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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 10-10-11
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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. 193/10 09-11.10.10
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS
[B] TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESSStatements by Eroglu concerning Medvedevs visit to Cyprus, Eroglus meeting with Turkeys DSP leader, a statement by Dervis Eroglu from Kayseri that all Turks living in the TRNC came from Turkey, reaction by Turkish Cypriot MPs in occupied Morfou żn Christofias statements about Morfou, Atun s and Tatar s participation in a meeting in Istanbul, statements regarding the population in the occupied areas and Kormazhan s statement that a population census should be contacted in the occupied areas under the supervision of foreign observers or the UN, are some of the main topics highlighted in todays and weekends Turkish Cypriot press. Also, Turkish Cypriot press continues its reports concerning the project called Wonderland.
 Eroglu on Russian Presidents visit to CyprusAccording to illegal Bayrak television (BRT, online 08.10.10), the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said that the Russian President Dmitry Medvedevs recent visit to south Cyprus will encourage the Greek Cypriot leader to harden his stance in the talks. Describing the Russian Presidents visit as a show of force, Eroglu said that statements against deadlines and arbitration had only served to further encourage Christofias.
Inter alia, illegal BRT reports that, reminding that it was the United Nations goal to reach a settlement by the end of this year, Eroglu said that the Russian President had probably reassured the Greek Cypriot leader that the UN Secretary-Generals November report would not be critical of the Greek Cypriot side.
 Eroglu meets with Turkeys DSP leaderAnkara Anatolia news agency (08.10.10) reported on a meeting of the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu with Masum Turker, the chairman of Turkeys Democratic Left Party (DSP), in occupied Lefkosia.
During the meeting, Eroglu noted that Turkey opposed the Greek Cypriots accession to NATO before Cyprus even joined the European Union (EU), adding that he did not know whether a new vision had been adopted. The Greek Cypriots are putting an obstacle before Turkeys EU path every day, and I believe Turkey will make the best use of the trumps in its hands, Eroglu said at the meeting.
Eroglu said Turkey has a clear policy not to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot traffic before isolation of the Turkish Cypriots ended. It will be wrong for Turkey to fulfil its commitments regarding the additional protocol (to the Ankara Agreement regarding opening the ports) before the EU keeps lives up to its promises to the Turkish Cypriots to lift the embargoes, Eroglu also said.
For his part, Turker said DSP is in favour of maintaining the free and independent structure of the TRNC and that it was a mistake for the EU to admit the Greek Cypriot administration, by ignoring the TRNC.
 Eroglu: We are all TurksTurkish Cypriot daily Gunes reports (09.10.10) that Dervis Eroglu, the leader of the Turkish Cypriots, during a meeting with representatives from the Kayseri Journalists Society, said he still maintains connections with the area, since his grandparents came from that region. He also said that he follows developments in the area and added: Besides all Turks living in the TRNC came from Turkey.
Moreover, Eroglu stated: We are all Turks and we came from Anatolia, therefore there is no difference between us. Informing the chairman of the society, Veli Altinkaya, on the continued negotiations he repeated his wish for an honourable, viable and permanent solution.
 British Baroness in the occupied areasAccording to illegal Bayrak television (08.10.10, online), Baroness Rosalind Scott, a member of the British House of Lords and leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, is having contacts in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus regarding the Cyprus problem. She had separate meetings with the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu and the self-styled speaker of the assembly Hasan Bozer. No statements were made after the meeting between Scott and Eroglu
Speaking during his meeting with the Baroness, Bozer said although the Cyprus issue may be a problem concerning Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, it is also an international problem. Bozer alleged that the Turkish Cypriots had been forced to live in ghettos under inhumane conditions between 1963 and 1974 due to the Greek Cypriot sides aspirations to unite the island with Greece. Peace came to the island in 1974 with the Turkish Armed Forces timely intervention. He also said that Britain, as one of the three guarantor powers in Cyprus could not be indifferent on the Cyprus issue like the rest of the international community.
For her part, Baroness Scott said she was ready to take certain steps on the Cyprus issue. The first step will be taken in Helsinki by the Liberal Democrat Group in the European Parliament bringing the Direct Trade Regulation to the agenda, she said. The second step would be to raise the issue of launching direct flights to the British governments agenda she said, expressing the belief that these two steps would aid development of the Turkish Cypriots.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (11.10.10) reports that Baroness Scott had also a meeting with the self-styled minister of tourism, environment and culture Kemal Durust. The water problem in the occupied areas, how the occupation regime is affected by the embargoes, the contribution of the hotel investments to the economy of the occupation regime as well as measures to be taken for the development of the tourism, were discussed.
Referring to the embargoes, Durust said that they are felt in every sector, that countries applying them, should consider because it is inhuman behaviour.
To a question whether there is an embargo to cruise ships, Durust replied positively and added that if there were not, tourist arrivals at the occupied airport of Tymvou would double.
Durust reiterated that on 15 November he will attend the foundation laying ceremony of the project to carry water from the Dragos dam in Anamur in Turkey to the occupied part of Cyprus.
 DPO announcement regarding TRNCs population causes reactionsTurkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak television (09.10.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot State Planning Organization (DPO) has announced that the TRNC population was 285,356 by the end of 2009. This number excludes tourists, temporary workers and people who stayed in the TRNC for less than a year.
In a written statement, the Head of Statistics and Research Department of the State Planning Organization, Guner Mukellef, announced that work is underway to adopt a new method in population census next year which involves an address-based population registration system.
Turkish Cypriot Havadis (09.10.10) publishes an interview with Ersin Tatar, the so-called minister of Finance who estimates that the population is 400,000. He said that the issue of a new census and the method to be used is discussed in the so-called council of ministers. He added that a new census will take place in 2011.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (09.10.10) commenting on DPOs statement writes that Cemil Cicek should be informed right away regarding the figure. They should tell him that the population is 285,000 and the number of vehicles 300,000.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam (09.10.10) reports that the Assistant General Secretary of the Social Democratic Party, Huseyin Moral, also commenting on Ciceks statements said that his words were an insult to the Turkish Cypriots and added: Mr Cicek should know that Turkeys governments are also responsible, and statements which target only the Cyprus Turkish people, are statements which offend the people.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (09.10.10) reports that the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Public Servants Trade Union, Ahmet Kaptan, answering to Cicek said: We as Turkish Cypriots know our population, but do you know the number you have carried here? He also called Turkey if they speak from the heart, to conduct a census on the north of Cyprus, under the supervision of UN.
On the same subject, Kibris (10.10.10) also reports Abdullah Korkmazhans statements who supported that a population census must be held. Korkmazhan, organising secretary of the United Cyprus Party, said: The number of Turkish Cypriots and the numbers coming from Turkey must be revealed by conducting a census in the Cyprus North under international observers or the United Nations.
 Serdar Denktas: 2006 population census was not held by the Turkish CypriotsUnder the title Shocking confession by Serdar Denktas, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli (11.10.10) reports that Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party (DP), said that the population census in 2006 was not held by the Turkish Cypriots. In statements on a television programme, Denktas, who was self-styled minister of foreign affairs of the regime during that period, said the following:
The data and the information of the 2006 TRNC population census were sent to Turkey on a plane on the same night. The analysis and classification of the results were made there and announced to the TRNC authorities. They told us that you do not have the mechanism to carry out this census and we said ok and sent the data to Ankara. I could not know to what extent the results of the census reflect the truth. I could not know to what extent they are right or wrong. However, if there was a distortion, this was not made here. Turkey does not trust us. Because it does not trust us, it thinks that we would exaggerate about the population and receive more aid. An indication for this is esteemed [Turkish State Minister Cemil] Ciceks statement that we have exaggerated the population when I was mayor. The population at this moment does not reflect our demographic structure, but we are not responsible for this.
Moreover, commenting on the same issue Dogan Harman, Kibrislis (11.10.10) editor-in-chief, writes that Turkey knows the population in the occupied areas of Cyprus, the number of the illegal workers and the persons from Turkey who have been granted the citizenship of the breakaway regime, but it does not want the Turkish Cypriots to know these figures.
 Tore and Atun at OIC meetingAccording to illegal Bayrak (09.10.10, online), the self-styled minister of agriculture and natural resources Zorlu Tore attended the 26th session of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (ISEDAK) of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), in Istanbul. Delivering a speech at the meeting titled Agriculture and Rural Development, Tore referred to the significant role of Islamic countries to be played in the removal of embargoes on the TRNC. We produce, but we cannot sell because of international embargoes, he said. He added that the occupation regime has been able to stand on its feet with Turkeys support.
Tore also invited representatives of the Islamic countries to an education conference to be held in the occupied areas next April.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (11.10.10) reports that the self-styled minister of economy and energy Sunat Atun, who also participated in the ISEDAK meeting, met with General Director of the Islamic Development Bank Dr Muhammed Ali and the Secretary General of OIC Ekmeledin Ihsanoglu. Atun said that ways to encourage investments in the TRNC were discussed.
Atun also said that the Islamic Development Bank will grant scholarships for students who wish to study in the occupied areas.
 Turkish Cypriot politicians: Morfou will not be returned to its legal ownersTurkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (11.10.10) reports that self-styled MPs from occupied Morfou area reacted to President Christofias statement that a solution to the Cyprus problem could not be reached without the return of occupied Morfou to its legal owners under Greek Cypriot administration.
Mehmet Caglar, MP with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), said that the territory issue has not yet been discussed in the negotiations and that such statements deal a blow to the process. He noted that the return of a part of Morfou was provided for in the Annan Plan, which was accepted by the Turkish Cypriots and rejected the Greek Cypriots. Noting that the plan is not on the agenda anymore, Caglar added that such statements cause worry and sorrow to the people of Morfou and the TRNC.
Fatma Ekenoglu, MP with the CTP, said that entering into the territorial issue now is tantamount to dealing a blow to the negotiations. She also recalled the Annan Plan and added that their people will behave differently in the new process.
Ahmet Caluda, MP with the National Unity Party (UBP), said that the statement of President Christofias was annoying and unfortunate and means that the Greek Cypriots do not want an agreement. He reiterated the Turkish allegation that peace came to Cyprus in 1974 and that the Turkish occupation army brought peace to both the Greeks and the Turks of the island.
Kemal Durust, minister of tourism, environment and culture, noted that if President Christofias was sincere in what he said, there will never be a solution in Cyprus. He alleged that Morfou could not be considered outside the borders of the TRNC. Morfou will never be given away, he added recalling that his party had promised this and will keep its word.
Turkay Tokel, minister of labour and social insurance, said that former Presidents Makarios and Papadopoulos had the same view with President Christofias on this matter and that Morfou has always been an issue of bargain. He noted that a new geography and a new life based on two areas and two states were created after 1974. He said that the Turks have settled and invested in the area and that they will make no concessions. A population was formed and 12.000 persons live here, he added noting that they are not interested in President Christofias views on this issue.
 The opening of Apliki crossing point is reportedly on the agendaTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (11.10.10) reports that the opening of a crossing point in the area of Apliki village is on the agenda of the breakaway regime after the opening of the barricade in occupied Limnitis area. The paper writes that the self-styled council of ministers of the breakaway regime will evaluate the situation next Wednesday.
Ministers of finance and labour, Ersin Tatar and Turkay Tokel respectively, visited the area yesterday to examine technical needs and the benefits of the new crossing point to the area. The mayor of occupied Lefka Mehmet Zafer and a delegation of bureaucrats accompanied the two ministers.
Ersin Tatar stated that they will evaluate what they could do about the opening of Apliki crossing point, which came onto the agenda after the opening of Limintis. Moreover, Tokel stated that the people of the area have some expectations both from the opening of the crossing points and the universities which built their campuses there. He said a detailed study was carried out on issues such as the universities, the citrus fruits etc. He noted that the situation of Lefka area will be evaluated in the first meeting of the council of ministers.
 Wonderland to be built in occupied CyprusAnkara Anatolia news agency (10.10.10) reported from occupied Lefkosia that the tourist and entertainment centre Wonderland will be constructed at occupied Gaziveran sea coast. As it is stated, this will be the 11th Wonderland in the world.
Ilbe Trading, a Turkish, British and American joint venture company, will invest 220 million USD in the project. The foundation will be laid on November 15, the 27th anniversary of the illegal declaration of independence of the breakaway regime. The so-called council of ministers allocated an area of 70-decares for the project.
Kemal Durust, so-called minister for tourism, environment and culture, told reporters that this was the first investment in that region, noting that 220 million USD investments would be made to the facility. Durust said the investment would bring economic, social and cultural development to the country.
 The Turkic World in the 21st century symposium to take place in the occupied areasTurkish Cypriot daily Gunes (11.10.10) reports that the Avrasya Economic Relations Association will organize together with the illegal European University of Lefka (LAU) a symposium called The Turkic World on the 21st century. According to the paper, the symposium is to take place in the occupied areas of Cyprus between December 2-5. Participants from different countries such as Turkey, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kirgizstan, Tataristan, Ukraine, FYROM and others will participate.
The paper reports that Eroglu is expected to participate. More information on the symposium can be found on the website HYPERLINK "http://www.ekoavrasya.net" www.ekoavrasya.net.
[B] TURKISH PRESSThe withdrawal of Serbian film director Emir Kusturica from this years jury of the Golden Orange Film Festival in Antalya due to the criticisms regarding his remarks on the Bosnia war, the ongoing debate over the headscarf, the efforts of the former leader Felicity Party (SP) Numan Kurtulmus to establish a new party are the top stories in the Turkish press today. Moreover, Hurriyet in its front page publishes an interview of French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Bernard Kouchner, who will visit Turkey today. Kouchner, inter alia, said that he is impressed with the strength of Turkish diplomacy, adding that Turkey is the only Muslim country with a modern, democratic and secular structure.
 Erdogan meets Merkel; Cyprus among the issues discussedAccording to Ankara Anatolia news agency (09.10.10), speaking at a joint press conference following his meeting with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that at times, assimilation is putting pressure on individuals to leave aside their customs and traditions and such a behaviour happens to be a crime against humanity. It is impossible for me to change my thoughts on what assimilation is. Erdogan was responding to a question if he still thought assimilation was a crime against humanity as he stated in Cologne two years ago.
On Turkey-EU relations, Erdogan said that he reminded Merkel that the EU should fulfil its promises to Turkey. I believe that Germany, with its special relations with Turkey, can set up a positive example to other EU states by liberalizing visa procedures for the Turks, Erdogan said.
Moreover, Erdogan noted: I have asked the support of Germany in Turkey's fight against terrorist organizations and to strengthen our joint struggle platform against the terrorist organization.
On her part, Merkel said assimilation was not on the agenda of the German government, adding that they were interested in integration of Turks in German society. Merkel said it was important that Turks living in Germany should learn German, adopt values of German society and noted that Turkish youngsters, particularly those who had to drop out of school, had to be given equal opportunities.
Asked if Germany would launch an initiative to activate Turkey's EU membership process, Merkel said the negotiations continued open-ended, indicating that they were in consensus on the matter. Merkel said she would be in an effort to activate the parties to find a solution to the problem during a visit to Cyprus, adding that solution of the problem would be in favour of Turkey, Europe and the whole region. Responding to a journalists observation that opening of new chapters was prevented because of political reasons, Merkel said talks were underway with the Greek Cypriot party to overcome the problem.
Merkel said integration of Turks to Germany as well as bilateral and economic relations was discussed during the meeting. We also discussed preparations of G-20 and NATO summit and took up the Cyprus issue, she noted.
Merkel said she invited Erdogan to CeBIT information fair scheduled to take place in Hannover city of Germany. Turkey will be the guest country of the fair on February 28.
 Bagis on Turkeys expectations from EU countriesAccording to Ankara Anatolia news agency (08.10.10) from Berlin, during a press conference after a meeting with the German Green Party co-Chairman Cem Ozdemir in Germany, the Turkish chief EU negotiator, Egemen Bagis, explained Turkeys demands from Germany and other EU countries such as abolishment of visa requirements, launch of direct trade with Turkish Cypriots, and support in Turkeys fight against terrorism. Bagis said if direct trade is launched, Turkey could keep its promises made earlier to open Turkish ports and airports for Greek Cypriot vessels and planes, which he said, would speed up accession talks. Bagis added that Turkey is adamant on its bid to become full member of EU.
Asked how long Turkey would wait for EU membership, Bagis recalled that Turkey was given a date to start accession negotiations 45 years after its first bid. But we have never given up, he said. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said that EU should stop stalling Turkey if it wants Turkey as a member. Asked whether Erdogan's request was a message to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bagis said that Erdogan was right and Merkel was not the only one to learn a lesson from Erdogan's message.
 Rasmussens offer on EU-NATO link does not satisfy TurkeyUnder the above title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (HDN 08.09.10) reported from Ankara that the proposal of NATOs secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, to end a Turkish-Greek Cypriot conflict that has prevented the alliances plan to transfer some of its military operations to the EU, has not satisfied Turkey. According to a Turkish diplomat, the proposed draft includes some vague points that have to be clarified. We maintain our previous stance on the issue. There is a block on Turkey for EU security (matters) from Greek Cypriots which should be removed, an official from the Turkish Foreign Ministry told HDN, adding that Rasmussen would continue to discuss the matter with European Union leaders.
Rasmussens visit to Ankara on Thursday last focused on NATOs new strategic concept, which will be raised during the alliances Lisbon Summit next month. However, there are important hurdles before its implementation stemming from a conflict between Turkey and the Greek Cypriots. While the Greek Cypriots have vetoed Turkeys participation in the European Defence Agency (EDA), Turkey has not permitted Greek Cypriot participation in NATO-led military operations, in line with the Berlin agreement signed in 2002. Rasmussens proposal suggested compromise from both sides, but Turkish officials found that some articles of the draft proposal were vague. We told him that those articles should be in a definite context, a diplomatic source told the Daily News on Friday.
Rasmussen is working on a proposal in which the EU would conclude an agreement with Turkey giving the country special status with the EDA and involving Ankara in decision-making on EU security missions.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said late Thursday, in a joint press conference with Rasmussen, that EU-NATO cooperation was important for Turkey, However, we have serious concerns and those should be removed, he noted. All states would benefit from closer EU-NATO cooperation, including Turkey, Rasmussen said, adding they would continue talks with Turkey.
 Turkey and China sign a number of agreementsTurkish Hurriyet Daily News (HDN 08.10.10) reported from Ankara that the leaders of Turkey and China herald the beginning of a strategic cooperation in their relationship after the countries signed a number of agreements in Ankara. The paper reports on the meeting of the Turkish Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao in Ankara. We have agreed to raise our relations to the level of strategic cooperation, Erdogan told a joint news conference.
Turkey and China have set a timetable to reflect their growing ties in trade volume, which currently stands at $17 billion. Though the trade balance between the two countries is heavily in Chinas favour, Turkish exports to China increased 62.8% in the first eight months of 2010 compared to the same period last year, reaching $1.451 billion. Turkish imports from China increased 37.9%, reaching $10.67 billion.
We reached an agreement to increase our trade volume with China to $50 billion by 2015 and, in the second phase, to $100 billion by 2020, Erdogan said. While trying to attain these figures, we decided to take one more step and carry out our trade in Turkish Liras and [Chinese] Yuan. The Turkish prime minister signalled the move would be an important step following Ankaras policy of turning bilateral relations into strategic cooperation with both Russia and Iran.
Wen, the first Chinese premier to visit Turkey in eight years, said the new strategic partnership with Turkey will be an important milestone and contribute to peace in the world. He added that the two countries agreed to work together to establish a joint mechanism to fight terrorism and extremism, while also praising Turkeys role in the Middle East and its good offices regarding Irans nuclear programme.
According to the paper, the agreements signed are:
A framework agreement on further expanding and deepening bilateral trade and economic cooperation;
A memorandum of understanding on initiating a joint study for a medium- to long-term development plan on bilateral trade and economic cooperation;
A memorandum of understanding on enhancing cooperation on infrastructure, construction and technical consulting services in third countries;
A memorandum of understanding on the composition of the joint working group on the new Silk Road connection;
A plan for implementing a cultural exchange and cooperation project for 2010-2013;
A memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the fields of information and communication technology;
A memorandum of understanding to secure cooperation on transport, infrastructure and maritime affairs; and
An agreement on railway cooperation.
 Turkey and Georgia sign protocol on joint use of customs gatesAnkara Anatolia news agency (08.10.10) reported from Istanbul that the Turkish State Minister Hayati Yazici and Georgian Finance Minister Kakha Baindurashvili signed a protocol on Friday on joint use of customs gates Sarp, Cildir/Aktas and Posof/Turkgozu at a ceremony in Istanbul on Friday.
Speaking at the ceremony, Yazici said that there would be a 40% decrease in procedures in customs gates thanks to the protocol. Yazici said that a new page has been opened between Turkey and Georgia with this protocol. Joint use of customs gates would be first for Turkey and Georgia, he said.
Baindurashvili said that Turkey was one of the important strategic partners of Georgia and the protocol would help to boost bilateral relations between the two countries. Good neighbourly relations between Turkey and Georgia were confirmed once again with this protocol, Baindurashvili said.
 Former SP leader to found new party before 2011 parliamentary electionsTurkish daily Todays Zaman (11.10.10) reports that the former Felicity Party (SP) leader, Numan Kurtulmus, who recently parted ways with the SP after the emergence of a rift in the party, plans to establish a new party before November and to run in the 2011 parliamentary elections.
Inter alia, the paper reports that since Kurtulmuss resignation, hundreds of members from the partys local branches have also resigned --with Kurtulmus watching closely while accelerating his efforts to prepare the new partys by-laws. According to Turkeys Political Parties Law, to be eligible for election, a party should establish local branches in at least 41 provinces, six months before election day. The government plans to hold elections in June, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced last week.
Kurtulmus seems to have the support of most SP members. On Saturday, the SPs Istanbul provincial branch head, Erol Erdogan, announced his resignation from the party along with 2,775 other members. Kurtulmus said that to date 53 provincial party heads and 65 mayors from the SP have resigned, joining Kurtulmus.
 HighlightsFollowing are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 8, 9 and 10 October:
a) Cyprus-Russia relations
In an article in Zaman (09.10.10) Fikret Ertan assesses the close and strong relations between Cyprus and the Russian Federation, pointing out that they date back to the Soviet Union period and that Christofias is one of the many Greek Cypriots who studied in Russia. Ertan considers the Russian Presidents visit extremely important because it is the first official visit of the Russian President to Cyprus. Drawing attention to the significance of the various agreements signed and of the support extended by Russia to Cyprus at the UN Security Council, the writer concludes that the Russian factor should definitely be taken into consideration when discussing the Cyprus issue.
b) Kurdish issue
A report in Sabah (08.10.10) argues that Turkey is keeping the military option open even as it proceeds with its domestic democratization initiative and diplomatic engagement with Iran and Syria for the disbandment of the PKK, adding that the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq is opposing any large-scale Turkish military operation into Iraq advising Turkey instead to solve the PKK problem through the democratization process. The report adds that the motion for extending the mandate of the Turkish army for the cross-border operation will be debated in the parliament on 12 October.
Ismail Kucukkaya in his column for Aksam (08.10.10) says he inquired about government's new Kurdish policy from authorities closely dealing with the Kurdish issue and came to the conclusion that there will be no general amnesty, instead an effort will be made to "neutralize" some 300 leading PKK members to encourage the remaining 2,000 militants to surrender to the Turkish authorities without fear of retaliation from the PKK leadership. The 300 will be "neutralized" by exiling 50 top leaders to Europe and forcing the remaining 250 to return to normal civilian life in northern Iraq. To achieve this goal through dialogue with Europeans, Iraqi Kurds, Ocalan, Syria, and Iran, the non-action will be prolonged for a year. The extension of the truce will also ensure peaceful general elections.
According to a report in Yeni Safak (09.10.10) entitled "Highest Number of Operations Against al-Qa'ida Carried out in Turkey", no country in the world has conducted more operations against al-Qa'ida than Turkey; a situation that belies the US-Israeli "black propaganda" campaign intended to represent Turkey as a supporter of al-Qaida through reports about Turkish pilots trained at Taliban camps, Turkish nationals killed in US operations in Pakistan, etc. The report claims that some 128 al-Qa'ida members have been arrested in the operations carried out in the past two years, increasing the number of al-Qa'ida suspects detained in this country since 2003 to 3000.
According to a Hurriyet (08.10.10) report a "website, broadcasting through a high-security server in the United States", has revealed the identity of Turkish militants killed in Predator attacks on Taliban camps on Afghanistan-Pakistan border in the last several weeks. The report adds that the American Predators, which are remotely controlled from Nevada, have killed 140 militants since September. Turks from Turkey and Turks from Germany are among those killed.
d) Headscarf issue
In a column in Milliyet (09.10.10), Kadri Gursel points out that "the power concept of the coalition composed of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), and the Gulen Movement has brought about public pressure of religious conservatism". Gursel argues that "the public pressure from above has further exacerbated the neighbourhood pressure in the grassroots." What will prevent a government that solves the headscarf problem through the use of power, from using power to apply pressure on all women to wear the headscarf in the universities, wonders Gursel. He adds that the Islamic attire problem has not actually been solved, it has merely been transported to the secular camp. It is now up to the secular camp to mobilize its power to get the government to reach a compromise; otherwise, it will be eliminated, Gursel asserts.
In a column in Cumhuriyet (09.10.10), Cuneyt Arcayurek expresses concern that the government, which views the headdress issue as religious, will introduce legislation that will "legalize the Islamic headdress, the symbol of political Islam, in the Turkish Republic."
According to a report in Aksam (08.10.10) CHP [Republican People's Party] officials have prepared a report for the party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu in which a proposal is made to lift headdress restrictions in universities through a simple readjustment of university regulations without any constitutional amendment, but that the headdress restrictions should continue in primary schools, lyceums, and in public sector.
Vakit (80.10.10) runs a front-page report which asserts that former Istanbul University President Kemal Alemdaroglu had the page containing Supplementary Article 17 of the Higher Education Law removed from the book of statutes so as to ensure that that nobody noticed the "illegal" practices he carried out in the name of imposing the headscarf ban at his university. Article 17 of the said law states that there are no dress restrictions at universities except those defined by the current laws, the report says.
e) Erdogan's 'double standards'
Writing in Taraf (09.10.10), Ahmet Altan criticizes Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for displaying double standards with regard to the Kurds. Citing the prime minister's remarks in Germany calling for education in the mother tongue for the Turkish community and opposing its assimilation, Altan asks why Erdogan denies these very rights to the Kurdish community in Turkey. No wonder, the Kurds do not trust Turkish politicians and the Turkish state, he says, adding that this approach is the reason for the failure to solve the Kurdish problem. Altan also accuses Erdogan of applying this double standard to the Alevi community in Turkey.
f) Foreign policy
Milliyet's (09.10.10) Sami Kohen views the heavy diplomatic traffic Ankara has been witnessing recently and applauds the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government for trying to improve ties with several countries despite existing problems. On the visits by the Austrian and French foreign ministers to Turkey, Kohen points out that Turkey is trying to boost ties with Austria and France even though those two are opposed to Turkey's EU membership. "There exist serious differences of opinion with our closest ally, the United States, in connection with regional problems," Kohen stresses, adding: "Nevertheless, the existing relations and cooperation must be protected in the interests of the two countries. The same thing can be said for Russia. What Russian President Medvedev said in Cyprus showed that the views of Moscow and Ankara on the Cyprus issue are very different. There may be other areas of disagreement, too. Yet, bilateral cooperation must go on in the interests of the two countries. With China too, there are significant disagreements over, say, the Uyghur question --about which there were demonstrations in Ankara on 8 October-- and it is normal for Ankara to convey its sensitivity about the issue; however this should not prevent the continuation of cooperation with China in various fields."
In an article in Yeni Safak (08.10.10), columnist Ibrahim Karagul comments on a "serious transformation" that has occurred in Turkey's defence concept signalled by its joint military exercises with Syria and more recently with China. He argues that this change in security policy is Turkey's response to the United States' "destructive plans" regarding Pakistan and US and Israeli efforts to represent Turkey as a supporter of international terrorism through press reports about Turkish war pilots receiving training at al-Qa'ida camps, etc.
g) Iran policy
Soner Cagaptay in his column in Cumhuriyet (09.10.10) wonders whether the AKP policy on Iran actually benefits Turkey or the AKP's goal to turn Turkey into a regional power.
At first glance, he notes, "the foreign policy strategy aiming to transform Turkey into a regional power seems like a positive development for Turkey," but Turkey cannot become a regional power if it contributes to Iran's nuclear armament. On the contrary, Cagaptay remarks, Iran's nuclear armament will make it sovereign in the region. This presents a contradiction between AKP's Iran policy and its foreign policy rhetoric, Cagaptay argues. He says that either the AKP is naive enough to believe that its mediation between Iran and the West will make it a regional power --which is unlikely given the political savvy displayed by this party since 2002-- or it does not really mind Iran's becoming a nuclear power. Cagaptay concludes that despite the AKP claim that it is trying to maintain the centuries-long balance of power between the two countries, the AKP policies will tip the balance in favour of Iran.
h) Turkey China cooperation, military exercises
Writing in Star (09.10.10), Yagmur Atsiz comments on the latest cooperation leap with China and refers to the Turkish and Chinese "plans to cooperate in the field of counterterrorism" if the relations between the two countries are to be raised to the level of "strategic partnership." Atsiz warns against the discrepancy that is likely to emerge between the terrorism definitions of the two countries. China's dissident Liu Xiabao who won the Nobel Peace Prize is one such example, he notes.
Today's Zaman columnist Abdullah Bozkurt argues that China's "eagerness to cultivate special ties with Turkey" reflects the perception that "the Turkish market will serve as a stepping stone for higher-end Chinese products to the European market." Bozkurt also relates how "economic cooperation" between Turkey and China has created "spillover effects in politics and diplomacy" and warns that "there are enough minefields ... to derail the improving relationship between the two countries."
Murat Yetkin, in his column in Radikat (08.10.10) says that the Turkish-Chinese military exercise has upset Israel and that the United States is also upset because Israel is upset. But despite being upset, the United States is not aggravating the situation because the Americans need Turkey in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. Commenting on the planned Chinese participation in major Turkish construction projects, Yetkin says the Turkish-Chinese relations are likely to progress fast once the Sincan [Xinjiang] problem is also solved, adding that it was against this backdrop that Prime Minister Erdogan told the EU that Turkey does not care if it is admitted into the union or not.
In her column in Hurriyet (08.10.10), Ferai Tinc says the United States, upset over the Turkish-Chinese military exercise especially after the information that the Chinese warplanes flew into Turkey over Iran, has asked Turkey for explanation about the purpose of the exercise. She says Turkey has the right to pursue its own priorities but during the talks with the Chinese official the AKP government, which has been defending human rights in Gaza, would do well to raise the issue of Uygur people's human rights for the sake of consistency.
Hurriyet's (09.10.10) Ferai Tinc views the situation of the freedom of the press in Turkey, points out that the restrictions because of security concerns have increased in the world especially since 9/11, adding that "Turkey is among the countries that suffer most in this regard." She recalls that over 40 journalists are currently incarcerated in Turkish prisons and maintains that the attitude that ignores these members of "marginal" media organs and accepts their punishment as deserving, is the real reason behind the court cases currently pending against hundreds of reporters and writers employed by Turkey's mainstream media. The counterterrorism law, which is the basis for many of the court verdicts against journalists, needs to be addressed if we do not want Turkey to be labeled a "prison country for journalists," Tinc states.
A report in Taraf (08.10.10) says that if the new strategy of securing deterrence through a mix of nuclear and conventional weapons is adopted at the NATO summit in Lisbon on 19 November, then 90 US tactical nuclear weapons based in Incirlik will remain in their place. The report notes that the NATO summit will be followed by the NATO-EU summit on 20 November again in Lisbon, during which Turkey will ask for the same status that Norway enjoys as regards the participation in the weapons production projects of the European Defence Agency (EDA). However, Cyprus, as a full member of the EU, is blocking Turkey's active participation in EDA projects. Ankara has, therefore, asked Rasmussen to help lift the Greek Cypriot veto. Another concern of Ankara is that if the NATO summit decides to permit the EU countries in NATO to conduct military operations independently of NATO assets then Turkey might find itself isolated and deprived of the possibility of cooperation with the EU on regional conflicts. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio