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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-07-05

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. 124/10 03-05.07.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Eroglu calls on the Greek Cypriots to make sacrifices
  • [02] Bagis said that Cyprus problem was put as a pre-condition for Turkeys EU membership
  • [03] DP withdrew its support from the self-styled government
  • [04] A bi-communal memorial ceremony at occupied Palekythro impeded
  • [05] Investors interest for the occupied areas declines revenue from property transfer increases
  • [06] Economic measures and taxes reduce deficit; Warning strike today8. Cooperation agreement between illegal YDU hospital and Moldova State University
  • [07] Debt to Turkish hospitals increased to 3.5 million Turkish liras
  • [08] Cooperation agreement between illegal YDU hospital and Moldova State University
  • [09] Students to receive Quran lessons in Turkey
  • [10] Jennifer Lopez in occupied Cyprus Turkish Prime Minister at the official opening of Cratos Premium Hotel on July 20
  • [11] Turkish deputy resigned from AKP. AKPs seats decreased to 335
  • [12] Turkeys policy on visa exemption
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] Turkeys entry into EU will be a model against clash of cultures
  • [14] From the Turkish Press of 2, 3 and 4 July 2010

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Eroglu calls on the Greek Cypriots to make sacrifices

    Illegal Bayrak television (online, 02.07.10) reports that during a meeting with the Chairman of the Cyprus Turkish Fighters Association, Vural Turkmen the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said the solution of the Cyprus problem depends on the Greek Cypriot sides attitude. We can reach an agreement if they accept our right to live on this soil, Eroglu added.

    Referring to his talks with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Eroglu noted that it was important to continue the negotiations until the end of the year, reminding that the UN SCs report on Cyprus would be shaped in November. He also underlined that the Greek Cypriot side has to make sacrifices if a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem is to be achieved.

    [02] Bagis said that Cyprus problem was put as a pre-condition for Turkeys EU membership

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (03.07.10) reports that Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis, addressing a forum in Istanbul on Saturday, organized by Turkish-Italian Friendship Foundation, said that Turkey would not be safe as long as Europe is not safe, and vice versa.

    Bagis said that Italy is the country with the highest increased in its bilateral commerce with Turkey in the last eight years. He added Turkey and Italy supported each other in defence issues, international efforts and targets.

    He said the Cyprus issue is presented as a pre-condition for Turkey's EU membership, though this was not the case with Greek Cypriot administration's EU membership. This, he said, is a double standard approach but Turkey is patient.

    Bagis said that if direct trade began between TRNC and EU countries, and if European airlines started to use Ercan Airport [occupied airport of Tymvou], then Turkey might open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels.

    Bagis said that Turkey's EU accession process will be accelarated as of September 30.

    [03] DP withdrew its support from the self-styled government

    Illegal Bayrak television (online, 02.07.10) reports that the Democrat Party (DP) has withdrawn its support from the self-styled National Unity Party (UBP) minority government as of June 27. A statement released by the DP press office said this was unanimous decision of the Central Executive Committee which was later approved by the Party Assembly. The decision is a reaction to UBP governments approach regarding the Cyprus Turkish Airlines.

    [04] A bi-communal memorial ceremony at occupied Palekythro impeded

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (05.07.10) reports that a group of Turkish and Greek Cypriots, who lost relatives during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, yesterday visited the occupied Palekythro and Maratha villages and attempted to lay flowers in the site where their loved ones lost their lives.

    The bi-communal group met at Kermiya area [Agios Dometios barricade] and first visited occupied Palekythro, escorted by the self-styled police. The group was intercepted by police at the entrance of the village and it was told that the inhabitants of Palekythro do not want it to enter the village. The members of the group questioned the right of the Turkish Cypriot village head to close the road and asked for their help to enter the village. The police said they could not interfere. A quarrel followed between the group and the village head, who closed the road with the aid of some of the inhabitants of Palekythro. The flowers and wreaths were left at the entrance of the village. The head of the Palekythro and some Turkish settlers took the flowers and the wreath and put them at the bust of Kemal Ataturk which has been built by the Turks in the village.

    Afterwards the bi-communal group visited occupied Maratha village where flowers and wreaths were laid in memory of Turkish Cypriots who were killed in 1974. (I/Ts.)

    [05] Investors interest for the occupied areas declines revenue from property transfer increases

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.07.10) reports that Ayse Donmezer, director of the Cyprus Turkish Investment Development Agency (YAGA) which is bound to the self-styled prime ministers office, has complained that bureaucracy in the occupied areas of Cyprus caused problems to investors. She said that YAGA advises local and foreign investors on projects in the occupied areas, but added that the number of investors seeking these services fell by 75 % in 2010. She said that seven projects prepared by YAGA such as care centres for old people, projects for special interest, tourism and marinas, are hindered by bureaucracy.

    Mrs Donmezer said that the number of investors who requested information from YAGA on investment possibilities in the occupied areas was 269 in 2008, 86 in 2009 and 36 until May 2010. She noted that bureaucracy, the global economic crisis and the Orams case are the reasons for the decrease. Mrs Donmezer pointed out that local and foreign investors applied for making 47 projects in the occupied areas of Cyprus, but YAGA expects that only four of these projects will be concluded.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.07.10) reports that Hasan Sungur, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Real Estate Agents Union (KTEB) said that the income of the breakaway regime from transfer of title-deeds and taxes from the purchase and transfer of property increased during the period 2007-2009. Under the title 31 million in one year, Kibris writes Sungur noted that the transfer of title-deeds increased by 59% during the period 2007-2009. He said 6.570 transfers of title-deeds were carried out in 2007, 7.420 in 2008 and 10.471 in 2009. Sungur also noted that the income of the breakaway regime from these transfers was 19.478.098 Turkish liras (TL) in 2007, 20.490.767 TL in 2008 and 31.727.977 TL in 2009.

    He noted that the number of property sales in the occupied areas has not decreased and that only the type of properties has changed. He pointed out the lack of confidence among the people who are reluctant with building contractors, lawyers and the real estate agents.

    Sungur said that the number of the local building contractors has decreased and that a real estate agency closing down in the TRNC, is substituted by two foreign building contractors. He expressed the view that the services sector which supports the constructions sector in the occupied areas of Cyprus have passed under the control of British contractors and other foreigners and argued that these firms avoid paying taxes in the TRNC.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Economic measures and taxes reduce deficit; warning strike today

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (05.07.10) reports that the self-styled minister of finance, Ersin Tatar, evaluated the economic measures taken and stated that these measures were necessary in order to reduce the deficit.

    Tatar said that when the National Unity Party (UBP) came to power, the deficit was 500-Turkish Million Lira. This amount was much bigger than the income of the state and the 205- Turkish Million Liras financial aid from Turkey. With the efforts exerted, the deficit has been reduced to 200 - Turkish Million Liras, Tatar said.

    Commenting on the reaction on taxation imposed on pensioners Tatar stated that at the moment the number of the pensioners in occupied Cyprus is 37,000 of which only 7,000, who receive pension over two-thousand Turkish Lira, will be taxed.

    In addition, under the title Life will stop today, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (05.07.10), reports that because of the economic measures and the developments as regards the Turkish Cypriot airlines, 35 Trade Unions, organizations or pensioners and civil society organizations, are striking today to protest against these developments. According to the paper, this is a warning strike and if the demands of the trade unions will not be satisfied, a strike for an indefinite period of time will start as from tomorrow.

    (CS)

    [07] Debt to Turkish hospitals increased to 3.5 million Turkish liras

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.07.10) reports that the self-styled minister of health, Ahmet Kasif said that the breakaway regimes debt to Ankara Medical Faculty reached 3.5 million Turkish liras (TL) from year 2005 until today. Kasif recalled that the health council of the breakaway regime sends patients to various hospitals in Turkey and therefore owes money to Ankara Medical Faculty and Capa Medical Faculty of Istanbul.

    The paper writes that either the patients cannot have the necessary treatment because the breakaway regime is not able pay its debts or they are forced to pay the money out of their own pocket. Citing information from Ankara Medical Faculty, Kibris say that 8.529 persons were referred to it from the occupied areas during the period 2005-May 2010. The hospital cannot collect its payment which reaches 3.530.420 TL.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Cooperation agreement between illegal YDU hospital and Moldova State University

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (05.07.10) reports that the hospital of the illegal Near East University (YDU) has began receiving patients after the positive reports by the so-called ministry of health. According to a written statement by YDU, construction of the hospital follows international standards. Moreover, they will no longer have to travel abroad for medical case.

    Furthermore, the announcement stated that the illegal university has signed an agreement of cooperation with the State University of Moldova. It is added that present at the signing of the agreement was also the Gagauzia President Mikhail Makarovich Formuzal.

    (EA)

    [09] Students to receive Quran lessons in Turkey

    Turkish daily Islamic Zaman newspaper (02.07.10) writes that following the psychological and actual pressure imposed on the occupation regime as regards the Quran lessons, the families of children who want to take these lessons have sent their children.

    According to the paper, around a 1,000 families asked, verbally and in writing from the so-called religious affairs department in occupied Cyprus, the summer Quran lessons to take place in Turkey.

    The Turkish Cypriot Human Rights and Freedoms Association, which made accommodation reservations for the students at Istanbul and Kayseri under the supervision of the Turkeys Religious Affairs Ministry.

    The chairman of the Association, Hasan Dede Tarhan, accused the government of not facilitating Quran classes and added these are organized in Turkey, following the families demand. He added that 250 students are travelling to Turkey for the courses. The paper writes that a group of 150 students are leaving today and that the second group of 100 students at a later stage.

    (CS)

    [10] Jennifer Lopez in occupied Cyprus Turkish Prime Minister at the official opening of Cratos Premium Hotel on July 20

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (05.07.10) reports that Cratos Premium Hotel board of directors chairman Murat Bozoglu dismissed reports in the Greek Cypriot media that Jennifer Lopez has cancelled her participation to the grand opening of the hotel on July 20.

    Bozoglu claimed that Greeks put pressure on Lopez not to visit the TRNC and she even receives threats. However, he said the actress has signed a contract.

    Bozoglu said the Cratos Premium Hotel is the biggest tourism investment on the island and that the opening will be broadcast live to 193 countries in the world by Fashion TV. This significant tourism event is not only important for the promotion of the TRNC, but also for the whole island, he said. Bozoglu also referred to actions of Cypriots in the US to halt the visit.

    Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (04.07.10) reports on statements of Murat Bozoglu that BozGroup, operating in the field of constructions, has received a lot of new proposals since the construction of the hotel for projects such as a shopping mall, as well as, the construction of villas in the occupied areas of Cyprus. He added that at the opening 2.500 persons will be invited and that the cost of the hotels opening will reach 5 million dollars.

    (EA)

    [11] Turkish deputy resigned from AKP. AKPs seats decreased to 335

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News newspaper (02.07.10) reports that the ruling Justice and Development Party, (AKP's), Istanbul deputy Murat Basesgioglu resigned from the party Friday.

    Basesgioglu, who has a center-right background and came to the AKP from the Motherland Party, (ANAP), served as interior minister between June 1997 and August 2008 under ANAP.

    He has been engaged in politics in the ranks of the AKP since 2002 when the party came to power and he served as labour minister from November 2002 to August 2007.

    Basesgioglu was known for his opposition to the government's Kurdish move to end the terror problem in the country. He voiced his reaction to the Kurdish initiative at the AKP's Kizilcahamam gathering, and he has also criticized the government-led constitutional amendments.

    In a written statement on Friday, Basesgioglu said the strong diversity of views with his party on the country's basic problems prevented him from engaging in politics under the banner of the AKP. He said he had earlier notified Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan about his decision both verbally and in writing, but now he was carrying out his delayed decision.

    With this development the number of AKP's seats in Parliament decreased to 335.

    [12] Turkeys policy on visa exemption

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (online, 04.07.10) cites Anatolia news agency according to which.

    Thanks to intense diplomatic efforts and Turkey's zero-problem policy with its neighbours in the recent times, the number of countries which do not require visas from Turkish citizens has risen to 61, officials told the Anatolia news agency on Sunday.

    Mehmet Buyukeksi, the head of Turkish Exporters' Assembly (T0M), said that visa exemptions had positive effect on Turkey's foreign trade.

    Noting that visa exemption was of great importance for businessmen Buyukeksi said: A significant number of producers who had not previously thought about carrying out exports activities now started to deal with exports as travelling is much easier. Pointing to EU's visa procedures against Turkish citizens, Buyukeksi said: Our products move freely in Europe, but our businessmen cannot.

    Buyukeksi said that talks were being held on such issue currently, adding the problem should be solved as soon as possible.

    At least our businessmen should have the right to free movement in Europe, he said.

    In an interview with AA, chairperson of Turkish Employers' Association of Construction Industries (INTES) Sukru Kocoglu also said that lifting of visas would provide Turkish businessmen with important advantages.

    Kocoglu said his association wanted the visa procedures with the EU, Gulf countries and North Africa to be lifted.

    Turkey currently has visa exemption agreements with a total of 61 countries and special administrative regions.

    These are Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Albania, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Morocco, Fiji, Philippines, Guatemala, South Africa, Georgia, Haiti, Croatia, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iran, Jamaica, Japan, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Colombia, South Korea, Kosovo, Qatar, Costa Rica, Libya, Lebanon, Macau, Macedonia, Maldives, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Palau, Paraguay, Russia, St. Vincent-Grenadines, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Syria, Swaziland, Chile, Thailand, Trinidad-Tobago, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uruguay, Jordan and Venezuela.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] Turkeys entry into EU will be a model against clash of cultures

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (online, 05.07.10) hosts an interview with Ruprecht Polenz, chairman of the German Bundestags Committee on Foreign Affairs, who has recently published a book entitled Better for both: Turkey belongs in the EU (which has not yet been translated into English).

    In his book, Polenz argues that one of the challenges the West faces is how to fight international Islamic terrorism and says, we want to fight it together with our Muslim allies.

    In the interview Polenz says, inter alia, that Germany is not the major obstacle to Turkeys accession to the EU. He said stabilization, political and economic development in the Black Sea and the Middle East can be better influenced with Turkey than without it.

    Polenz also stressed Turkeys key importance in the EUs energy supply and security. He added that Turkeys accession will send the message that Europe does not want a clash of cultures and that it wants to fight international Islamic terrorism with its Muslim allies.

    Responding to a question whether new chapters will be opened during the Belgian Presidency, Polenz noted the importance of the Cyprus issue to domestic Turkish politics. However, he pointed out, if it is used as a bargaining chip, this would lead to a larger slowdown in the negotiations process. Turkey will not be able to join the club without recognizing another member of the club. And yes, we have to improve trade relations with northern Cyprus. There is some activity in the European Parliament with regard to this question, and the EU should be more active in solving the conflict on the island. Many of the reasons related to security on the island are no longer valid because of Cypruss membership in the EU, he added.

    [14] From the Turkish Press of 2, 3 and 4 July 2010

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish Press of 2, 3 and 4 July 2010:

    a) Turkey-Israel Secret Meeting:

    During his secret meeting with the Israeli Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eli'ezer in Brussels, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, asked Ben-Eli'ezer to convey the following five Turkish demands to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: an apology for the flotilla raid, payment of indemnity, establishment of an independent international commission, lifting of the Gaza embargo, and return of the three ships. Informing the readers of the Brussels meeting, Hurriyet (02.07.10) says the Turkish Foreign Ministry sources are stressing that the Turkish side met Ben-Eli'ezer not in his capacity as minister but in his capacity as Prime Minister Netanyahu's "personal representative," that the request for the meeting came from the Israeli side, and that while the Israeli Defense Minister was kept informed of the meeting, care was taken to hide the meeting from Foreign Minister Avignor Lieberman. The paper adds that at the secret meeting at Crowne Plaza Hotel, the sides also fixed the location and the date for the next secret meeting to create the climate for a healthy dialogue between the two countries.

    A Star (02.07.10) report says that at the meeting the Israeli side expressed the wish to normalize the ties, implied readiness to compensate some of the Turkish families, and asked Turkey to give to the Israeli commission the chance to investigate the raid. In response, Davutoglu has told the Israeli side that Turkey has already listed its demands in its diplomatic note to Israel and, therefore, the improvement of ties would depend on the steps to be taken by Israel. The paper also reports that speaking at the Turkish parliament, Davutoglu said that at the Brussels meeting the Turkish side had the opportunity of directly voicing its demands and that the request for secrecy came from the Israeli side, an open meeting would have been impossible when even a secret meeting "maddened" the Israelis. Star adds that during Obama-Netanyahu meeting in Washington on 7 July, Obama is going to gently convey Turkey's demands to the Israelis.

    Noting that the Israeli side claims the request for the secret meeting came from Turkey and the Turkish side claims the opposite, Akif Beki says in his column in Radikal (02.07.10) that such secret meetings are normal, what one should focus on is the result, if any. Beki believes there is as yet not enough evidence about the outcome of the talks, but it is a positive step towards normalizing relations. The very isolation of Lieberman from the diplomatic process should be regarded as a success of its own.

    Taha Akyol declares in his column in Milliyet (02.07.10) says that the request for the meeting came from Israel because Netanyahu wanted to meet Obama on 7 July with some positive achievement in his hands. Akyol says Davutoglu did the right thing in meeting Ben-Eli'ezer as it showed Turkey to be a moderate country open to dialogue. It also gave the Turkish side the opportunity to directly voice its demands, says Akyol, adding that with this step Turkey will also freeze the activities of those lobbies which are now arrayed against Turkey. Akyol also informs his readers that two American diplomats were also present at the meeting, but does not give their names. Akyol believes further steps between the two countries might even lead to the auspicious result of ousting Lieberman from Israeli politics.

    After stating that the meeting was jointly produced by Obama and Netanyahu and put on the table by Obama and Prime Minister Erdogan, and after noting that a quick apology and compensation by Israel might help Erdogan at the general elections, Cengiz Candar wonders in his column in Hurriyet (02.07.10) whether in return for acceding to Obama's request to improve ties with Israel Erdogan managed to secure a concrete concession from Obama in the fight against the PKK. Another question that still remains unclear is what will Turkey's response be if Israel apologizes and pays compensation.

    Ferai Tinc says in her column in Hurriyet (02.07.10) that for her the secrecy of the talks is not important, what is important is restoration of mutual trust between Israel and Turkey, for the sour relations carry foreign and domestic risks for Turkey. She says Turkish demands are vague and in particular Erdogan's linkage of improved ties to the lifting of the Gaza blockade might make the improvement of ties difficult, which will then enable the AKP to manipulate the Gaza issue for election purposes.

    In an article entitled "Israel will pay a price. It should", Yeni Safak (02.07.10) columnist Ibrahim Karagul asserts that Washington has started to put pressure on Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip in a move that has "disappointed" commentators in Turkey who had expected the United States to take measures to have the AKP ejected from power in response to its reaction to Israel in the crisis over the Gaza flotilla. He also asserts that Israel "should be made to pay for confronting Turkey and openly attacking it" through moves and policies that hurt its economic interests and its plans regarding the Middle East, Iran, and the Caucasus.

    Despite the fact that improvement in Turkish-Israeli ties in the near future is highly unlikely, the secret meeting between Foreign Minister Davutoglu and Israeli Minister Ben-Eli'ezer is a positive development, opines Semih Idiz in Milliyet (03.07.10). Idiz quotes Stephen Larrabee from the Rand Corporation about the growing discontent with the AKP government among the US Congress members, adding that the Obama Administration is concerned about the deterioration of Turkish-US ties. Idiz maintains that the AKP government will probably use the crisis with Israel in the coming elections and recalls that the Turkish-Armenian ties are also at a stalemate. Consequently, new crises are on the horizon in relations with the United States, asserts Idiz and infers that the amelioration in Turkish-Israeli ties turns into a "precondition" for amelioration in Turkish-US ties. Noting that this is not a positive development for Turkey, Idiz concludes that the diplomacy's duty is to create solutions to prevent such situations and that hard days await Davutoglu.

    Hurriyet, Milliyet, Vatan, and Radikal (04.07.10) give banner headlines to a report taken from the LondonAl-Hayah that at his meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan last week, President Obama warned him that "if an international investigation is conducted on the deadly flotilla affair as Turkey desires, then some of the passengers and the IHH [Humanitarian Relief Foundation] members on the Mavi Marmara may face charges, too." According to the more extensive story in Vatan, last week Erdogan was insisting on an apology from Israel, compensation to the victims, the lifting of the siege on Gaza, and an international investigation into the incident, but after his meeting with Obama, the demand for an international investigation was dropped.

    The meeting between the Turkish and Israeli ministers in Brussels probably pleased President Obama the most, Milliyet's (04.07.10) Kadri Gursel announces. The columnist argues that President Obama wants to appease those Congressmen angry at Turkey for its "nay" vote at the UN Security Council by telling them that Turkey and Israel are holding talks to set their ties back on track. The meeting must have aided the Obama administration politically, Gursel says, adding: "The normalization of Turkish-Israeli ties is of critical importance for the future of Turkish-US relations." The columnist points out that while Turkey insists on an Israeli apology, Israel is adamant not to apologize. "Time is not on the side of either party," Gursel concludes.

    In an article entitled "Grand designs and unexpected results", Sunday's Zaman (04.07.10) columnist Dogu Ergil comments on "two problems" with the ruling AKP's efforts to make Turkey emerge as "the leader of a new Muslim world," namely "a rift between the Arab streets and the Arab palaces" and the Government's conduct of relations with "most Muslim countries" indirectly "through their links with powerful Western states, mainly the US." He also comments on the AKP's "fatal errors" in relations with Israel and Iran and predicts that what with an approaching referendum and election and military pressures on the Government to "drop accusations" against Israel, Prime Minister Erdogan will have to "heed Obama's advice" on how Turkey should deal with these two countries at a new meeting between the two leaders to take place soon.

    b) Kurdish issue:

    After noting that on 24 June the National Security Council under President Gul discussed the danger of a civil strife in case the PKK and Kurdish municipalities declared a "democratic autonomy," which would amount to a demand of equal power-sharing in Turkey, Murat Yetkin says in his column in Radikal that it was precisely for this reason that Erdogan told Obama to take measure against the PKK "as soon as possible." Yetkin says the urgency of Erdogan's appeal might be a sign that if the PKK leaders are not extradited to Turkey as soon as possible, the Turkish army might do more in northern Iraq than merely shell the PKK positions.

    After noting that the PKK could never eliminate Hizbullah because of the state's indirect support for Hizbullah -- the state only turned against Hizbullah when it felt it had weakened the PKK --, Rusen Cakir says in his column in Vatan (02.07.10) that he for the first time managed to have a chat with some Hizbullah members to ascertain their position towards the PKK and the state. Cakir says the request for the meeting came from Hizbullah itself, which shows its desire to be part of the democratic overture. Cakir says from his conversations he gathered the impression that Hizbullah, which has a strong grass roots following among Kurds in both Turkey and Europe, does not want to enter into any clash with the PKK, that it has managed to ease the fears of the Gulen community, which had been pillorying Hizbullah as a tool of Ergenekon, that they want the state to stop bothering Hizbullah's young followers and involve Hizbullah too in the democratization process, and that Hizbullah wants to become a legal and legitimate power inside the Kurdish political movement.

    In an article entitled "Looks like we are in for a storm", Yeni Safak columnist (02.07.10) Fehmi Koru comments on what he refers to as Prime Minister Erdogan's suggestion during his meeting with Barack Obama in Toronto that NATO assume an active role alongside Turkey in the fight against the terrorist PKK. Koru asserts that Erdogan's proposal should serve as "a serious warning" to "those who invest in terrorism," reminding them of the Government's resolve to make Turkey a "terror-free country." He also expresses concern that the prime minister's remarks suggest that the Government is pondering the adoption of military measures on an unprecedented scale in the fight against terrorism.

    In an article entitled "Where are Neocons and the PKK headed?", Vakit (02.07.10) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that the PKK's latest terrorist strikes are causing it to look like a "Trojan horse" manipulated by the Ergenekon network and Israel. He also claims that in "trying to push the United States into war against Iran on Israel's side," neo-conservatives in the United States have started to challenge Barack Obama in a way similar to how Ergenekon challenges Prime Minister Erdogan in Turkey, a situation that he claims is serving to bring Obama and Erdogan closer to one another.

    Cengiz Candar points out that some circles believe and spread the view that "the PKK is an extension of Ergenekon," in his column in Radikal (03.07.10).

    Noting that a connection between the PKK and Ergenekon would make life easier for government circles, Candar asserts, however, that viewing the PKK as Ergenekon's extension is "one of the biggest absurdities" that can be seen in Turkey. The Kurdish issue cannot be resolved by ignoring the sociological dimension of the PKK and its direct and "organic" connection to the Kurdish population, Candar maintains and expresses concern that the government is returning to view the Kurdish issue as a matter of security and terrorism. Candar criticizes Erdogan for mentioning NATO against the PKK in his meeting with US President Obama, noting that this approach humiliates Turkey, increases PKK's power, and does not tally with the reality of the situation. Seeking military solutions to the Kurdish issue will lead Turkey to the "army's lap," Candar asserts and warns that neither the Ergenekon case, nor the Justice and Development Party, AKP, government would survive as a result. Recalling that 99 NGOs issued a collective statement calling for "mutual ceasefire," Candar believes that the PKK cannot continue to escalate armed struggle for a long time because the Kurdish people will not support it. Candar concludes that, as long as the Kurds are not "united" with Turkey, the Kurdish issue cannot be resolved.

    Hurriyet's (03.07.10) Ertugrul Ozkok analyzes military's state of mind through an article in Yenicag, a daily supporting the Nationalist Action Party, about an "off the record" conversation between a columnist of the daily and General Ilker Basbug, chief of the General Staff, and other top military officials. Noting that a ground operation in northern Iraq appears to be on the agenda of the army, Ozkok adds that Basbug and other officials reportedly refused to comment on the recent crisis with Israel. Ozkok maintains that the most important message conveyed by the military is the fact that the top officials chose to speak to the columnist of a "radical nationalist" daily while the Ergenekon trial is going on. The Ergenekon case, according to the Yenicag columnist who wrote his "impressions" from the meeting, is evidently a story created to destabilize the Turkish Armed Forces and that "foreign powers and their internal subcontractors" are behind it. Pointing out that the "subcontractor" theory has reached the Office of the General Staff as well, Ozkok concludes that, in Turkey, everybody ascribes his or her weaknesses and failures to "subcontractors" and gets along.

    In an article entitled "Kurdish state", Zaman (04.07.10) columnist Mumtazer Turkone comments on the concept of a "Kurdish state" in light of Murat Basesgioglu's resignation as an AKP deputy on the grounds that the AKP's Kurdish overture is part of a foreign project to establish an independent Kurdish state on Turkish soil. Explaining why a Kurdish state over part of Turkey is not a realistic possibility, Turkone argues that this country possesses "powerful integration dynamics," that it offers a viable administrative model that is better than any that could be provided by an independent Kurdish entity, and that "a Kurdish state founded by the PKK would be a hell that Kurds would flee at the first opportunity." He also asserts that "the threat of a Kurdish state" is an expedient scare tactic that allows both the Turkish establishment and the terrorist PKK to perpetuate the Kurdish problem.

    c) Turkeys domestic affairs issues

    Mehmet Ali Birand says in his column in Hurriyet (02.07.10) that Kilicdaroglu is changing the CHP by employing the tactic of putting forward an idea he wants to implement and then refining it according to the public reaction. Birand adds that despite the refutation of his own statement, Kilicdaroglu indicated that he will be more flexible on headscarf in universities than Baykal was. Birand says with this new approach Kilicdaroglu is broadening the CHP's base and, besides, he is doing that without provoking any reaction from the party. In his column Birand is also surprised that there was no press reaction to RTUK's [High Radio and Television Board] decision to censure and punish HaberTurk television and its moderator Fatih Altayli for not silencing Sevan Nisanyan during a televised debate on the Armenian issue. Birand says confronted with the comical mentality of the RTUK, no television will dare to air any debate program.

    Fikret Bila in his column in Milliyet (02.07.10) carries an interview with CHP leader Kilicdaroglu. At first Bila notes that MHP leader Bahceli already rejected Prime Minister Erdogan's invitation to a meeting to discuss the terror incidents on the grounds that only the president of the country could invite party leaders to his presence. Bila then quotes Kilicdaroglu as saying that only the president could invite the party leaders to a meeting, whereas the prime minister should himself visit the parties to brief them about developments. Kilicdaroglu argues that by his disparaging remarks against the opposition leaders Erdogan actually wants to sabotage any such meeting. Kilicdaroglu adds that he will welcome a visit from Erdogan. Asked about his claim that he alone can solve the Kurdish and headscarf issues, Kilicdaroglu simply says, "only we can solve Turkey's chronic problems. We will solve these problems under CHP government."

    Ahmet Hakan says in his column in Hurriyet (02.07.10) that the following segments of the society are fed up with Prime Minister Erdogan: Businessmen, Anatolian nationalists, people of Thrace, urban women, middle class that cannot tolerate polemics and strife, moderate Kurds, liberals, poor religious people who have no share in the pie, socialists, young people using the Internet, university students, and those whose roots go back to the Democrat Party. Hakan adds ironically that this vanishing group is now being replaced in the party by Environment Minister Veysel Eroglu, who launched a "jihad" against entertainment joints in Istanbul, Rize Mayor Halil Bakirci who angered the Kurds with his suggestion that Turkish men should take Kurdish women as their mistresses to peacefully solve the Kurdish problem, and Gusamettin Erdogan, a bureaucrat close to PM Erdogan and a local educational official in Istanbul who used state funds to visit 160 countries. Hakan also speculates that the Ankara police chief Orhan Ozdemir may have been detained at the orders of Erdogan because Ozdemir was openly anti-Erdogan and pro-Gul.

    In an article entitled "Coalition to finish off the AK Party, bring Turkey to its knees", Today's Zaman (02.07.10) Editor-in-Chief Bulent Kenes slams an anti-AKP "coalition" including the PKK, the Peace and Democracy Party, BDP, the Nationalist Action Party, MHP, the CHP, "secret power centers within the military" as well as the judiciary, certain "remnants of the old National View [Organization]," the Israeli lobby in the United States and "neo-con circles" in Washington for what he refers to as its efforts to reverse the "positive" course of economic and political developments at home under the Erdogan government.

    Derya Sazak refers to CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu's statement denying that he said in his interview with Radikal (03.07.10) that the CHP would allow headscarved women to attend universities, in his column entitled "Timid Democrat" in Milliyet. Maintaining that Kilicdaroglu's statement shows that he "cannot solve" this issue, Sazak adds that Kilicdaroglu adopts a similar approach toward the Kurdish issue as well. Sazak criticizes Kilicdaroglu for saying "we will put an end to terrorism" but not talking about the Kurdish issue. Recalling former steps taken by social democrats and AKP's recent overture on the Kurdish issue, Sazak concludes that Kilicdaroglu's "leftist and democratic" identity is not enough to understand what his solution is to the Kurdish issue and that he has to speak more clearly.

    Radikal's (03.07.10) Ismet Berkan also criticizes CHP leader Kilicdaroglu for lowering the standard in the political arena by engaging in various insignificant issues. Noting that expectations with regard to Kilicdaroglu are high in the public and that a "Kilicdaroglu wind" is blowing in the media, Berkan maintains that Kilicdaroglu appears to be a disappointment. Politicians who aspire to rule the country should at least know well the legal frame of the issues before making public statements such as "we will resolve," Berkan asserts, and concludes that if Kilicdaroglu has come up with a solution to the headscarf issue, he should not wait the CHP to come to power and share it with the AKP now.

    EG/


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