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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 10-12-20

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 CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No. 242/10 18-20.12.10 C O N T E N T S

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

  • [01] Eroglu undergoes a heart operation
  • [02] Ertug says the meeting in Geneva could be postponed for one-two weeks; Nami on the possible postponement of the meeting in Geneva
  • [03] Turkey is "extremely disturbed" from the agreement between Cyprus and Israel on their exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean
  • [04] Rauf Denktas: "Guarantees should not be negotiated"
  • [05] Buttenheim: "I am hopeful for the solution"
  • [06] An "MP" with CTP has sent a letter of complaint to Jerzy Buzek
  • [07] Full support by Eroglu and Kucuk to Turkish Tourism Investors Association
  • [08] The regime confiscates goods purchased by Turkish Cypriots in the government-controlled areas of Cyprus
  • [09] Turkish Cypriot was appointed as advisor of Turkey's Permanent Representation at the Council of Europe
  • [10] Turkish Cypriot trade unions protested to ILO in Ankara because "North Cyprus is under the administration of Turkey"
  • [11] Minimum wage determined to 1,300 TL
  • [12] AKP is still in the lead in Turkey
  • [B] TURKISH PRESS

  • [13] The occupation regime has been invited at the 11th Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) summit in Istanbul
  • [14] "Turkey's main opposition party cleanses its Augean Stables"
  • [15] Highlights

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

    Reports about the health situation of the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu after he underwent a heart surgery in Ankara yesterday, statements by Osman Ertug and Ozdil Nami on the possibility of postponement the meeting in Geneva for a while, Turkey's reaction to the recent agreement between Cyprus and Israel, statements by Lisa Buttenheim, UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Cyprus and Head of UNFICYP on the Cyprus problem, contacts of the Turkish Tourism Investors' Association in the occupied areas of Cyprus, statements by Rauf Denktas that Turkey's guarantees should not be negotiated before Turkey to become an EU member, a letter of complaint sent by Sibel Siber, "MP" with CTP, to the EP President Jerzy Buzek, reports concerning the strict controls of Turkish Cypriots by "customs officers" at Agios Dometios crossing point on Saturday, the new minimum wage in the occupied areas, a protest by Turkish Cypriot trade unions at ILO's offices in Ankara, and the appointment of a Turkish Cypriot woman as advisor of Turkey's Permanent Representation at the Council of Europe are some of the main issues covered by Turkish Cypriot press over the weekend.

    [01] Eroglu undergoes a heart operation

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (20.12.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu underwent a coronary artery bypass surgery yesterday at Ankara's Guven Hospital. According to the paper, two arteries of Eroglu were changed. The one was 60% occluded and the other was calcified.

    Professor Haldun Karadoz, who performed the surgery on the Turkish Cypriot leader, said the operation was successful. Eroglu's personal doctor, Professor Dervis Oral watched the operation. In statements to illegal Bayrak television, Oral said Eroglu could be discharged from hospital on Thursday or Friday.

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Eroglu as soon as he arrived in Ankara and wished him to get well soon. Furthermore, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and State Minister Cemil Cicek visited Eroglu at the hospital.

    In statements yesterday before departing for Ankara, Eroglu said he did not believe that there would be a "significant delay" in the negotiations on the Cyprus problem and added that the special representatives of the leaders will continue the "normal course" of the negotiations. He noted that his meeting with President Christofias planned for Tuesday is postponed, but after the operation he will be able to continue the negotiations more effectively. Eroglu said he carried out an angiography [at the illegal Near East University] not because he felt ill, but because of concern. He noted that he did his last angiography six years ago.

    Under the title "Eroglu too did not trust the State Hospital", Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (20.12.10) points out to the fact that Eroglu preferred to undergo the operation at a private hospital in Ankara and not at the hospital of the "Near East University", which boasts of its medical equipment and "well-known doctors". The paper writes that the operation was expected to take place today, but it was performed urgently yesterday.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Ertug says the meeting in Geneva could be postponed for one-two weeks; Nami on the possible postponement of the meeting in Geneva

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli (20.12.10) reports that Osman Ertug, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, has denied the allegations that the Cyprus negotiations could be postponed for a long time because of Dervis Eroglu's health. In statements to Kibrisli, Ertug noted that it was not right to create a climate as if the process has stopped.

    Ertug noted that it is still early to say something, but Eroglu's surgery will not influence negatively the talks. He said the process will continue special representatives' level. Ertug added that Eroglu will be informed about the process which will be carried out with his instructions. "The news that the President will rest for three months are not true", he argued.

    Noting that what the doctors will say is important, Ertug added: "The Cyprus negotiations continue for 42 years. The Geneva talks could be postponed for one or two weeks the most. However, as I said, it is still early to make a comment".

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (20.12.10) reports that Ozdil Nami, advisor of the former Turkish Cypriot leader Talat, has said the negotiations will enter into "a different process if the meeting in Geneva between the leaders and the UN Secretary-General is not held within the first three months of 2011.

    In statements to Haberdar, Nami argued that the elections to be held in Turkey and the government-controlled areas of Cyprus will cause tension in the negotiating process. He pointed out that it is difficult to negotiate before elections and that every step to be taken could be used by the opposition.

    Noting that the health of Eroglu is priority for them, Nami said the doctors will decide whether the meeting in Geneva will be postponed. Nami noted that meetings such as the one to be held in Geneva require intensive preparation and added that the health problems of Eroglu might postpone this meeting for a period. He noted that the Turkish side might ask for postponement, but this depends on UN Secretary-General's agenda.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Turkey is "extremely disturbed" from the agreement between Cyprus and Israel on their exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean

    Under the title "The waters will get warm", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (20.12.10) reports that Turkey is "extremely disturbed" from the agreement between the Republic of Cyprus and Israel with which the two states delineated their exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean Sea. According to information obtained by the paper from diplomatic sources in Ankara, Turkey reacted strongly to the signing of this agreement. Turkey's temporary charge d' affaires in Israel was called to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs the day before yesterday. According to the paper, the Israeli side said it signed this agreement within the framework of the discovery of new energy resources.

    Meanwhile, Ambassador Feridun Sinirlioglu, permanent undersecretary at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called Israeli Ambassador to Ankara, Gaby Levy to the Ministry and conveyed to him the disturbance of Turkey about the signing of the above-mentioned agreement. No details of this meeting were leaked to the press.

    Citing diplomatic sources, the paper reports that during the meeting, Sinirlioglu alleged that such "unilateral agreement" which "harms the legitimate rights and interests" of the Turkish Cypriots and ignores the will of the Turkish Cypriot side, will harm the ongoing negotiations on the island. He drew attention to the "negative consequences" of this agreement. The same diplomatic sources said such agreements should be left for the "partnership government" to decide and alleged that the fact that such agreement was signed by the Greek Cypriots on behalf of the whole island "is thought provoking for the way the Greek Cypriots see the negotiations and for their sincerity". The sources claimed that the resources of the island belong to both communities and that the initiative of the Greek Cypriots does not contribute to security and stability in the area. Within this framework, Turkey expects from all the countries in the area not to support these "unilateral initiatives of the Greek Cypriots", the sources said.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Rauf Denktas: "Guarantees should not be negotiated"

    Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak television (18.12.10, online) reports that former Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas issued a statement on the Cyprus problem. Denktas said that guarantees should not be included in the agenda of negotiations under the current situation and until Turkey gains its membership into the European Union.

    On the issue of territory, he stated that it must be resolved without destroying the principle of bi-zonality and added: "Two sovereign constituent states should form the essence of a possible federation." Moreover he said that the current system of settlement should also be protected.

    [05] Buttenheim: "I am hopeful for the solution"

    Under the above-title, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (20.12.10) reports that Lisa Buttenheim, UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Cyprus and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), has urged the Cypriot women to tell their leaders what kind of solution they want and to closely follow them.

    Addressing yesterday a meeting organized by the Turkish Cypriot Association of University Women, Buttenheim said Ban Ki-moon is personally involved in the Cyprus problem and has undertaken an initiative. She noted that more than 90 meetings were held since the talks started between President Christofias and the former Turkish Cypriot leader Talat and said she is hopeful that the problem will be solved without ninety more meetings to be needed.

    Buttenheim pointed out that it is agreed that the solution which will be reached will be a federation. She said an agreement was reached on many issues in the chapters of "governance and power sharing", "economy" and "the relations with the EU" during the talks for establishing a federation with a single international identity composed by a Turkish and a Greek Cypriot constituent state. Buttenheim expressed the hope that reconciliation will be achieved in other issues as well. She noted that since Eroglu was "elected" he has been reiterating his commitment to the solution and that the issue of "property" is discussed during this period.

    She said the majority in the team of Alexander Downer are women and added that there are two women in Eroglu's team while no woman exists in President Christofias' team. She said the UN is working for the approval of the solution plan by the people in referendums and added that the role of the leaders is important on this issue.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] An "MP" with CTP has sent a letter of complaint to Jerzy Buzek

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (19.12.10) reports that Dr. Sibel Siber, "MP" with the Republican Turkish Party ? United Forces (CTP-BG) in occupied Lefkosia has sent a letter of complaint to the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, with the aim o sending the message that five out of seven members of the High Level Contact Group for OP's relations with the Turkish Cypriot community are preventing the development of these relations, something which is unacceptable, as she said.

    In her statements, Sibel Siber said that it would be better if the members of the High Level Contact Group spent the night in the occupied areas of Cyprus, when they visit the island. She said only four out of the eight members of the group participated in a meeting with the Turkish Cypriots in Strasbourg last September and added that the other four members refrained from meeting with the representatives of the Turkish Cypriots. She noted that the "TRNC" "representative" in Brussels Ahmet Erdengiz was not given permission to address the group, as a result of the negative vote of the same MEPs. "This kind of behaviours shakes the confidence of Turkish Cypriots for the EU and causes frostiness in their relations" Siber added.

    (AK)

    [07] Full support by Eroglu and Kucuk to Turkish Tourism Investors Association

    Under the title "We will pave the way for the investors", Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (18.12.10) reports that a delegation from the Turkish Tourism Investors Association, which visited the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, had separate meetings with the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, the self-styled prime minister Irsen Kucuk and the self-styled minister of tourism, environment and culture Kemal Durust.

    During the meeting with Durust, Deputy Chairman of the Turkish Tourism Investors Association, Turgut Gur said that their aim is for 2 million tourists to visit the occupied areas of Cyprus every year. He added that they can make hotel investments in the occupied town of Varosha in parallel to the Cyprus settlement.

    In his statement, Eroglu reiterated that if the "embargoes" which are imposed on the Turkish Cypriots are lifted, the Greek Cypriot side will be motivated for a solution. He accused EU of not keeping its promise towards the Turkish Cypriots and of not implementing the Direct Trade Regulation.

    Gur, for his part, said that they are visiting the occupied areas for the second time this year. He said "investment opportunities in the TRNC will be investigated during their stay". He said that 25 casinos and 25-30 thousand hotel beds are not enough, adding that their aim is 27,000 hotel beds.

    Speaking during the visit of the Association, Kucuk asked for more investments to be made in the occupied areas of Cyprus. He also said that efforts to remove the "bureaucratic obstacles" in the way of investments were continuing, adding that new arrangements were being made to increase the number of investments in the occupied areas.

    Explaining that necessary steps were taken to realize the goal of declaring the 2011 as the "TRNC tourism year", Kucuk said this move will be announced during his visit to Ankara on the 27th of December.

    [08] The regime confiscates goods purchased by Turkish Cypriots in the government-controlled areas of Cyprus

    Under the title "The North was emptied", Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (19.12.10) reports that long queues were created on Saturday at the occupied part of Agios Dometios (Metehan) crossing point. Thousands of Turkish Cypriots crossed over to the free areas of Cyprus to do their shopping, because of the good weather and the period before the New Year.

    On the other hand, notes the paper, the shops in the occupied areas of Cyprus were empty. The self-styled minister of finance, Ersin Tatar told Halkin Sesi that the regime has warned the people many times. "I do not understand the people", he said.

    Upon instructions by Tatar, the "customs' officers" controlled one by one the vehicles which were returning from the free to the occupied areas of Cyprus. Goods with value higher than 135 Euros were confiscated. Replying to the reaction of the people, Tatar said they were only implementing the "law".

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (20.12.10) reports that the checks at the "customshouse" of the crossing points which were intensified the day before yesterday upon instructions by Ersin Tatar influenced negatively the crossings from the occupied to the free areas of the Republic.

    The paper writes that the crossings from the occupied to the free areas decreased yesterday, because of the news published in the press that the day before yesterday goods purchased by Turkish Cypriots from the government-controlled areas were confiscated by the breakaway regime at the Agios Dometios barricade. The controls continued yesterday at the barricades. The "customs" officers warned that they would permit only personal things to pass and not electronic goods, expensive games and some foods.

    Ersin Tatar stated yesterday that the "customs officers" did their job and that the controls at the "customs gate" should have been carried out earlier. He alleged that they respect the people who purchase goods from the free areas of the Republic in the period before the New Year, but added that their "state" is administrated with some "laws" and the implementation of these "laws" depends on them and their "officers".

    Tatar said the citizens know that according to the Green Line Regulation only personal things could be purchased and that commercial goods other than personal things are subject to permit. He noted that people should be careful on the issue of the goods they purchase.

    Referring to the goods confiscated at Agios Dometios barricade and the reactions caused on this issue, Tatar said according to the information given to him, loads of the toys were purchased and this enters into the scope of buying goods for trade.

    Meanwhile, the "Independence Alliance", an organization consisted of 33 civilian organizations, issued a statement yesterday calling on the Turkish Cypriots not to buy goods from the free areas of the Republic. Urging people to do shopping from the occupied areas of Cyprus, the statement said shopping from the free areas of Cyprus is "a serious problem" for the economy of the breakaway regime.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot columnist Sami Ozuslu comments on the issue in Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (20.12.10) under the title "Fascism at Agios Dometios". He recalls the campaign under the title "From Turk to Turk" carried out in the 1950's and 1960's when the Turkish Cypriots had been forced by the underground TMT organization to buy goods only from Turkish Cypriots. He says times changed but the mentality is the same. "What is the difference of the incident at Agios Dometios during the weekend from what TMT had been doing then", he wonders. "What was done at Agios Dometios during the weekend is similar to what the TMT was doing in the 1950's", notes Ozuslu adding that this is called fascism. "The next step is to close the barricades", he points out.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Turkish Cypriot was appointed as advisor of Turkey's Permanent Representation at the Council of Europe

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (20.12.10) reports that Gonul Eronen, the first Turkish Cypriot woman "judge", has retired after 31 years of service. Eronen is appointed as legal advisor of Turkey's Permanent Representation at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg as of January 2011.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Turkish Cypriot trade unions protested to ILO in Ankara because "North Cyprus is under the administration of Turkey"

    Under the title "A complaint to ILO", Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam (18.12.10) reports that a Turkish Cypriot union platform filed yesterday a complaint to the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Ankara protesting that "the economic packages Turkey imposes on north Cyprus are contrary to the collective agreements and their vested rights".

    The paper reports that during a press conference yesterday, the delegation, explained that the reason they conveyed the letter to ILO's officials in Ankara is because the north part of Cyprus is under the administration of Turkey and therefore Turkey's practices in the occupied areas are contrary to ILO agreements.

    [11] Minimum wage determined to 1,300 TL

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (18.12.10) reports that the so-called minimum wage committee raised the minimum wage in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus from 1,237 TL to 1,300 TL. The new minimum wage will be put into practice on 1st of January 2011.

    [12] AKP is still in the lead in Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (20.12.10) reports that according to the results of a public opinion poll carried out by Haberturk newspaper and Konsensus company regarding the power of the political parties in Turkey between 4-16 December 2010, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is still in the lead as 40.9% of the participants in the poll said they would vote for the AKP if elections were held today. However, the AKP is losing votes. According to Star Kibris, the results of the survey, during which 1500 persons were interviewed through telephone, were the following:

    AKP: 40.9%, Republican People's Party (CHP) 26%, Nationalist Action Movement (MHP) 14.2% and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) 7.5%.

    The AKP lost nearly 4% of its votes in comparison with last November when its percentage was 44.8%. MHP, CHP and BDP, on the other hand, increased their votes by 1.3%, 1% and 0.8% respectively comparing to the same period.

    (I/Ts.)


    [B] TURKISH PRESS

    Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu's sudden trip to Ankara for a heart surgery (by-pass) an invitation sent to the occupation regime to attend the 11th summit of the Economic Cooperation Association (ECO) between Turkey and Iran in Istanbul, main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) 15th extraordinary convention which took place on December 18 and approved the new administration with which CHP will enter 2011 elections, an e-mail interview to Hurriyet newspaper by the US President Barack Obama on Turkey-US relations, reports that the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) accepted the applications of Turkey, Israel, Serbia, Slovenia and the Republic of Cyprus Republic for candidacy, and other internal issues were covered by the Turkish press during the weekend.

    [13] The occupation regime has been invited at the 11th Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) summit in Istanbul

    Turkish daily Sabah (online, 20.12.10) reports that the Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is set to visit Turkey in order to attend the 11th Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) summit to take place in Istanbul on December 23. According to the paper, the upcoming meeting will be focused on economic issues and on the bilateral trade between Turkey and Iran.

    As it is, inter alia, stated, the occupation regime, Iraq, Syria, Qatar, Jordan and Lebanon have been invited to the summit, which will be hosted by the Turkish President Abdullah Gul. "However, attendance on the level of heads of state and government from these countries is not expected," the paper notes.

    [14] "Turkey's main opposition party cleanses its Augean Stables"

    Under the above-title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (19.12.10, online) reports the following on the developments in the Republican People's Party:

    "Like the mythical figure of Hercules diverting two rivers to clean out the massive stables of the Greek King Augeas, the head of Turkey's main opposition has sought to change the course of his party ahead of the elections, replacing more than half of one of the Republican People's Party, or CHP's, main executive bodies at this weekend's convention.

    The leader of Turkey's main opposition has solidified his control of the party ahead of next year's general elections, replacing more than half of one of its main executive bodies with his handpicked candidates.

    During the Republican People's Party, or CHP's, extraordinary convention Saturday in Ankara, party chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu succeeded in introducing 46 new names to the party assembly, changing 58 percent of the 80-member body's composition. Thirty-three of the previous assembly members maintained their positions.

    'For the time being, we can say that he strengthened his leadership in the party. All his powerful rivals will have to wait for the upcoming general election results,' Utku Cakirozer, the Ankara representative of daily Cumhuriyet, told the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Saturday.

    Kilicdaroglu used the extraordinary convention to address the party's supporters, both in the conference hall and across the nation, Cakirozer said. 'His priority was not only the thousands within the hall but the millions listening to him from their homes. His speech was more than a political party congress statement; it was an election manifesto.'

    The results of the general elections, to be held June 12, 2011, will serve as a referendum on Kilicdaroglu and his right-hand man, Gursel Tekin, as they seek to return the party to government.

    'The speech of Mr. Kilicdaroglu is a clear commencement of the election campaign,' Altan Oymen, a former CHP leader and a columnist for daily Radikal, wrote in his column Sunday. 'He will concretize the points he made at his speech during the election campaign.'

    Subtitle: Breaking away from the past

    The main opposition party has long been criticized for being a 'party of the state,' an image strengthened by its stances in the ongoing Ergenekon and "Balyoz" (Sledgehammer) cases, which target alleged groups accused of aiming to topple the government with a military coup. At the convention, however, Kilicdaroglu seemed determined to present a different image of the party and distance it from the state bureaucracy.

    'The CHP is not a party that advocates a leftist-bureaucratic state. It is the party of the people,' the CHP chief said in his speech, during which he also promised more contemporary, civilian policies with a focus on human rights, freedom and labor.

    Saturday's convention increased the confidence within the party, former CHP Secretary-General Tarhan Erdem wrote in his column Sunday in Radikal.

    'If there had been a vote Saturday among the delegates, 90 percent of them would have admitted that the CHP was closer to governing. Kilicdaroglu's speech pushed the CHP to make another step in this direction,' Erdem wrote, reflecting the general feeling among the hundreds of CHP delegates that it was time for the party to break away from the policies associated with the previous leadership.

    'I have been in the CHP for 30 years. I am a supporter of [former CHP chief Deniz] Baykal. But if Baykal came and asked for my support today, I would not give it. I am really angry. I cannot even persuade my son,' Fethi Ates, a delegate from the northwestern town of Sakarya, told reporters Saturday. 'Ninety-five percent of delegates do not know Kilicdaroglu. But they support him. Why? Because we want to win now.'

    The CHP will accelerate its preparatory work for the elections following the formation of its 14-member Central Executive Board, or MYK. "We will wait for the finalization of the party assembly elections and then establish our [MYK]," Kilicdaroglu told reporters Sunday morning.

    Subtitle: Sav: 'I am not resentful'

    The 80-person party assembly, one of the CHP's main executive bodies, was elected as Kilicdaroglu had wanted despite criticism from his predecessor Baykal. Sixty-eight members of the assembly were nominated by Kilicdaroglu directly while 12 seats for the Science and Culture Platform were selected out of 18 names suggested by the party chief.

    One of the figures left out of the new assembly was former Secretary-General Onder Sav. Speaking to reporters Saturday, Sav said he was not resentful, emphasizing that the party's success was the most important thing.

    'The success of individuals is temporary,' Sav said. 'What is permanent is the CHP.'

    The former secretary-general, however, did not hide his dissatisfaction with the assembly list. 'I do not say it's complete or incomplete. But I would make a different list,' he told reporters.

    Hakki Suha Okay, a former CHP spokesman and close aide to Sav, also said the assembly did not reflect Kilicdaroglu's earlier promises of a more inclusive list. 'What is more important is how the MYK will be shaped. We'll follow it,' he said.

    Baykal did not make any comment following the convention.

    Despite the conflict between the party's current and former leaders, Kilicdaroglu saved some seats on the assembly for supporters of Baykal and Sav, including Gulsun Bilgehan, granddaughter of the country s second president, 0smet 0nonu. Assembly members Gokhan Gunaydin, Atila Sav and Riza Yalcinkaya are known for their close links to Sav, while Atila Emek, Osman Kaptan, Bihlun Tamayligil, Mehmet Ali Susam and Ali 0hsan Kokturk are close to Baykal. None of these figures are, however, expected to be given key posts in the party's executive bodies".

    [15] Highlights

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 18-20 December 2010:

    CHP Congress

    In an article entitled "CHP has to recreate itself" Milliyet, 18.12.10, Semih Idiz writes: "the results of the CHP congress will indicate the level of the main opposition's strength toward the 2011 elections. Once the CHP resolves its inner-party issues, it will pose a serious challenge under Kemal Kilicdaroglu's leadership against the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP... From a foreign policy perspective, the CHP should stop working with conservative elites and leave foreign policy in the hands of people with new and fresh ideas. The CHP has to recreate itself in order to achieve this and that remains to be seen."

    Republican People's Party, CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu's speech is analyzed in an article entitled "CHP at last" by Milliyet's Derya Sazak (19.12.10). He observes: "Kemal Kilicdaroglu dedicated most part of his speech to the social state concept. He listed some projects for solving unemployment and poverty. The content of his congressional address gave public opinion a sign of policy change in the CHP. It seems CHP will alter its pro-status quo as well as pro-state and pro-military attitudes. ... While criticizing the 12 September military regime in a bold manner, Kemal Kilicdaroglu presented a shy attitude about other problematic areas, such as Kurds, Alevis, and the headscarf issue."

    Utku Cakirozer in Cumhuriyet (19.12.10) notes that Kemal Kilicdaroglu "used the Congressional venue to issue a declaration for the upcoming elections." In his article "Are you all standing up?" he writes: "Kemal Kilicdaroglu's speech not only was designed for delegates in the congressional venue but it also served as a nation-wide address. He asked every member of the society for commotion against eight years of Justice and Development Party, AKP, ruling. ... Even though the Congress was held for renewing the party administration, Kemal Kilicdaroglu used this as an opportunity to issue a declaration for the upcoming elections. He pledged more democracy and freedom. ... There were points which he did not touch on during his speech. He mentioned secularism only once and that was in the social state context. He did not pronounce 'Kurds' either. But he promised for solving the problems through a 'third-way' approach by giving full respect for ethnic identities."

    In an article entitled "Without self-censorship" in Hurriyet, 19.12.10 Ferai Tinc writes: "CHP leader's speech carried a general tone on the problems and did not offer solutions in a clear manner. The Kurdish problem was one of them. He avoided naming the Kurdish problem and instead he offered a third-way politics to terminate ethnic and religious exploitation. But this approach needs to be filled with content. ... He did not mention the issue of military guardianship either. Instead he promised for lifting military courts. ... In any case, CHP is determined to change which will be good for Turkey, particularly on the eve of elections. A new CHP will elevate the quality in political competition."

    Radikal's Murat Yetkin (19.12.10) observes in his article entitled "CHP pledged for change": "The composition of the party board is compatible with 'the new CHP' pledge. The new party administration is more inclined to democrats, left-wing as well as liberals. ... It seems the pledge for change has been fulfilled. The implementation remains to be seen."

    A report by Hasan Tosun in Yeni Akit (19.12.10) underlines: "Kilicdaroglu again failed to become a leader. At the CHP congress held to determine the members of the Party Council, he was forced to include the names Baykal and Sav wanted into the Council. Despite suggestions made to be firm, Kilicdaroglu filled a significant section of the Council with names close to Baykal and Sav." The report goes on to detail the significant names within the Council and their affiliations.

    Sledgehammer Trial

    Mehmet Ali Birand in Hurriyet Daily News (17.12.10) explains the importance of Sledgehammer trial and writes: "As I read through the indictment questions came to my mind. I had the impression that prosecutors pressed in guilt upon the military. But it's not about whether or not the accused are guilty. What is important is that a case has been filed and retired or on active duty commanders have been called to account. Despite applications that are not in line with the judiciary, not convincing allegations and unnecessary statements that imply politics I do value this case. This case is a new start in the history of Turkish politics. Let alone calling the Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, to account the era of jumping at those who even have this thought is over."

    Okay Gonensin in Vatan (17.12.10) says the importance of Sledgehammer trial comes from its political content. In an article entitled "The real case" he notes: "The Sledgehammer is a complex as well as a political trial because all of the suspects are accused of political crimes. ... This is one of the most important political trials in Turkish history. For the first time, a political tradition for 100 years is on trial."

    In an article "The Meaning of Sledgehammer" Mehmet Altan in Star (17.12.10) observes an overall military spirit in Turkish politics despite the Sledgehammer trial: "It happens for the first time that high rank military officers are going on trial. Concurrently with the ongoing trial however the government is busy with making arrangements to take military spending out of parliamentary supervision. ... It seems Turkish politics still lack having a systematic integrity. We still cannot get rid of [the traces of] 12 September military regime."

    Kurdish Issue

    Taraf's Yasemin Congar (17.12.10) argues that supporting bilingualism in Turkey using both Turkish and Kurdish languages requires a change in the mindset. In an article entitled "Living Bilingual" she observes: "Everyone should be able to speak with his/her mother tongue. Mother tongue teaching and getting public service in mother tongue should be considered as a right not a privilege. ... This is not easy thing for Turkey and requires a reform in mentality. Discussion on bilingualism in Turkey should be extended as well as encouraged."

    Radikal's Murat Yetkin (17.12.10) encourages speaking in Kurdish but also sees a potential risk for popular backlash after BDP's attempt. In his article entitled "The Revolt for Kurdish" he writes: "Peace and Democracy Party, BDP, started the bilingualism debate. They are trying to force the ruling AKP to take steps on Kurdish problem before the elections and they are using the Kurdish language issue for that matter. However this effort may receive a popular backlash and Nationalist Action Party, MHP can enjoy benefiting from it." The writer then concludes by saying: "There has to be a way to find using Kurdish language in daily life without further ado and before it becomes too late."

    Under the headline "Everybody Should Behave More Responsibly," Zaman (18.12.10) carries a front-page report which highlights President Abdullah Gul's remarks warning BDP deputies against addressing Parliament in Kurdish.

    In an article entitled "Kurds and Language" Today's Zaman columnist Ergun Babahan asserts that "concerns about the Kurdish population and the possibility that one day they will set up their own state" do not constitute any "reason for depriving them of their right to protect, preserve and improve their native language."

    TGS Statement on Bilingualism

    Ergun Babahan in Star (18.12.10) criticizes the army for issuing a statement about the bilingualism debate. In anarticle entitled "Politics will take care of it," he states: "The General Staff [TGS] once again crossed its limits. The statement by the TGS interferes in Turkey's constitutional order and constitutes a direct response to President Gul's comments. In other words, the army is responding back to its commander-in-chief. No military in any democratic country can do that... There has to be a consequence for this action. All of the commanders signed this statement must be asked to retire."

    Ismet Berkan in Hurriyet (18.12.10) also criticizes the military for issuing a statement "like a political party." In his article entitled "Mind Your Own Business," he says: "The TGS made an unneccesary statement. The content of this statement including the threatening attitude between the lines will not serve any purpose... The ongoing debates are political thus political parties should continue discussing and working on them. The TGS is not a political party and has no place in the ongoing political debate

    Milliyet's Fikret Bila (18.12.10) explains the statement issued by the TGS. In his article entitled "The Survival Message from the Chief of General Staff," he writes: "The General Staff has been following the recent developments including the autonomy and bilingualism debate as well as the speaking of Kurdish in parliament... Given the wording of the TGS statement, the recent events are all considered within the framework of the future survival of Turkish Republic. Therefore there is an emphasis on nation-state and unitary-state concepts... It is noteworthy that the statement expresses 'worry' which means the military is really worried about the recent events."

    Turkish EU relations

    Viewing Turkish-EU relations in an article in Sunday's Zaman, Amanda Paul writes: "The Cyprus problem, and the intransigent positions of some member states -- in particular France -- vis-?-vis Turkish accession is putting Ankara's bid on death row. If the EU can find a way to move away from its present short-sighted approach, if it can break the Turkey-EU-Cyprus triangle and the vicious circle of blame, it may be possible to get Turkey and the EU back on track."

    Interview with President Obama

    Hurriyet (19.12.10) carries a lengthy e-mail interview with President Barack Obama signed by the paper's Washington reporter Tolga Tanis. Advertised as "President Obama's first ever interview with a Turkish paper," a report entitled "Our partnership is resilient and cannot be threatened by the WikiLeaks" covers US President's views on American-Turkish ties, Iran, Israel-Turkey relations, NATO, PKK and Kurdish problem, and the performance of Turkish economy. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    /EG


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