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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 10-09-20
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No. 179/10 18-20.09.10
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS
[B] TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESSAn interview by Dervis Eroglu to Kibris newspaper on the recent developments regarding the Cyprus problem, statements by Mehmet Ali Talat on the Cyprus problem, statements by Kudret Ozersay on the opening of Limnitis Pyrgos crossing point, interest by Russian businessmen to invest in the occupied part of Cyprus, and other internal issues are the main topics covered by the Turkish Cypriot press over the weekend.
 Eroglu alleges that there are no refugees left in CyprusUnder the title It is difficult by the end of the year, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (19.09.10) publishes an interview with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu. Responding to questions by journalist Serhat Incirli, Eroglu reiterated that he wants a solution by the end of the year, but it seems that this will not happen. He said that they understand each other very well with President Christofias during the social activities and that they treat each other with respect during the negotiations, but they have serious differences on the issue of the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Responding to a comment by the journalist that it seems that there is absolutely no reconciliation of differences on the property issue and that the sides are far from each other, Eroglu admitted that this is true and alleged that the proposals of the Turkish side are reasonable, while the proposals of the Greek Cypriot side address the issue as if nothing happened on the island. He added: As if the 1963-1974 period did not happen. As if 1974 did not happen. The proposals are made in this manner. According to the Greek Cypriot proposals, the Greek Cypriots will come to their properties freely, as if the incidents did not happen, or they will rent their properties to the Turks. We say that 36 years passed since then. Thirty five years ago an agreement regarding the exchange of population was signed. The Turks migrated from the south to the north and the Greeks to the opposite direction. There are realities which occurred in the north. There are realities in the south and in my view there are no refugees left on either side. I am saying that we should take into consideration todays realities. If we are looking for a viable agreement, we must take these realities into consideration.
Asked whether he is saying that the Greek Cypriots should forget the return to their properties, Eroglu said no and that a certain number of those who want to return could return. A new socioeconomic structure of the people who work on these lands has been created in the north for 35 years now. If we want an agreement which will not last, then the Greek Cypriot proposals are okay. However, we want a lasting agreement, we want a viable agreement There is an established system. If we ruin it, we will be at each others throat within a short period of time
Eroglu reiterated his view that the property issue should be settled through compensation and exchange of property and added that the return of property should be limited in order for the agreement to be viable. We do not deny that the properties of the Greek Cypriots belong to them. We are suggesting compensation, we are suggesting exchange, he noted.
Eroglu alleged that President Christofias is trying to prolong the negotiations and that everybody is aware of this.
Eroglu said that during this recent visit to Brussels he told his interlocutors that the Turkish Cypriots want implementation of the Direct Trade Regulation, but this is not enough and added that the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots should be lifted. He noted that the Europeans told him that the Cyprus problem should be solved in Cyprus by the Cypriots, that they [the Turkish Cypriots] are right but the EU cannot launch a campaign against its own members.
Eroglu said he will most probably meet with the UN Secretary-General on 25 September in New York and added that he will not meet with President Christofias there because the latter does not accept such a meeting.
Asked whether his positions changed now compared to the past, Eroglu said, inter alia, the following: I have not remained in 1974. I am looking for an agreement taking into consideration the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights since 1974. However, Christofias wants the Greek Cypriots to have the same property as in 1974. He demands that those who will not return should rent their properties to the Turks. It is not possible for us to accept this. We will be annihilated. The moment we ruin this structure, we will cease to exist.
Asked whether the issue of the occupied closed city of Varosha came onto the agenda during his contacts in Brussels, Eroglu said that the issue was raised only once and that he replied that this is a part of the comprehensive solution.
He added: I think that the letter of Christofias regarding Varosha did not attract attention at all. No one brought up this issue. Neither Barosso nor the others.
Eroglu noted that he raised the issue of the opening of Limnitis crossing point during this contacts in Brussels and that he told the Commissioner responsible for the Enlargement of the EU, Fule, that they want to conclude the issue when the latter visits Cyprus. Today Kudret Ozersay went to the area. It will end by the 14 of the month, he added.
When Serhat Incirli brought up the issue of the increasing crime in the occupied areas of Cyprus and pointed out that many people relate this with the uncontrolled inflow of population, Eroglu replied: As long as the population increases, the number of some undesirable incidents increases as well. There are people who came from Turkey to Cyprus and became citizens and there are people who came as workers. There are disparities sometimes and conflict might occur in such an environment Eroglu said that it is not possible to prevent the crimes completely.
When asked to comment on the fact that the Greek Cypriot side often raises the issue of Turkish settlers who became citizens of the regime and those who have a work permit and work in the occupied areas of the island, Eroglu said:
Christofias wants us definitely to discuss the territory and the refugees, when we discuss the property issue. I do not accept this. The territory is a separate chapter. The issue of the refugees was discussed with esteemed Talat for a while. We have to separate those who are citizens of the TRNC and those who are not. Of course, this issue will be discussed again. However, I will not discuss any other issue before the settlement of the property. The TRNC citizens are a different category on the issue of the refugees. Those who came as labour force are here now. Tomorrow they might not be here. Of course we can discuss this.
Referring to the results of the referendum in Turkey, Eroglu said that there are some circles which expect Turkey to be more generous in Cyprus after these results. However, he added, they should not forget that the referendum was one thing and Cyprus is another. It is wrong for them to expect a policy of concessions which will please the Greek Cypriots, he noted.
 Talat: Eroglus real aim is for the negotiations to be interrupted but not be blamed for itTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis (19.09.10) publishes an exclusive interview with former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, on the latest developments of the Cyprus talks.
Responding to the question regarding the negotiation process with Eroglu, Talat said: The process does not go fast. Of course, I can understand this... Eroglu does not want a solution. I mean that he does not want a solution of a partnership state. However, he does not oppose it because he made promises during his election campaign and, above all, he does not want to harm Turkeys EU accession process.
Talat, inter alia, said that the real Eroglus aim is to interrupt the negotiations but without the blame falling on the Turkish Cypriot side.
 Eroglu, Denktas and Talat exchange views over property issueAccording to the Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (18.09.10), Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu hosted a lunch yesterday for two former Turkish Cypriot leaders, Rauf Denktas and Mehmet Ali Talat. Kudret Ozersay, Eroglus special adviser, was also present. During the lunch views were exchanged on the latest proposals by both sides on the property issue. Eroglu did not make any statement after the lunch.
Rauf Denktas said that they were briefed on the proposals of both sides and said he would not make any comment. Denktas pointed out that what was important for him was that title deeds given for exchange for properties in the TRNC were not discarded.
Commenting also on the proposals for the property issue, Talat said that the current proposals of the Turkish Cypriot side are an improved version of the previous proposals put on the table, adding that the proposals should be evaluated.
Talat described the Greek Cypriots proposals as shallow, non-reasonable and non-feasible, while he said that the Turkish Cypriots proposals are reasonable and feasible. Noting that the final aim is the Cyprus settlement, Talat said that the property issue can be solved through compensation, exchange or return of property as has been accepted by the UN and the international community.
 Ozersay announced opening date for the Limnitis crossing pointTurkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak television (18.09.10, online) reports that Kudret Ozersay, Eroglus Special Representative said that the 7th crossing point between the Republic of Cyprus and the TRNC will be opened on 14 October, if everything goes well.
Ozersay announced that crossing point will be inaugurated by the Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu and the Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias at a ceremony, which is also expected to be attended by the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stephen Fule.
 The DP opposes an interim agreement on the Cyprus problemTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris (20.09.10) reports that Bengu Sonya, general secretary of the Democratic Party (DP), has said that his party opposes any partial or interim agreement, unless it is a comprehensive solution which should be put in a referendum. In a written statement released yesterday, Sonya noted that they felt the need to declare this before the UN General Assembly as they did last year. He expressed the view that the property issue should be left aside for the time being and the sides should return to other half-finished chapters and in particular the chapter of governance and power sharing.
Sonya alleged that at the point the Cyprus talks have reached today, the international community should inevitably note the positions tabled by the two sides and put an end to the Cyprus problem within the framework of its evaluations.
He argued that an interim agreement on the property issue will deteriorate the economy of northern Cyprus, which is in any case in a bad situation.
 Turkish writer says population in the occupied part of Cyprus reached 700,000 800,000Writing in his daily column in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (19.09.10), Ahmet Tolgay presents a book to be published by a Turkish writer named Stella Aciman on the occupied areas of Cyprus. Under the title This time Stella Aciman is writing on the realities of the TRNC, Tolgay notes that Aciman is of Jewish origin and that she was born in Istanbul. He says that she has been living in the occupied areas of Cyprus since 2003. Her book under the title There is an island there far away will be referring to Cyprus and it is expected to be published in November.
Referring to the population in the occupied areas of Cyprus, she points out the following: As a result of the intensive immigration, the TRNC seems like a province of Turkey. Who comes from Turkey to the island? Mainly our unemployed, poor people from East and Southeast Anatolia of course. Our people, who are not able to find a bite of bread and a room to live in their country, come to the island () As a person coming from Turkey I saw this film in the past as well. Once, our people from East and Southeast Anatolia immigrated to the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts for the same reasons.
Aciman says that the unofficial population of the TRNC has reached 700-800,000 and refers to the lack of infrastructure to cover the needs of this population. Noting that the situation especially in the hospitals is heartbreaking, Aciman says: You run into a handful of Cypriots among those who migrated from Turkey, because the Cypriots have been turned into a minority in their own country with their population of 80.000 or may be 90.000.
Aciman refers to the fact that the Turkish settlers enter the occupied areas of Cyprus showing only their identity cards and live illegally there. Noting that these people commit crimes, Aciman says that approximately 90 % of the convicts in the prisons of the occupied areas of Cyprus come from Turkey.
 Union of Russian Entrepreneurs office in the occupied area; Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry contacts in the Russian FederationTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (18.09.10) reports that the Union of Russian Entrepreneurs (AZSK), operating in Russia, opened an office in occupied Keryneia for Russian citizens who are interested in buying property in North Cyprus. As the paper reports, the union will provide advice to Russians who want to invest property in the north. According to the paper, Ersin Tatar, self-styled Minister of Finance participated at the official opening ceremony of AZSKs offices.
Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (18.09.10) reports that the members of the executive board of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry (KTSO) together with the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry, Ali Cirali, visited the Chamber of Trade and Industry of the Russian Federation (RFTSO). During the meeting, the economic trade model between South Korea and Russia was outlined as a model for direct trade between Russia and the TRNC.
The delegation also visited the Embassy of Turkey in Moscow and met with trade consultants. During the meeting, views were exchanges regarding export opportunities of the occupation regime to Russia as well as trade ties between Turkey and Russia.
Moreover, the delegation visited the Chamber of Trade and Industry of the Russian Federation. The meeting focused on a detailed discussion on the economies of Russia and Cyprus with particular emphasis on the economic and political situation of the countries.
At the end of the meeting, the vice-chairman of the RFTSO, George G. Petrov and the chairman of the KTSO, Ali Cirali exchanged plaques expressed their mutual will for meetings in the near future.
 Eroglu and Cavusoglu invited to participate in a congress at DardanelleTurkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (20.09.10) reports that self-styled minister of Education, Sport and Youth, Nazim Cavusoglu, received, Prof. Dr. Ali Akdemir, rector of the 18th March University of Dardanelle (Canakkale), who is paying a visit to the occupied areas on the invitation by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu in order to participate in a conference at illegal European University of Lefka (LAU).
As the paper reports, Prof. Dr. Ali Akdemir, invited both Dervis Eroglu and Nazim Cavusoglu to the International University Congress which will take place at Dardanelle between 20-24, October.
Speaking after the meeting, Nazim Cavusoglu underlined that it is importance for the illegal universities to participate in events abroad together with international universities.
[B] TURKISH PRESSThe summit chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan regarding last week's terrorist attack in the southeastern province of Hakkari, a religious ceremony after 95 years in Surp Hac (Holy Cross) Church in Akdamar Island in the eastern province of Van with the participation of nearly 4,000 Armenians, statements by the UN Secretary General that Turkey is a source of inspiration for the regional countries, a report in Hurriyet concerning casinos in the occupied areas, a report on the new school year which begins today with 16 million pupils in primary and secondary education, and other internal issues, are some of main stories in Todays Turkish Press.
 Turkish Cypriot leader warns he is serious about years end deadlineUnder the above title Turkish daily Todays Zaman (20.09.10) publishes the following article by Abdullah Bozkurt: Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) President Dervis Eroglu has vowed that time is fast running out for the settlement of the issue of the divided island of Cyprus and said back-to-back meetings with Greek Cypriot leaders have failed to produce any concrete results which satisfy both communities -- sentiments felt in Turkey also.
I think we have no choice but to seriously evaluate our own options on whether to carry on with talks forever -- for the sake of talking -- or to stop lying to ourselves and start considering other options if we have no solution by the end of this year, he said in an interview with Todays Zaman on Saturday.
Though he declined to specify what plan B would entail in the case of the ultimate failure of the UN-sponsored talks, many observers believe that it would involve partition, and eventual separation -- with two independent states on the tiny island. Turkey already signalled it would support alternative options if talks do not yield results by the years end.
Eroglu emphasized that the UN special envoy to Cyprus, Alexander Downer, has a forthcoming report -- to be presented to the UN secretary-general in November -- on the talks progress and stressed that the report would be a crucial milestone in determining the options available to Turkish Cypriots. Greek Cypriots have not offered anything new to the solution of problems we are trying to settle, such as property, compensation, power sharing issues -- and they are repeating the same basic line of repackaged old offers, which, I fear, have the ultimate aim of isolating the Turkish community on the island he said.
Eroglu warned that the fatigue and frustration over the failure to find a solution further complicated his efforts to continue down the negotiations track, as the public had grown weary of endless, fruitless talks. In 2004, Turkish Cypriots overwhelmingly accepted the Annan plan, hoping the issue would be settled once and for all, even though the terms were not favourable to the Turks. That chance was missed because of the Greek Cypriots, who rejected to the plan. If we have another public referendum today, most Turks will reject a similar proposal because they simply do not believe in the sincerity of the Greeks, he explained.
The Turkish leader made it clear that Greek Cypriots had not brought forward any new proposals regarding reunifying the island under the ongoing Cyprus reunification talks, mediated by the UN since September 2008. Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias has basically repeated the same proposals over and over, and these have represented nothing new, Eroglu pointed out.
The veteran politician, who said he had an excellent working relationship with the Turkish leadership in Ankara, acknowledged Turkish support to the settlement and said Turkeys guarantees were very important to the Turks living on the island. We still have bitter memories of the past during which many Turks suffered, some got killed and others went missing. But at the same time we are trying to forget this past, unlike the Greek Cypriots who still portray Turks as monsters in school textbooks, he said.
Eroglus concerns about the deadlock of talks and the approaching end-of-year deadline were also shared with Ankara during his first official visit to Ankara in June, after his election as the Turkish Cypriot president. Turkish President Abdullah Gul suggested that the Turkish Cypriot state -- recognized only by Turkey -- could function as an independent state if talks did not produce results. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is a country that has proven itself. It has a democracy that has proven its maturity and its economy is growing stronger, Eroglu said. ()
Dismissing claims that he was a separatist and simply had no interest in reconciliation, Eroglu said he picked up from where his predecessor left off and has kept negotiating through UN mediation. Their plan was to portray me as a hard-liner who has no real interest in talks. That backfired as I kept dealing with the most difficult problems, like the settlement of property issues. We have put forward concrete and very technical, detailed plans to solve property issues, in line with the Annan plan and rulings by the European Court of Human Rights. But they rejected these proposals and insisted on returning properties to former owners after 35 years had passed -- and the facts had changed on the ground. ()
EU should make up for its mistake
Briefing about the recent talks he held with the EU officials in Brussels last week, the Turkish Cypriot leader said the EU leaders had increasingly recognized the mistake that was made in 2004 by accepting a portion of the island into the EU -- even though the Greek Cypriot side rejected the UN plan. He said, One of the leaders I met with told me that the Greek Cypriots had tricked the EU into accepting the partitioned island by pretending that they would accept the Annan plan.
Now it is up to the EU to fulfil its pledge to resume direct trade with the KKTC, he said, while recalling his country was doing business directly with the 12-member EU until 1994 -- when an EU court ruling annulled previous trade links. In 2004, the EU unveiled a plan to ease the isolation of the northern side by resuming direct trade with the Turkish north but never implemented it due to the Greek Cypriots veto. I do not think resumption of trade warrants any concession from us, nor from Turkey -- like opening up Turkeys ports and airports to traffic from Greek Cyprus, Eroglu noted.
Moreover, Turkish daily Today Zaman (19.09.10-online) reports on statements made by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu to Turkish media reporters on his contacts in Brussels.
Dervis Eroglu, inter alia, referred to the economic and trade ties between Russia and South Cyprus, as he called the Republic of Cyprus, and said that Russia sees South Cyprus as a place for money laundering. Eroglu also pointed out that there is an off-shore bank sector in the South, which South Cyprus more attractive, for Russia.
 Kilicdaroglu holds contacts in GermanyAccording to Turkish News Agency Ankara Anatolia (A.A, 17.09.10) the Republican People's Party (CHP) chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who is visiting Germany and will have a meeting today with Martin Schulz, the leader of Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament.
Moreover, Kilicdaroglu is expected to meet Social Democrat Party (SPD) leader Sigmar Gabriel. The two men will give a joint press conference. Kilicdaroglu will also participate in a conference at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. On Tuesday Kilicdaroglu will have meetings with Claudia Roth and Cem Ozdemir, the co-chair persons of the Party of the German Green Party, and German Left Party's co-chairman Klaus Ernst.
During his visit to Berlin, Kilicdaroglu is accompanied by deputy chairman Haluk Koc and secretary general Gulsun Bilgehan. Over the past week, Kilicdaroglu travelled to Brussels, where he had talks with executives of the EU, the Party of European Socialists (PES), the S&D Group, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the Belgian Socialist Party, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and the Turkish Industrialists' & Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) in Brussels. He also had meetings with the deputy prime minister of Belgium and members of non-governmental organizations.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (19.09.10) reports that Kilicdaroglu told reporters in Ankara that during his contacts he was asked about Cyprus and that he explained clearly his partys positions and that he wanted the EU to fulfil its promises to the Turkish Cypriots, especially after accepting the Annan Plan. He also said that he insisted on lifting the embargo and raising the standard of living in the Turkish Cypriot side, since this area is also a part of the EU.
 Northern Cyprus tackles lingering unemploymentUnder the above title Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (19.09.10, online) publishes the following article by Reeta Paakkinen: The government in Turkish Cyprus is introducing minimum quotas for local workers in the tourism sector to cut down on unemployment among its citizens, according to the minister for social security and labor, Turkay Tokel.
At present, unemployment in northern Cyprus stands at approximately 12%, and is highest among youths between 15 and 24 years old, of whom 31.4% are unemployed.
To alleviate the situation, the number of foreign workers in northern Cyprus will be managed by introducing incentives and a minimum quota for employing citizens as well as limiting the number of work permits given to non-nationals, Tokel told Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review earlier this month. At present, the share of Turkish Cypriot employees at some of the larger hotels and tourism enterprises is as low as 5%.
"There is a serious unemployment problem in northern Cyprus, which we are trying to tackle by introducing incentives," Tokel said. "From January on, the state has been paying the employer's share of the worker's social security premiums on behalf of any private sector employer who hires a citizen of northern Cyprus. With this scheme we have managed to employ 1,100 young people. But this alone will not be enough, so we are introducing other incentives. We have taken tourism sector as the primary focus."
Starting from next month, the ministry plans to gradually introduce a minimum quota for tourism sector enterprises in northern Cyprus. "We are starting with a minimum quota of 30% for employees who are citizens of northern Cyprus and may bring this up to 35% next year," Tokel said.
The minister also noted that with the state paying the employer's share of the social security cost, it will be up to the enterprises to set wages that would attract the local workforce. The tourism sector in northern Cyprus, and especially large Turkish-owned hotels, has often been criticized for offering low salaries, making the sector a less attractive employment option for local youths.
"We are issuing loans to tourism enterprises, providing them with facilities and will also pay the employer's share of the social security fee, so it is up to them to set wages that can attract locals. There is no point in attracting international investors anywhere unless they add something to the local economy. Having only 5 to 15% of staff composed of citizens of northern Cyprus is not enough," Tokel said. "In the future, a hotel that does not comply with the minimum quota will not be able to get further work permits for its non-national employees. ()"
 Highlightsa) Cyprus talks
A report in Hurriyet (17.9.10) entitled "A TOKI [Housing Development Agency of Turkey] Overture" highlights a 46 -page document which includes proposals to resolve the property issue in Cyprus which were finalized at a meeting chaired by Turkish President Abdullah Gul on 18 June and put forward by the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu at a meeting with his Greek Cypriot counterpart on 6 September. According to the plan, TOKI will build housing complexes for Greek Cypriots on property owned by Turkish Cypriots in the southern part of the island in exchange for property owned by Greek Cypriots in the north without requiring Turkey to pay compensation to displaced Greek Cypriots.
A report in Hurriyet (18.9.10) entitled "Give Us Girne [Kyrenia] and Be Our Tenant" highlights a counter-proposal put forward by the Greek Cypriot side in inter-communal talks in Cyprus and notes that it, can be interpreted as a sign that the Greek Cypriot side does not actually want a solution. According to the report, the Greek Cypriot side proposed to allow Turkish Cypriots to occupy property in Kyrenia as tenants if their Greek Cypriot owners agree that their property can be handed over to them later. If the Greek Cypriot proposal is accepted, only 50,000 Turkish immigrants will be allowed to stay in Cyprus while the rest will be deported, the report adds.
b) Referendum results; political polarization in Turkey
An unattributed editorial in Hurriyet Daily News (17.9.10) says: "On European Union membership, on relations with Iran and the United States, on the reunification of Cyprus and reconciliation with Armenia, Turks are poles apart. The word for this is polarization. We hope the AKP recognizes this and deals with this."
In an article in Hurriyet Daily News (17.9.10) entitled "Regionalism as a new factor of division", columnist Semih Idiz says that a clearer picture emerging from the referendum indicates that there is a new fault-line in Turkey in the shape of "regionalism," and this can now be added to the other fault lines that already exist. He comments: "In addition to the division between the Kurdish Southeast and the rest of Turkey, we now have the staunchly secular Aegean and Mediterranean Coastal regions, as opposed to the conservative and religiously oriented 'inner Anatolia.' " The AKP should use good governance in the face of the Pandora's Box which has been opened if it wants to contribute to the unity of the country, rather than causing new divisions to emerge, he concludes.
In an article in Radikal (17.9.10), columnist Cengiz Candar criticizes intellectuals who interpret the outcome of the referendum as a sign that Turkish society is divided into three groups and points out: "On the contrary, the results of the referendum show that Turkish society wants to move toward transformation rather than being divided into three groups."
c) Kurdish issue/referendum result assessments
In her column in Hurriyet (19.9.10) Ferai Tinc says BDP is committing a mistake in campaigning for school boycott pointing out that this is not a solution to the problem of teaching Kurdish to students.
Milliyet (19.9.10) carries the first part of a series of articles by Sukran Pakkan sounding out the views of prominent pundits on the implications of the referendum result. Bulent Tanla, a researcher and former CHP parliamentarian, says the result has considerably strengthened PM Erdogan's position and adds that the result also shows that most Turks are optimistic about the future and desire a better modern lifestyle. Tanla also believes that the referendum result revealed a political fault line in the southeast, it showed that the Kurdish issue is Turkey's most urgent problem needing solution, and that for that reason Ocalan will start playing a bigger role in Turkish politics. Zaman writer Ali Bulac believes, on the other hand, that the referendum result brought into bold relief the division of society between the "conservative-religious bloc" numbering some 22 million, the CHP-lead bloc of big businessmen and bureaucrats numbering some 16 million, and the boycott bloc, most of them Kurdish nationalists aspiring for separatism, numbering 14 million. To forestall these divisions from turning into a conflict, a fairer wealth distribution should be introduced and a new constitution should be enacted to ensure freedoms and democratic participation, says Bulac. Erol Tuncer, a former minister who now heads TESAV [Social, Economic, Political Research Foundation] think tank, says the referendum result was a vote of confidence in the AKP ahead of the general elections and that the drafting of a new constitution would constitute the kernel of the next election campaign. He believes the debate on a new constitution will be divisive one. Tuncer also says that the BDP should now be taken seriously for it showed it could mobilize the people in the southeast.
In an article in Hurriyet Daily News (18.9.10) entitled "It Is Time for Talks," columnist Yusuf Kanli writes about possible reasons for the cancellation of a planned meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek and the leaders of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and says: "If this country is to find a way out from the separatist-terrorism bloodshed on the one hand and resolve the Kurdish quagmire on the other hand, it is a must to find ways to engage at least the "civilian" prominent Kurds and perhaps to have some sort of proxy talks through proper and non-political channels with the PKK and its enhanced life-term convict chieftain."
In an article in Milliyet (18.9.10) columnist Taha Akyol quotes Cicek as saying that it would not be appropriate to hold meetings with the BDP while the PKK continues to carry out terrorist attacks. Akyol says that the BDP should intensify pressure on the PKK in an effort to pave the way for negotiations. He added that Ocalan should also refrain from trying to dictate his terms through radicalism and violence. He should see that a settlement can be possible through reasonable steps rather than maximalist demands after the creation of a suitable atmosphere by declaring indefinite cease-fire and withdrawing militants from Turkey."
Milliyet (18.9.10) columnist Hasan Cemal emphasizes that the PKK must extend its unilateral cease-fire which is scheduled to end on 20 September, and withdraw its militants from areas where fighting occurs. Cemal also points out that the government should take steps aimed at alleviating tension such as stopping military operations.
In an article in Star (18.9.10) entitled "I Wish the Government Had Met With the BDP," columnist Mehmet Altan emphasizes: "What should be done is to hold talks with the BDP which is the legitimate representative of the region while helping it become a power independent of the PKK in order to dispel uncertainties, to clarify positions, and to prevent children from being killed by ensuring that guns fall silent."
Radikal (18.9.10) columnist Cengiz Candar argues that the government should start a negotiating process with the BDP rather than ostracizing it by laying emphasis on its organic ties with the PKK. Pointing out that the PKK comes to the fore while the BDP relegates to the background as a result of the government's current approach, Candar says that the ruling party should take steps to turn the BDP into a part of a possible solution given that it has representative powers and is a legitimate part of the political system.
In an article in Taraf (18.9.10) columnist Ahmet Altan criticizes the government and the Turkish press for swiftly blaming the landmine explosion on the PKK and points out: "The government should first ask the military why an operation was not launched in order to hunt and capture the assailants rather than immediately put the blame on the PKK. If the government does not show determination and reveal the identity of real perpetrators, we will witness more acts of provocation and murders in the future."
d) Explosion in Hakkari
Writing in Zaman (19.9.10) Mumtazer Turkone predicts that a strong wave of terror will hit Turkey when the cease-fire declared by the PKK ends on 20 September and describes the mine explosion in Hakkari as a preparation of what is to come after 20 September. Turkone writes that this incident was an open provocation and notes that the PKK will have a hard time convincing even its own members that this act was perpetrated by the army. Turkone argues that the goal of the PKK is to force the state to sit at the negotiating table and to convey the message that it is the interlocutor. Underlining that the only forces that can put an end to terror are the sectors that are the targets of that terror, Turkone calls on Kurdish NGO's to raise their voices and to show the PKK that they are against violence.
In an article entitled "A Flashback," Hurriyet Daily News (17.9.10) columnist Yusuf Kanli says that the attack in Hakkari was obviously carried out by the PKK although the organization and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) attempted to put the blame on the Turkish military. Pointing out that people living in Hakkari complain of discrimination while trying to cope with various problems mostly arising from the PKK's strong presence in the province, Kanli says: "It is indeed difficult to be caught in between a deadly gang and the state fighting that gang."
Writing in Milliyet (17.9.10), columnist Taha Akyol criticizes the BDP for trying to blame the Hakkan attack on the military in spite of the fact that there is no evidence supporting their claim and adds: "The fact that the BDP acts like the detachment of an armed group rather than a political party is one of the factors obstructing a peaceful settlement."
A report in Hurriyet (17.9.10) refers to the cancellation of a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek and Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergin and BDP leaders on the PKK's unilateral cease-fire, Kurdish boycott of the referendum, and the anticipated boycott of schools in Kurdish-populated areas, following the attack in Hakkari and quotes BDP co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtas as describing the attack as an act of provocation committed by some groups within the Turkish security forces.
Star (17.9.10) columnist Mehmet Metiner accuses the BDP of trying to escalate tension and fighting in a bid to force the government to conduct negotiations with the PKK. He says: "This stance is tantamount to undermining a political settlement. It is actually a lifebuoy for the advocates of the status quo who are trying to figure out how they could form an anti-democracy resistance front."
In an article entitled "Cowardice," Taraf (17.9.10) columnist Ahmet Altan describes the attack as a new act of provocation designed to set the stage for ethnic strife. Pointing out that the PKK swiftly denied responsibility for the attack, Altan says that it might have been carried out by a group within the military or a branch of Ergenekon, considering that the PKK would not want to alienate Kurds and underlines the need to resolve the Kurdish issue.
A report in Milliyet (17.9.10) says that PKK militants who carried out the attack in Hakkari left two military backpacks in the area on the instructions of some people from the Assembly of Communities of Kurdistan (KCK) as part of a plan to incite local people to attack soldiers. According to the report, telephone conversations between KCK officials and PKK militants were wire-tapped by the police.
Yeni Safak (18.9.10) columnist Hakan Albayrak warns that the AKP will have done exactly what the "provocateurs" who carried out the attack expect it to do if it suspends dialog with the BDP and DTK in response to the assault. He also asserts that while the Government and the BDP may be defending diametrically opposed positions on the southeast issue today, their "extreme" views on the Kurdish question are amenable to change through dialogue.
Yeni Safak (18.9.10) columnist Fehmi Koru argues that it makes as much sense to hold Ergenekon responsible for the roadside bomb attack in Hakkari as it does to accuse the PKK since there are elements in both displeased with the political climate created by the results of the 12 September referendum on constitutional reform.
Zaman (18.9.10) carries a front-page report which asserts that the police have ascertained, based on explosive devices found in a bag near the site of the landmine attack in Hakkari, that the assault was carried out by the terrorist PKK.
Zaman columnist Sahin Alpay asserts that the onus is on the Erdogan government following the bomb attack in Hakkari to try to restore social peace by cooperating with the main opposition CHP in drawing up a new and democratic constitution that would not define citizenship on any ethnic basis and that would be a charter for the "state of Turkey" and the "people of Turkey."
Under the headline, "Sinister Forces Want Chaos," Milli Gazete (18.9.10) carries a front-page report which highlights a statement by Felicity Party (SP) leader Numan Kurtulmus accusing "international" sponsors of terrorism that want to create unrest in Turkey of engineering the bomb attack in Hakkari.
A report in Vatan (18.9.10) says that the attack in Hakkari was carried out by a PKK group loyal to Fehman Huseyin, leader of a faction advocating violence within the organization, in a bid to sabotage the favourable climate created after the referendum held on 12 September.
e) President Gul's Statements
All papers report prominently President Abdullah Gul's statements to a group of journalists accompanying him to New York in which. Gul talks about his experiences during the 12 September 1980 coup.
Commenting on the death of nine civilians in a land mine blast in the village of Gecitli in Hakkari, Gul said the "terrorist" organization," or its splinter groups, have a history of committing terrorism. Stating that the Kurdish problem should be disassociated from the "terrorist organization" and lamenting that some Kurdish rights were recognized only belatedly, Gul says the Kurdish problem should be solved without negotiating with and making any concessions to the "terrorist organization" and without giving the opportunity to the radical groups to create the impression that they obtained the Kurdish rights through terrorism. Gul also describes (BDP) Peace and Democracy Party demand for "democratic autonomy" as wrong and divisive and as harbouring "ulterior motives," pointing out that the Kurdish issue could be resolved and the "terrorist organization" eliminated by strengthening local administration through a local administration reform that would take into account the regional social and economic sensitivities. And it is the state that should gather self-confidence and initiate this democratization process, Gul said, adding that the progress in democratization would dry up the resources of the "terrorist organization." Radikal report adds that Gul did not reply to the question what would be the political consequences of a parliamentary structure where BDP might again be represented but the (MHP) Nationalist Action Party, the symbol of Turkish nationalism, remains outside it due to the 10 percent election threshold
Zaman (17.9.10) carries a front-page report which asserts that EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule complained to CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu during their meeting in Brussels (16.9.10) about the CHP's failure to respond to the AKP's constitutional amendment package by preparing an alternative reform package.
g) Regular losers
In an article in Yeni Safak (17.9.10) columnist Yalcin Akdogan, discusses what he describes as the factors behind Prime Minister Erdogan's successive political victories and Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Nationalist Action Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli's recurrent defeats. He claims that the CHP and MHP are condemned to failure as long as they refrain from "siding with democracy" and maintain a style and mindset whose hallmarks include "jingoism, verbal violence, vituperation, slander, support for the status quo, lack of vision," etc. He also argues that while the latest referendum was not a vote of confidence for the Government, voter opinion has been seriously affected by party leaders' performance in the referendum campaigns.
h) Iranian donations to AKP
Yeni Safak (17.9.10) columnist Ibrahim Karagul condemns allegations that Iran donated some $25 million to the ruling AKP through the Turkish Humanitarian Aid Foundation, (IHH) some time ago, as "black propaganda" intended to get the IHH recognized internationally as a terrorist organization and undermine the Erdogan government so as to force Turkey to return to its former position as a country toeing the US and Israeli line on regional issues. He refers to the journalist who voiced this claim, Con Coughlin, as a "neo-conservative close to Israeli ultra-rightists" who has served as a "tool" in "marketing" the United States and Britain's "global war strategies" to the international community.
Vakit (18.9.10) Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya asserts that the allegation voiced by the British Daily Telegraph that Iran donated some $25 million to the ruling AKP some time ago and that the money will be used to have Erdogan elected as prime minister a third time is part of an effort to undermine Iran's chances of submitting a winning bid for the insolvent Adabank in Turkey, which was recently put up for sale by the Savings Insurance Deposit Fund, and make sure Israel wins the contract.
j) US-Turkish Relations
Hurriyet Daily News (18.9.10) columnist Ilhan Tanir highlights comments by political analysts in Washington about US-Turkish relations and quotes a source close to the US Government as saying that the Obama Administration will watch the Turkish Government's policies regarding Iran and Israel although it will continue to treat Turkey as a friendly country. Tanir also says that the Turkish Embassy in Washington has intensified its lobbying efforts to dispel suspicions in the US Congress about policies being pursued by the ruling party in Turkey.
Hurriyet (18.9.10) says that the Obama Administration may appoint a diplomat as its ambassador to Turkey for a short term until it overcomes Congressional opposition to the appointment of Francis J. Ricciardone. According to the report, the Turkish government is averse to the idea of appointing another diplomat temporarily because it fears that further delay in Ricciardone's appointment could complicate current problems in bilateral relations.
In an article in Radikal (18.9.10) Murat Yetkin says that Turkish President Abdullah Gul has no scheduled meeting with US President Barack Obama during his stay in the United States, adding that Gul and Obama may hold a brief meeting during the opening session of the UN General Assembly on 23 September.
k) Government Planning New EU Harmonization Laws
A report in Cumhurriyet (19.9.10) says that following the adoption of the constitutional reform package in the referendum, the government is now planning to introduce EU harmonization laws on the basis of the adopted constitutional amendments so as to strengthen its hand at the talks with the EU. The bills on new harmonization laws are expected to be submitted to the parliament as of October. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio