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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-01-05

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No.03 /11 05.01.11 C O N T E N T S

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

  • [01] Turkish ambassadors discuss the Geneva meeting and increase in the number of "delegations" of the breakaway regime abroad
  • [02] Ankara admits that its EU accession reached deadlock because of non-solution of the Cyprus problem
  • [03] Rauf Denktas asks for an urgent population census in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [04] "The trade unions revolted!"
  • [05] Bulutoglulari announces candidature for the post of UBP's general secretary
  • [06] Avci argues that Ankara wants a "coalition government" in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [07] Swine flu reportedly returned to the occupied part of Cyprus
  • [08] Reaction to the project of carrying water from Turkey to the occupied part of Cyprus
  • [B] TURKISH PRESS

  • [09] Bagis says that Cyprus is the only country that trades with the "TRNC"
  • [10] "The Turkey-EU-Cyprus fiasco"
  • [11] Turkish Court releases eight Hizbullah members
  • [12] Turkey will reduce military service for police officers
  • [13] Turkish company signed protocol to develop UAV's for TSK
  • [14] A survey shows AKP with 45.3% of votes
  • [15] Highlights

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

    The discussion of the Cyprus problem within the framework of the Third Ambassadors' Conference in Turkey, statements by Rauf Denktas on the issue of illegal workers from Turkey, reaction by the Trade Unions' Platform against the economic measures implemented by the regime, the candidacy of Cemal Bulutoglulari for the post of the general secretary of the UBP, the first case of swine flu in the occupied areas of Cyprus for 2011, and other internal matters are the main issues covered by the Turkish Cypriot press today. Moreover, many papers refer, on their front page, to the floods in occupied Keryneia and Laptihos areas due to the heavy rainfall yesterday.

    [01] Turkish ambassadors discuss the Geneva meeting and increase in the number of "delegations" of the breakaway regime abroad

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (05.01.11) reports that a session under the title "Cyprus: Predictions regarding the Geneva negotiations and the following period" was held yesterday with the participation of Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu within the framework of the Third Ambassadors' Conference.

    According to information obtained from the session, which was closed to the press, Cemil Cicek briefed participants on aid given to the breakaway regime and its use. The ambassadors, on the other hand, explained the stance of the countries they are accredited in towards the Cyprus problem and the "TRNC".

    Moreover, ways to increase the number of the delegations of the "TRNC" abroad and the lifting of the "isolation" implemented on the "TRNC" were also discussed.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Ankara admits that its EU accession reached deadlock because of non-solution of the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (05.01.11) reports that Ankara admitted that its accession talks with the EU came to a deadlock because of the non-solution of the Cyprus problem. Under the title "Cyprus is a big problem for Ankara", Havadis refers to information published yesterday in Turkish Taraf newspaper and writes that this "admission" was included in a special booklet distributed to the participants of the Third Ambassadors' Conference.

    The paper reports that addressing the Conference, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the role they want Turkey to play is that of a "wise country" the opinion of which is heeded in the world and in global events. He noted that the Turkish diplomats should not be like "firemen" who run from crisis to crisis trying to solve it, but they should predict the crises and make plans to avoid them.

    The paper adds that despite Davutoglu's vision, the special booklet distributed to the ambassadors admits that Ankara's accessions talks with the EU, "which is a cornerstone for Turkey's westernization project", have come to a deadlock. Scenarios to counter all possible developments in this situation will be discussed in the meetings of the ambassadors in Ankara and Erzurum, notes the paper.

    Turkey's EU membership perspective and scenarios on the non-solution in Cyprus occupy an important part of the booklet under the title "2011 Discussion Documents, Visionary Diplomacy: The Global and Regional System from Turkey's Perspective". The topics in the booklet will be discussed during the conference and Turkey's stance is expected to be shaped.

    Some of the issues in the booklet are:

    - The decrease of the support to Turkey's EU accession due to the rise of the extreme right, xenophobia and anti-Islamism in the EU member-countries.

    - The result of surveys that the percentage of those who believe that Turkey could join the EU fell to 38%.

    - Thirteen chapters have been opened until today for negotiations during the accession talks with the EU. One of these chapters was concluded. None of the others can be concluded. Eighteen chapters cannot open "because of political obstacles". "As a result, the accession negotiations have come to a deadlock". Turkey will continue its reforms with determination.

    - The Republic of Cyprus follows the policy of raising obstacles in all the fields of relations between Turkey and the EU, and mainly in the accession talks. Despite the fact that Cyprus is not the only obstacle in Ankara's accession process, "a progress or a solution that could be achieved in the Cyprus issue will secure great momentum in our accession process".

    - "The Cyprus problem seems to be the basic key in the short and medium term negotiating process. A positive development to be experienced in the context of the Cyprus problem could pave the way of our negotiating process".

    - Turkey will continue working towards its harmonization with the acquis communautaire even if progress towards solution of the Cyprus problem is not achieved and the negotiating process stops. In this case, during the re-evaluation of relations between Turkey and the EU, the issue of whether Turkey should be guided by its reaction to the decisions of the 1997 Summit in Luxembourg (where it had not been given the status of a candidate country) could come on the agenda of the public debate. Such measures (similar to those taken after Luxembourg), will not be in Turkey's interest. "As a result, it is considered that the re-examination of our relations with the EU should not be mentioned in any manner at this stage".

    - Russia openly supports the Greek Cypriots both in the negotiations and in their stance to prevent a decision to end UNFICYP mandate. It is also seen that China and France's support is "more wary". It is estimated that under this stance lies Russia's wish to use Cyprus as trump card against Turkey and the assessment that as long the Cyprus problem is not solved it will not be possible for relations between Turkey and the EU on the one hand and NATO and the EU on the other to "stay on the rails".

    Some questions included in the booklet are the following:

    - How will relations between Turkey and the EU evolve in the second half of 2012 during Cyprus' Term Presidency? And what is the possibility of the election of Nicolas Sarkozy (who is against Turkey's accession to the EU) during the presidential elections in France in 2012?

    - What approaches should be developed against the increasing fanaticism in the Greek Cypriot side, the lack of culture of coexistence and the diminishing possibility of reaching a solution based on partnership with the Turkish Cypriots?

    - Is it possible for the Turkish side to declare that the process will not bear results in case it is seen that the target of finding a comprehensive solution in Cyprus could not be achieved? At which stage could this be done? What will the negative consequences be?

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Rauf Denktas asks for an urgent population census in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (05.01.11) reports that Rauf Denktas, former Turkish Cypriot leader, participated in a programme on Kibris TV yesterday in which he commented on the complains that the population in the occupied areas of Cyprus increases quickly and at the same time criminality escalates. Denktas said it would be more appropriate for the necessary measures to be taken at the ports of Turkey. He noted that when a person is about to exit Turkey, the authorities should check how much money he has in his pocket and where he intends to go. Those who have no money could not be sent to Cyprus, he said expressing the view that this would be "more appropriate" than sending back to Turkey those who come to the occupied ports of Cyprus.

    Denktas pointed out that "an urgent population census" should be held in the occupied areas of Cyprus and the illegal workers from Turkey or other countries should be located. He said measures could be taken regarding the expenses incurred for persons from Turkey who come to the occupied part of Cyprus to work, and extra aid could be asked from Turkey. He said he still supports the view that "Turk goes, Turk comes".

    Referring to the implementation of the economic protocol signed between Turkey and the breakaway regime, Denktas said he is not content and added that he expected from Turkey to see the reaction of the people here, become milder and help more the "government" of the regime.

    Denktas noted that he is worried about the fact that Eroglu will go to Geneva after undergoing a difficult surgery. He argued that it is highly possible for a "new document" to come up in Geneva with amendments which will satisfy the Greek Cypriots. "This could happen especially if Turkey winks at it. Therefore, some things should be clarified before Eroglu goes there. For example, issues such as the constituent state, the guarantees etc", he said.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] "The trade unions revolted!"

    Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (05.01.11) reports that the Trade Unions' Platform met yesterday and took some decisions regarding reaction against the economic measures implemented in the occupied areas of Cyprus. According to these decisions, 2011 has been declared as "Year of struggle for the existence of the community". Today the trade unions are expected to hold a protest outside the self-styled ministry of finance and Turkey's "embassy" in the occupied part of Lefkosia. As of 11 January 2011, continuous struggle will start with strikes and other activities for an indefinite period of time.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Bulutoglulari announces candidature for the post of UBP's general secretary

    Under the title "The number of candidates is three", Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (05.01.11) reports that after Mutlu Atasayan and Ertugrul Hasipoglu, Cemal Bulutoglulari, "mayor" of the occupied part of Lefkosia, announced yesterday that he is candidate for the post of the general secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP). Bulutoglulari said he took this decision after securing the support of 15 "mayors" elected with the UBP. "I do not enter into an election which I will not win", he argued.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Avci argues that Ankara wants a "coalition government" in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (05.01.11) reports that Turgay Avci, chairman of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), stated that Ankara wants the establishment of a "coalition government" in the occupied areas of Cyprus. In statements to local Genc TV, Avci recalled statements made by Irsen Kucuk, self-styled prime minister, who had said that the door of his party is open for a "coalition" with the Social Democracy Party (TDP), but it seems that the latter has no intention of making a coalition with the National Unity Party (UBP).

    Avci expressed the view that the TDP was displeased with the fact that Ejder Aslanbaba, former independent "MP" and member of the Democratic Party (DP), joined the UBP.

    Asked how Turkey sees a possible "coalition", Avci noted that Ankara knows that having 26 "seats" in the "assembly" is dangerous [Tr. Note: The self-styled assembly has 50 "seats"]. He pointed out that this why Ankara is positive to the establishment of a "coalition government".

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Swine flu reportedly returned to the occupied part of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (05.01.11) reports that the swine flu has returned to the occupied areas of Cyprus and that the first case was confirmed yesterday in a private hospital in the occupied part of Lefkosia. A young girl was registered as the first swine flu case in 2011. The young woman is now resting at home.

    The "authorities" of the regime denied the information and stated that there is no case of swine flu in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    The paper recalls that three people died in the past in the occupied part of Cyprus because of the swine flu.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Reaction to the project of carrying water from Turkey to the occupied part of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (05.01.11) reports that the inhabitants of Ormancik village, in Mersin's Anamur area, react against the construction of Alakopru Dam which will be built within the framework of the project to carry water from Turkey to the occupied areas of Cyprus via undersea pipelines. The inhabitants of the village said they will be negatively affected by the dam as their houses will be demolished. The head of the village, Murat Cicek told Halkin Sesi that 194 families live in the village. Cicek explained that they were treated unjustly during the process of the expropriation of their land and added that they will ask a meet the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan on this issue.

    (I/Ts.)


    [B] TURKISH PRESS

    The main topic in today's Turkish press is the release of prisoners in accordance with a new law. Other stories highlighted are the production of UAVs by Vestel, Erdogan's speech at the Turkish Parliament, the results of a recent political survey, the arrival of 2011 Winter Universiade torch in Ankara, and other internal issues.

    [09] Bagis says that Cyprus is the only country that trades with the "TRNC"

    Under the title "Five years with EU under focus of ministers, diplomats", Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 05.01.11) reports that on the 2nd day of the annual gathering of ambassadors, the Foreign Ministry hosted on Tuesday a session titled "A balance sheet on the fifth year of our EU membership process: Negotiations and reform process."

    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, State Minister Egemen Bag1, chief negotiator for EU talks, and Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin participated in the meeting. (...)

    "In a presentation summarizing the current state regarding Turkey's EU bid, Ambassador Ayse Sezgin, undersecretary of the ministry responsible for EU affairs, stated that public opinion still favours seeing Turkey as a full EU member. Sezgin, however, said that the public's confidence in the eventual outcome of the membership process has been weakened mainly due to politically motivated obstacles raised by the EU side. The ministry representation reiterated Ankara's view that any formula less than full membership relationship, such as 'privileged partnership,' is not acceptable.(...)

    The EU suspended accession talks on eight out of the 35 chapters in 2006 due to Turkey's refusal to open its ports and airports to traffic from the Republic of Cyprus. France is unilaterally blocking talks on five chapters that it says are directly related to accession. Since December 2009, Cyprus has unilaterally blocked the opening of talks on six more chapters because of Turkey's continued failure to open its ports and airports to Cyprus' vessels.

    Still, Turkey doesn't plan to suspend its ongoing exercises concerning those suspended or blocked chapters, Bagis said at the meeting, noting that they have been in constant coordination and cooperation with related institutions and working according to the opening and closing benchmarks on those chapters. Thanks to these efforts, in addition to the already 13 chapters opened, Turkey today has been technically ready to open 16 more chapters and close 12 chapters, he suggested.

    'It is a first in the history of enlargement [of the EU] that more than half of the chapters are being blocked for political reasons. However, our main goal is not opening and closing chapters or the number of opened and closed chapters. [But is] to raise the level of our standard of living. The EU membership process is an additional propulsive power for us to reach this goal and is a motivating factor that should not be underestimated,' Bagis said.

    'The energy chapter, which could constitute one of the most important fields of cooperation between the EU and our country, is being blocked by the EU member country that least needs energy, and this creates a tragicomic situation," Bagis also said, levelling criticism against Greek Cyprus.

    'In the same way, it is thought provoking that this member country, which is sovereign on a part of this beautiful Mediterranean, is the only country that trades with the KKTC [the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus], while it blocks trade between the KKTC and the other EU member countries,' he said.

    According to the chief negotiator, Turkey's EU membership process is being closely followed all over the world, from the Middle East to America. 'Each day, more people are criticizing the insincere and inconsistent policy of some EU countries. Change requires courage and sacrifice. Today, one needs to be bold to defend EU membership. That's why I thank all the courageous people who lend support to us in this thorny process, particularly you, our precious ambassadors and members of the Foreign Ministry,' Bagis said".

    [10] "The Turkey-EU-Cyprus fiasco"

    In an article in Turkish daily Today's Zaman with the above title, columnist Amanda Paul views how the Cyprus problem affects Turkey's bid to the EU and writes that during 2010 Ankara only opened one negotiating chapter, because Turkey did not want to make further concessions to the EU, as Bagis said.

    She also writes: "On Jan. 13 the Hungarian Presidency will hold a candidate country summit. No doubt, there will a lot of grumbling over the state of Ankara's membership talks and particularly about Cyprus. It is no secret that Ankara thinks the EU should put Cyprus in its place. Because Turkey is an increasingly important regional player with a booming economy and a dynamic foreign policy, Ankara cannot understand how the 26 other EU members allow the Greek Cypriots to block Turkey, a crucial partner. However, on issues of sovereignty, the EU has an 'all for one and one for all' approach, so while the Hungarian prime minister has promised to help Turkey, unless he has a secret magic formula, he may find his hands tied."

    She thinks that the EU made a mistake by accepting Cyprus and not making membership conditional on solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Amanda Paul wonders why Erdogan should bother, in an election year, to agree on a deal with the Greek Cypriots, when EU membership is becoming increasingly irrelevant to most Turks. Even if a miracle occurs, and the Cyprus problem is resolved, Turkey's membership would still be far from guaranteed, she argues and concludes "However, great journeys start with one brave step, and I hope that settling the Cyprus problem will be that step".

    [11] Turkish Court releases eight Hizbullah members

    Today's Turkish newspapers (05.01.11) report that in accordance with a new law, restricting the length of time a suspect can be held without trial implemented as of the beginning of this year, 10 key members of Hizbullah standing trial for the killing of 188 people, were released on Monday.

    Among the defendants are Haci Inan who was allegedly in charge of the so-called military wing of the Hizbullah terrorist organization.

    Within the scope of the trial of the Hizbullah terrorist organization, the court decided to impose judicial control provisions on Haci Inan, the organization's so-called Istanbul leader Ilyas Kutulman, Ibrahim Evliyaoglu, Mehmet Bayram Eren, Emin Ekinci, Sabahattin Alkan, Abdulsettar Yildizbakan, and Burhan Ekineker, all of whom it decided to release following a review within the scope of article 102 of the CMK.

    [12] Turkey will reduce military service for police officers

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.01.11), the term of military service will be reduced from 15 months to 6 months for police officers graduates of police vocational high schools. Moreover, for police chiefs graduates of the Police Academy, the service will be reduced from 12 months to 3 weeks, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek announced on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters after a Cabinet meeting, Cicek said the relevant bill has been submitted to Parliament for approval. Cicek pointed out that Turkey's need for policemen is increasing, and that the number of policemen per capita is low in Turkey compared to the European average.

    Cicek noted that the Cabinet also took up another bill that would enable the partial transition to a professional army with the employment of thousands of salaried soldiers in the military. Stating that the bill has some shortcomings, Cicek said it would soon be concluded and submitted to Parliament. According to the bill, 50,000 soldiers will be employed in the first phase, to be selected from a pool of applicants who are at least elementary school graduates and who have completed their 15-month compulsory military service.

    [13] Turkish company signed protocol to develop UAV's for TSK

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.01.11), Turkish Defence Industry Undersecretariat and Turkey's Vestel Defence Corporation signed a protocol on Tuesday to develop a tactical unmanned aerial vehicle for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, Turkish National Defence Minister Gonul said "with the mini and tactical unmanned aerial vehicles and ANKA unmanned aerial vehicle manufactured by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Turkey's dependency on foreign sources for the supply of the unmanned aerial vehicles has ended".

    Director General of Vestel Defense Corporation, Aziz Sipahi said Vestel invested 25 million USD for the project. Vestel was established in 2003 and began working on unmanned aerial vehicles in 2005.

    The unmanned aerial vehicle 'Karayel' will be able to fly 20 hours continuously at an altitude of 22,000 feet, and carry up to 80 kilograms of useful load, Sipahi said adding that the aim is develop 'Karayel' so that it could be exported to various countries.

    [14] A survey shows AKP with 45.3% of votes

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 05.01.11), under the title "Poll: New CHP unable to come to power, solve Kurdish question", publishes an opinion poll on the course of politics in Turkey conducted by the Ankara-based MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Center, owned and run by Professor ?zer Sencar. [According to Hurriyet Daily News (04.01.11), the Ankara-based MetroPOLL survey company is affiliated to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)]

    The poll was conducted from Dec. 25 to 29 by telephone among a random national sampling of 1,504 adults residing in cities, towns and villages. The margin of error is 2.5%, at a 95% confidence level.

    Some of the chief questions in the survey were on the new Republican People's Party (CHP) headed by Kemal Kilicdaroglu and "new CHP". Responding to a question on whether Kilicdaroglu and his team would bring the CHP to power, the survey showed an overwhelming 55.6% said "no," while 38% said "yes," and 6.4% declined to comment. The figure suggests that the CHP is still far from being considered a serious rival to the AK Party in the elections. A full 71.9% said they do not believe the CHP would manage to solve the Kurdish issue and only 20.4% expressed belief to the contrary.

    Moreover, while 38.7% believe the CHP leader is serious in his pledges, 52.5% do not believe he is serious. In addition, 67.4% of respondents said the new CHP administration should change its political discourse. Comparing Kilicdaroglu and Deniz Baykal, the CHP's former leader, the survey showed Kilicdaroglu is believed to be more successful.

    If parliamentary elections were held today, 45.3% of those polled said they would vote for AKP, a figure higher than in the March 2009 local elections, in which the ruling party won around 39% of the vote. The CHP would receive 30.7% of votes cast, demonstrating that it has become more popular thanks to Kilicdaroglu. According to MetroPOLL, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) would receive 13.8% of the national vote in the next parliamentary elections, scheduled for June 2011. The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) would garner 6.5%.

    The figures are reached through splitting the undecided votes, which the survey shows to be around 17%.

    The survey also revealed that a clear majority of society supports Turkey's bid to join the European Union. More than 53% said they would vote "yes" in a referendum were held today about Turkey's EU accession, and over 38% said they would vote "no."

    [15] Highlights

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 04 January 2011:

    Kurdish issue

    Rusen Cakir says in his column in Vatan that with contradictory instructions to Kurdish leaders Ocalan is in effect forcing them to make mistakes and thus consolidate his power. His latest advice, after first having instigated the debate on autonomy and bilingualism, to Kurdish leaders to moderate their demands for autonomy and bilingualism demonstrates that he is concerned with the army and government reaction to these demands and is also quite pleased with the negotiations he is holding with the state to defuse the tension. Cakir believes Ocalan's attempt to mitigate the Kurdish demands will benefit the government ahead of the elections. Cakir, however, is not certain if Ocalan would abide by his new position until the elections, warning his interlocutors to be ready just for any surprise from him as all initiatives now rest with him.

    Cengiz Candar says in his column in Radikal that the democratic autonomy model fully reflected Ocalan's views and that is why he [Candar] warned one of the participants that faced with such criticisms Ocalan would put all the blame for the autonomy document adopted at the workshop on the organizers of the workshop. And that is exactly what happened, Candar says, adding that Ocalan left the BDP [Peace and Democracy Party] and DTK [Democratic Society Congress] in the lurch and thus undermined the Diyarbakir document. Candar believes this new development will create tactical problems for Kurds engaged in legal politics. At the same time, the Turkish state and government also failed the test of democracy with their noisy slogans of "one nation, one flag, one language."

    In his column in Milliyet, Ali Birand notes that for a long time Turks were complaining that the Kurds do not clearly spell out their demands but now that they did Turks got angry. Birand believes the Kurds could have been more tactful and put forward their demands without using irritating terms like autonomy and bilingualism, adding that the Kurdish and Turkish sides should now tread carefully the path ahead and with states manly vision for at the end of the road the Turks and Kurds will either work together to turn Turkey into the leader of the Middle East or shed each other's blood. Also noting that Ocalan has now become the Kurdish side's chief-negotiator, Birand says the Turks should not be upset about this for it was the Turkish state that propelled him to this position by not executing him after his capture. Birand speculates that after the general elections the Kurds will be allowed to organize education in Kurdish and will be given local autonomy without calling it autonomy and Kurds and Turks will continue to exist, albeit painfully, for Kurds are clever enough not to break away from Turkey.

    Aksam quotes a report from \t "blank" www.gazeteport.com[a news site] to the effect that the PKK has established an underground team which will carry out massacres if Ocalan's life is endangered so as to force the state to negotiate with the PKK within 32 days. The report adds that this information was obtained by the military by monitoring a conversation between KCK [Kurdish Communities Union] officials Kemal Aktas and Alican Unlu.

    Safak columnist Ali Akel asserts that the ongoing "sterile" debate over Kurdish demands for a bilingual society, autonomy, and "self-defence forces" in the declaration issued at the end of the recent "Democratic Autonomy Workshop" in Diyarbakir is serving to complicate the Kurdish problem rather than promoting efforts to solve it. Relating his impressions of the current climate of opinion on the southeast issue in "Ankara's political corridors," Akel claims that both the ruling Justice and Development Party, (AKP) and the Opposition including particularly the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) are anxious about the possibility of an escalation of violence in the southeast. He also asserts that the Government is unlikely to make any headway with its "democratic overture" owing to the assumption that "nothing can be done until after the general election has been held."

    In an article Milli Gazete entitled "Turkey's strategic vision: A Balkan television channel", columnist Abdullah Ozkan reiterates his call to establish cultural cooperation with Balkan countries through a new television channel.

    "Is the AKP forgetting its one step ahead' policy?"

    In an article with the above headline, Zaman columnist Abdulhamit Bilici warns the ruling AKP about what he describes as its inclination to turn into a pro-status quo party because of the absence of any powerful political rivals that would cause it to maintain its "revolutionary" politics. Bilici cites the fact that "not a single new chapter in negotiations with the EU has been opened in the past six months" as an indication of this tendency along with the AKP's failure to press ahead with its "courageous" stance on the Cyprus issue.

    The Greek wall

    In his column in Cumhuriyet, Nilgun Cerrahaoglu criticizes AKP officials flippant reaction to the fence that Greece wants to erect on its border with Turkey against illegal immigrants. Cerrahaoglu says that the wall is like Israel's "apartheid wall" and a physical barrier between Turkey and the EU, warning that all Turkey's efforts for EU membership will come to naught at the wall, which will define EU's eastern "natural border" along which civilizations clash. Noting that the wall will also divide NATO into two at the time when Turkey is going to host the NATO missiles, the columnist says Turkey should say no to this "ugly Lepanto wall."

    In his editorial for Sabah, Erdal Safak says that Turks have been deeply shaken by the border wall, which would define EU's border. He believes the EU, especially Sarkozy, is using Greece to delimit EU's geographical border on the east. Safak says the wall will impact Turkey's ties with Europe, yet some officials, like the Edirne Governor Gokhan Sozer, still believe it is a mere Greek measure against illegal immigrants.

    Sami Kohen says in his column in Milliyet that Greece is justified complaining against the inflow of illegal immigrants -- some 200-250 illegal immigrants cross into Greece every day -- and the solution to that problem is not the wall but a closer cooperation between Turkey, Greece, and the EU. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    /EI


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