of the people, Kemal Kilicdaroglu was clearly out in front with 72.4 percent support. He was followed by Murat Karayalcin with 12.1 percent.

    [13] High-level visit from S. Africa to enliven ties with Turkey

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (17.05.10) reports the following:

    South Africa, the African continents leading economy, accounting for almost half of the GDP generated in the entire continent, is preparing for a high-level visit to Turkey to step up bilateral relations and discuss a range of global and regional issues challenging both countries.

    After a relatively long hiatus in high-level visits between the two emerging economies, Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe, deputy president of South Africa, will pay an official visit to Turkey on May 24-26, the countrys top envoy in Ankara told Todays Zaman.

    This is going to be a very important visit to revitalize bilateral relations. He is coming to change the direction of bilateral relations in the coming years, South African Ambassador Tebogo Seokolo said.

    Motlanthes visit comes at a critical juncture during which many important issues are at stake for many countries. Reform in global financial institutions tops the list for both countries, as G-20 members from developing economies. Both Turkey and South Africa are pretty much on the same page when it comes to new power-sharing schemes in the committees of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). The voice of developing countries needs to be heard louder. A lot can be done in G-20 summits, Seokolo said, stressing that his country wants to raise the voice of African nations in international financial bodies.

    The 61-year-old Motlanthe, widely referred to as Mkulu, a term of praise meaning elder or leader, is a very important figure not only within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party but within the government as well. He served as the caretaker president for the eight months between the recall of Thabo Mbeki in September 2008 and current President Jacob Zumas inauguration. He will reportedly bring a large delegation of ministers and businessmen in his entourage. Cabinet ministers from the defence, higher education, agriculture and mining ministries will join him during his trip to Turkey.

    Motlanthe is coming to Turkey to hopefully jump start trade relations. Trade volume between the two countries was almost $2 billion in 2009, favouring Turkish exports. It took a sharp turn, however, in the first three months of 2010, with a 73 percent decrease over the same period of 2009, dropping from $794 million to $214 million, according to foreign trade statistics issued by the Turkish government.

    Ambassador Seokolo believes there are limitless opportunities that can be exploited in the business area. Business relations will be revisited during this visit, he stressed. Motlanthe will be participating in a business forum to be held in Istanbul to explore opportunities for cooperation.

    On his itinerary, interestingly enough, the Iranian nuclear program stalemate emerges as an important topic. South Africa and Turkey both sit on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors for 2009-2010.

    On a side note, Ambassador Seokolo points out that Deputy President Motlanthe is also charged with coordinating World Cup preparations. His visit to Turkey comes just two weeks before the tournament begins in South Africa. That by itself shows how the visit is seen of great importance in my country, says the South African diplomat.

    [14] Kurdish journalist in Turkey was sentenced to 166.5 years in prison for PKK membership and propaganda

    Turkish BIA news centre (BIANET) (14.05.10) reported the following from Diyarbakir:

    Journalist Vedat Kursun, former editorial manager of the Kurdish Azadiya Welat newspaper, was charged with membership of the PKK organization and spreading propaganda for an illegal organization by the 5th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakir (south-eastern Turkey). Kursun received a prison sentence of 166 years and six months. The separatist PKK organization is listed as a terrorist organization in many countries.

    With this decision, the court followed the demands expressed in the final submission of the prosecutor. In the hearing on 13 May, the court decreed to sentence Kursun to 12 years and eight months, the upper limit for charges of membership of an organization. He furthermore received a 103 counts' sentence according to article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMY) on propaganda for an illegal organization.

    In an announcement made by the Azadiya Welat daily, the decision was described as illegal and politically motivated. The newspaper urged rights institutions to react to the decision.

    Journalist Kursun was arrested on 30 January 2009 in Ataturk Airport in Istanbul because he had not given his statement in another trial. Kursun was later on detained and taken to the Diyarbakir D Type Prison, facing heavy prison sentence.

    Detained defendant Kursun attended the hearing together with his lawyers Meral Danis Bestas, Serhat Eren and Rahsan Bataray. Among the observers of the trial were Kursun's relatives as well as Eser Uyansiz, concessionaire of the Azadiya Welat newspaper, Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-chair Yuksel Genc, Gun TV publication director Diren Keser, employees from free press and the Diyarbakir Kurdish Institute, and reporter Urtzi Urruti Koetxea form the Berria newspaper published in the Basque region.

    Court was not convinced Lawyer Eren requested to have the translations of the articles subject of the trial re-done since the present translations were made by police officers and because the second translator had said, I have done as much as I could after s/he had finished with the translations. Nevertheless, this request was dismissed. Eren said in his speech of defence that Kursun did not intent to spread propaganda by the pictures and articles he published, but that they should be seen within the context of publishing information as part of the basic work of journalists.

    Lawyer Bataray reminded the fact that Turkey has signed the European Convention of Human Rights and called the court to decide according to previous decisions made by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

    Bestas emphasized that his client did not commit a theft, he did not use violence, he did not kill anybody, nor did he encourage others to resort to violence --he merely expressed his thoughts as a journalist. However, the lawyers' efforts could not prevent the heavy punishment.

    Facing a long time in prison Kursun is currently tried in 32 different cases. Court Prosecutor Yakup Yar had demanded prison sentence of up to five years under charges of propaganda for an illegal organization on the grounds of criminal contents in a total of 103 issues of the newspaper. Furthermore, prosecutor Yar had requested imprisonment of up to another ten years for membership in an illegal organization.

    Kursun was facing a total prison sentence of up to 525 years due to the prosecutor's demand of a103 counts sentence. Prosecutor Yar referred in his demand to certain terms used in the articles such as Kurdistan, guerrilla, martyr, leader of the Kurdish people or respectable Ocalan besides the publishing of notes made during an interview with imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, criticism of the conditions of detention in Imrali prison where Ocalan serves his sentence and announcements of PKK executives.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [15] From the Turkish Press of 14, 15 and 16 May 2010

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish Press on 14, 15 and 16 May 2010:

    a) Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to Athens:

    Writing in Hurriyet Daily News.com (15.05.10), Mehmet Ali Birand in a commentary entitled "The most frequently question I was asked was: How is life with the IMF?" writes about his first impressions upon arrival in Athens and Greek public's reaction to PM Erdogan's visit, aftermath of EU loan, and interest in Turkey.

    "More socialism will not save Greece," writes Mustafa Akyol in Hurriyet Daily News.com (15.05.10), explaining that the core problem of Greeks "seems to be the delusion that most socialists seem to believe: that governments have unlimited wealth, and the only matter is how hard can you press them to distribute it. In the real world, though, governments do not have unlimited wealth. They do not even create wealth. Only people do that. And if people don't do that --by being lazy, un-creative and unproductive-- then there is not much that anybody can do. Unfortunately, the Greek society got used to ignoring the most fundamental fact of economics. The national spirit has been to work as little as possible, and get as much government benefits as you could." He concludes: "The picture seems clear to me: Turkey, whose economic policies are guided by free-market liberals, have done quite well. When it faced a crisis, it took rational measures and moved on quickly. Greece, which has a 'strong communist and lefty tradition, has failed tragically. And when it faced a crisis, its society gave the most irrational response and seems to be stuck in that mood."

    In his commentary in Milliyet (15.05.10), Hasan Cemal writes about the "important developments in the Turkish foreign policy in these days" underscoring the importance of PM Erdogan's "historic" visit to Athens because "the outcome of this visit may pave the path to a significant cut in the arms expenditures of both Turkey and Greece." Cemal further adds that he wanted to stress the importance of this visit in terms of turning the Aegean into a "lake of peace" and its impact on the regional countries, let alone Turkey and Greece when he stopped himself after the "unbecoming" statements Erdogan issued on the Baykal affair on way to Athens.

    Writing in Milliyet (15.05.10), Semih Idiz starts his commentary in Milliyet by the expression of contentment seen in the face of Foreign Minister Davutoglu in the photos. "Impossible for him not be content when the foreign policy affairs are going that well" continues Idiz and adds: "The Armenian issue, as expected, has been thrown into the background. We, however, think that the development most causing excitement in Davutoglu is PM Erdogan's visit to Athens. We know that Mr Davutoglu's main area of interest is the Balkans but Greece has sort of become a member of the Balkans rather than the EU after the difficult period it is undergoing. It cannot be denied that there now is a fresh and virgin environment ready to be developed in regards the political, economic, and cultural relations between Turkey and Greece, which have been apart from each other because of their enmity. The Athens administration is obliged to develop its economy and bring its standard of living to the previous level since the 'cheap and irresponsible EU loans' have ended. Under these conditions, an increasing number of Greeks think that rejecting a potential like Turkey because of 'political hang-ups' is not wise. We should also not forget another development, which pleased Davutoglu to the utmost, in the Balkans and that concerns the developing relations between Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina made possible through the significant contributions of Turkey. We know that this does not please everybody in the United States, however, one thing is certain after Turkey's achievements not only in this regard but also in other areas as well; that Turkey understands the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Caucasus better than the Europeans. Putting all this together and one can understand easily why Foreign Minister Davutoglu is content."

    In an article entitled "A different Davutoglu portrait by Taner Akcam", Yeni Safak columnist Kursat Bumin (16.05.10) calls attention to "good news" from Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to Athens promising "progress" toward eliminating potential causes of "tension in Turkish-Greek relations," such as a planned mutual reduction of military spending and possible steps by Turkey to recognize the ecumenical status of the Greek Orthodox patriarch and reopen the Heybeliada Seminary. He also recognizes "the important role played by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in this process" in line with the Government's policy of "zero problems with neighbours."

    A front-paged report in Vakit (16.05.10) entitled "Warplanes to fly over the Aegean without bombs," which outlines Erdogan's answers to questions about the results of his visit to Greece en route from Athens to Ankara.

    In an article entitled "As the fog is dispersing", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak (16.05.10) asserts that Prime Minister Erdogan took a step in the right direction in signing an agreement with Greece that entails the facilitation of the visa regime between the two countries. He also describes the Turkish-Greek "cooperation" as "a victory against the Greek deep state."

    Under the headline, "[Papandreou:] this visit is just a beginning. Relations to be increased to partnership level," Zaman (16.05.10) runs a front-page report which asserts that Turkey and Greece laid the foundations of improved bilateral relations in signing some 22 protocols during Erdogan's recent visit to Athens.

    b) Turkey-Russia ties:

    Commenting on numerous "important" agreements signed between Turkey and Russia in a column in Hurriyet (14.05.10), Cengiz Candar says the Western fears that Turkey is tilting its axis towards the Islamic world is unfounded, and if one is going to talk about a tilt, it is Turkey's tilt towards Caucasus and Russia. Besides, Candar says, seconding the opinion of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, no axes have remained in post-Cold War period and as such one cannot talk about a shift in axis. Though, he adds, it will not be wrong to speak about the emergence of a "Turkish-Russian axis" given the gigantic nature of energy cooperation. In that sense there is a truth to Russian President Medvedev's statement that the two countries are entering into a "high-level strategic partnership."

    Sami Kohen says in his column in Milliyet (14.05.10) that if not currently strategic, the Turkish-Russian relations are certainly developing in that direction, as evinced by the signing of 17 agreements, especially the deal on the nuclear plant, during Medvedev's visit. The Medvedev visit also showed that the two countries have similarity of views on Iran and the Middle Eastern problems. Noting that Turkey's ties with Russia now surpasses its ties with the West, Kohen says this search for new axis should not be at the expense of ignoring ties with the West though.

    In an article entitled "This project will cause Israel to lose sleep", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul (14.05.10) cites Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's remarks during his visit to Turkey announcing in a joint statement with President Abdullah Gul that all sides should be allowed to take part in the Mideast peace negotiations [meaning, according to Karagul, that there can be "no peace without Hamas"] as an indication, along with a Russia-Syrian agreement entailing Russia's construction of a nuclear plant in Syria, that the political climate in the Middle East is changing to the detriment of Israeli interests. He also asserts that the Turkish-Russian rapprochement has placed the EU on alert, adding that most European capitals are annoyed by the way Turkey and Russia are "reclaiming their historical strength" by launching energy projects and new Middle East initiatives.

    c) Referendum date debate:

    Like other Turkish papers, Radikal (14.05.10) too points out that the constitutional referendum on 12 September [2010] coincides with the anniversary of the 12 September [1980] coup when the current constitution was imposed on Turkey. The Radikal report says the12 September of 2010 will be the revanche for the 12 September of 1980. The paper also notes that the YSK did not take into account the parliamentary decision that reduced the time of submitting a legislation to referendum from 120 to 60 days on the grounds that that the decision comes under the scope of the election law and hence cannot be implemented in less than one year.

    AKP deputy leader Huseyin Celik criticizes YSK's referendum date, saying it was a political decision made under duress. But, he adds, the AKP will abide by it as YSK decisions cannot be appealed, according to a 100-word report in Radikal.

    Noting that the YSK adopted CHP's position on the referendum date in his column in Star (14.05.10), Samil Tayyar quotes Parliament's Justice Committee Chairman Ahmet Iyimaya as saying that the YSK's decision is not correct because there is a structural difference between a referendum and elections. Tayyar says that the referendum date as set by the YSK is a temporary victory for those who could not obstruct the constitutional reforms in the parliament. Pointing out that the government won the first round in the parliament and the opposition won the second round in YSK, Tayyar says the third and final round of the match will be played at the Constitutional Court. Tayyar says with YSK's referendum date, the opposition is trying to prevent Constitutional Court President Hasim Kilic from postponing the hearing on the reform package to until after the referendum. Given that Kilic has now become the central figure regarding the fate of the referendum, Tayyar suggests Kilic's security be beefed up against any possible provocation, for those unable to stomach the reforms could resort to just any measure.

    In a column for Taraf (14.05.10), Ahmet Altan says the YSK confused the rules for referendum with the rules for elections and counted 120, instead of 60, days for the referendum, adding that YSK's aim is to give the Constitutional Court enough time to abrogate the constitutional reform package. Altan says the circles opposed to reforms are angry with Baykal for failing to convince people that the reforms are dangerous for Turkey, adding that these circles still believe they can find another leader who can fool the people, for they think the people are stupid. The CHP and circles around it will fail in their attempt to block change for the world has undergone great change and in the new world Turkey needs parties that can solve domestic and foreign issues peacefully and in modern ways.

    In an article entitled "12 September referendum", Zaman columnist Mustafa Unal (14.05.10) accuses the Supreme Election Council (YSK) of rendering itself a controversial body in calling a referendum on the recently passed constitutional amendment package some four months rather than two months after the package was approved by the president. He claims that the YSK's "political" decision indicates its "negative outlook" on the package. He also asserts that in setting the 30th anniversary of the 12 September, 1980 coup as the date for the referendum, the YSK has nevertheless made a decision that will have a psychological impact on the results of the referendum in the sense that "the masses victimized by the coup" will be hard-pressed to vote against a package that entails changes to the current constitution drawn up by the architects of the 12 September coup.

    In his commentary entitled "Confession of Erdogan" in Hurriyet Daily News.com (15.05.10), Yusuf Kanli notes that PM Erdogan "made an incredible gaffe" as he was departing for his "landmark 'solidarity trip' to Greece." Recounting that perhaps Erdogan "was caught unprepared, was not reading from a prepared text and revealed his true mentality" when he said "that the decision of the YSK [Supreme Electoral Board] setting Sept. 12 as the referendum date is a product of a forced interpretation, a political decision" and that "unfortunately the Constitutional Court has become a some sort of 'Main Opposition Court' over the past years" as regards the appeal of the CHP for the annulment of the package," Kanli adds: "In saying this, Erdogan did not hide his anger with the YSK decision and the CHP's appeal to the high court. Yet, the reaction of Erdogan to both the YSK decision on the referendum date and the CHP taking the package to the high court reminds --with no intent to hurt Roma-- a Turkish saying, 'The bravest of the gypsies lists his crimes as he boasts about his achievements. It is apparent that the next target of Erdogan will be making amendments in the structure and duties of the YSK and domesticating it as well."

    In an article entitled "Referendum campaigns will not focus on the package", Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Aktay (15.05.10) criticizes the Supreme Election Council (YSK) for arranging for the referendum on the constitutional amendment package to take place some 120 days rather than 60 days after it was approved by the president. After censuring the YSK's decision as one showing that the YSK shares the ideological and political outlook of other higher judicial bodies affiliated with the Establishment, Aktay claims that the decision is intended to serve a number of practical purposes such as providing the Constitutional Court with sufficient time to hear the CHP's appeal against the reform package and getting the public to turn against the package by causing them to be fed up with what will become a prolonged debate over it. He also asserts that the Opposition is counting on a possible escalation of terrorist attacks in summer to fuel anti-AKP sentiments, eventually lowering the chances of the package being approved by the people.

    In an article entitled "Could the plan be thwarted by an early election?", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru (15.05.10) comments on the "power game" in Ankara between the ruling AKP on the one hand and the CHP and the Constitutional Court on the other. He claims that if the top court upholds the CHP's appeal against the constitutional amendment package, Turkey's hopes of turning into an advanced and prosperous democracy will be destroyed. He also advises the Government to look into taking advantage of the YSK's decision on the date of the referendum to call an early general election the same day the referendum is scheduled to take place, asserting that if the Constitutional Court rules in favour of the CHP's appeal, the election will turn into a vote of confidence for the ruling AKP and discussions on the Constitution will become the main substance of the election campaign.

    In an article entitled "Judicial system is in disarray. Be ready for any rulings", Vakit columnist Ali Ihsan Karahasanoglu (15.05.10) cites the YSK's decision on the date of the referendum on the reform package and the Constitutional Court's acceptance of the CHP's appeal without requiring all the 111 appellants to individually confirm their endorsement of the CHP's application as manifestations of a general malaise in the judicial system which suggests that the top court might well go out of its way to uphold the CHP's appeal by issuing a ruling based on the merits of the case rather than on procedural considerations.

    EG/


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