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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-01-17

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. 10/11 15-17.01.11 C O N T E N T S

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

  • [01] Eroglu says the "two peoples and two states" in Cyprus are sine qua non for the Turkish side
  • [02] Eroglu's new proposals: Two sovereign states and annulment of Christofias-Talat agreements
  • [03] Turkish Cypriots criticize Erdogan's statement on Merkel's remarks
  • [04] AKP vice-President: "Solution based on the political equality of two sovereign states"
  • [05] Chinese businessmen to invest in occupied Cyprus
  • [06] Turkey and the occupation regime to cooperate in the health sector
  • [07] "TRNC" participates in Dutch Tourism Expo
  • [08] Efforts to retain consumers spending within "TRNC"
  • [B] TURKISH PRESS

  • [09] Ankara court rules Turkish foundation as owner of property in occupied Cyprus
  • [10] Turkish President Gul reacts to German Chancellor Merkel's statements
  • [11] Erdogan: "We will not give you even a tiny bit from Northern Cyprus"
  • [12] Erdogan to discuss the Cyprus problem with Merkel
  • [13] Council of Europe Group of Eminent Persons' Chairman: Erdogan and Merkel need to meet as soon as possible
  • [14] "It is time for a new strategy in Cyprus"
  • [15] Turkish Foreign Trade Minister visits Syria
  • [16] Investments made by Turkish business owners abroad reached nearly $24 billion
  • [17] DP elects its new leader
  • [18] Poll shows ruling AKP receiving almost half of the votes
  • [19] "How not to solve the Cyprus conflict"
  • [20] Highlights

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

    Eroglu's statements on the existence of "two peoples and two states in Cyprus," statements by Turkey's President, Prime Minister and other officials on Angela Merkel's statements during her recent visit to Cyprus, a court ruling in Ankara that a Turkish foundation owns property in occupied Cyprus, the continued strikes, and other internal issues are the main topics of the Turkish Cypriot press.

    [01] Eroglu says the "two peoples and two states" in Cyprus are sine qua non for the Turkish side

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (16.01.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said that the existence of "two peoples and two states" in Cyprus are sine qua non for the Turkish Cypriot side. Addressing a ceremony marking the 27th anniversary of the death of the former Turkish Cypriot leader Fazil Kucuk, Eroglu reiterated the view that progress could be achieved in the Cyprus talks on 26 January in Geneva, if the Greek Cypriot side "has good will and comes closer to an agreement on the basis of the realities". Otherwise, he added, the Turkish side expects the UN to "do its duty".

    "Even if they try our patience and continue their injustice and embargoes, we continue our way being aware that we are right and that our rightfulness will sooner or later be acknowledged", he alleged.

    Addressing Fazil Kucuk, Eroglu said: "There are two peoples, two states, two areas in Cyprus. The active and effective guarantees of motherland Turkey is a sine qua non for us. We have never accepted and we will never accept the bi-zonality to be watered down and the property issue to be concluded in a manner that will take us to the pre-1974 period and scatter our economy and social life... With the struggle under the leadership of Fazil Kucuk drawing strength and inspiration from Great Leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the Republic of Turkey, the Turkish Cypriot people stopped having the status of a minority, passed to the status of community and from there it came to the point of a people which is partner of a founding state."

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Eroglu's new proposals: Two sovereign states and annulment of Christofias-Talat agreements

    Under the title "Single sovereignty to the trash", Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan (15.01.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu submitted new proposals to President Christofias during their last meeting. With these proposals, writes the paper, Eroglu "put forward a new position which withdraws the single sovereignty concession, which Talat made to the Greek Cypriot side".

    The paper refers to the 1 July agreement between President Christofias and the former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat whereby the leaders accepted a text which "for the first time in the Cyprus negotiations" included the concept of "single sovereignty". Volkan adds that on 4 January 2010, Talat submitted a package in which he described sovereignty as "indivisible".

    The paper writes that "in full coordination" with Turkey, "which opposes the single sovereignty accepted as fait accompli by Talat", Eroglu submitted a proposal to President Christofias which does not include the single sovereignty. According to Volkan, four vital points "attract attention" in the proposal regarding sovereignty.

    The first is that United Cyprus will have one international legal personality and sovereignty (in the sense of independence outside the country), but it will not have a single sovereignty. According to the paper, what is most important is that a provision noting that the "founding states will be sovereign" is included in Eroglu's proposals. "It is understood that this is taken from the constitution of Switzerland", it says.

    The second point concerns the possible collapse of the "partnership". According to Volkan, this is "a new formula" which had never been brought on the agenda by Talat. This proposal says that "if the partnership collapses, no community or constituent state could represent and act alone on behalf of this partnership internally or externally "under any situation or condition". The UN Security Council will approve and register this situation, according to the proposals.

    The third point provides that the constituent states will have all the "remnants of powers" which will not be given to the federal state. The paper points out that this is a principle supported for years by the former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas. "That is, the founding states, which will be sovereign, will keep for themselves the sovereignties which they will not transfer to the federal state with the partnership agreement", notes the paper.

    The fourth point is that the cross-voting accepted by Talat is "buried" with these new proposals, says Volkan.

    Moreover, reference to the issue is also made by Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (16.01.11). Under the banner front-page title "Two sovereign areas", the paper reports that when the proposals submitted by Eroglu on "Governance and Power Sharing" are carefully examined, it is seen that "the expectations of the Greek Cypriots regarding a single sovereignty are removed and the declaration that the 'constituent states are sovereign' is made".

    The paper writes that the rights of the guarantor powers are further increased in these proposals, which provide that "the guarantor powers guarantee the territorial integrity of the constituent states" as well. The paper points out that the Treaty of Guarantee safeguards the territorial integrity, security, independence and constitutional order of the entire island of Cyprus. "However, it is useful for these guarantees to add in their scope the two founding states separately, because of the new situation created after 1974 and the fact that the solution will be based on the establishment of two separate founding states", alleges the paper.

    The Turkish side also suggested that the constituent states should have the right to make international agreements on all the issues which are not transferred to the federal state. The paper recalls that in the Annan Plan this power was limited with agreements on issues concerning trade and culture.

    Under the subtitle "The founding states will be sovereign", the paper writes, inter alia, the following: "A different and creative formula has been produced on the issue of sovereignty. In the new proposals of the Turkish side a different formula is put forward in place of the 'single sovereignty' expression and it is clearly stated that the founding states will be sovereign".

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Turkish Cypriots criticize Erdogan's statement on Merkel's remarks

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (16.01.11), in a front page article under the title "Cyprus... is not your father's property", reports that the head of Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers' Trade Union (KTOS) Sener Elcil reminded the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the owner of Cyprus are all the Cypriots who live on this island. Referring to the recent statement by Erdogan "we will not give even a tiny bit from Cyprus", Elcil also wonders who he is bargaining their land with, adding that Cyprus is not the property of his father.

    In a written statement, Elcil says that Erdogan's statements display the realities in Cyprus and Turkey's true intention regarding Cyprus. He also says that Erdogan snubs the Turkish Cypriot community as political equal with the Republic of Cyprus, piles population on their island in order to annihilate their political will, promotes assimilation policies, and imposes its political will through "economic packages", forcing the Turkish Cypriots to emigrate and to communal annihilation.

    Elcil says that it is a political distortion that Erdogan, who wants to appear as the side that wants peace, to ask Merkel to apologize because she has referred to these realities.

    Moreover, in his daily column today (17.01.11), Cenk Mutluyakali, Turkish Cypriot Yeni Duzen newspaper's editor-in-chief, comments on Erdogan's statement that Turkey will not give away even a tiny bit from the occupied part of Cyprus. He writes, inter alia, the following: "Has Turkey come with the aim of 'conquest' to the northern part of Cyprus? Or has it annexed the northern half of the island to itself? The statements are made in such a style. When the Prime Minister of Turkey Erdogan says 'We will not give even a tiny bit in Cyprus', I wonder what kind of a 'proprietorship' right he sees for himself and his country? Whose property he is giving to whom? Your wish for 'solution' or 'peace' is understood in all circumstances with the policy you implement, with the language you use, with your culture...".

    [04] AKP vice-President: "Solution based on the political equality of two sovereign states"

    As illegal Bayrak (online 16.01.11) reported, the latest reaction to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's statements on the Cyprus problem has come from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP). AKP vice-President, Omer Celik, said that Merkel did not act like a stateswoman. Citing Turkey's policy on the Cyprus problem, Celik said that Turkey has been supporting a just solution on the Cyprus problem and has been doing all it can towards reaching a solution based on the political equality of two sovereign states. He added that Turkey voices at every occasion the need for the removal of the "unjust international isolation imposed on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus".

    [05] Chinese businessmen to invest in occupied Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak television (15.01.11) reported that the so-called parliamentary speaker Hasan Bozer received yesterday a delegation of Chinese businessmen who are willing to make investments in the occupied areas of Cyprus. During the meeting, Bozer said that the "TRNC state" is ready to make all kinds of contributions to the businessmen in their possible investments, noting that "the TRNC has a mechanism that meets international standards and takes democracy and the supremacy of law as its basis".

    Speaking on behalf of the Chinese delegation, businessman Henry Qin expressed the belief that they will willingly make investments in the "TRNC" which he said has warm-hearted people and a high-level of education.

    In addition, a former so-called minister Hasan Ozbafli, who works in the green energy field and accompanied the Chinese delegation during the visit, said that the "TRNC" will overcome its problems by opening itself to the world.

    [06] Turkey and the occupation regime to cooperate in the health sector

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 14.01.11), the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) has approved the additional protocol that allows cooperation in the of health sector between the government of the Republic of Turkey and the occupation regime. The draft bill, submitted to the TGNA, acknowledges several international agreements between Turkey and the "TRNC".

    [07] "TRNC" participates in Dutch Tourism Expo

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (15.01.11) reports that the breakaway regime participated in the 39th Tourism Fair, in Ultrecht, Netherlands. According to the newspaper, advertisements promoting "North Cyprus" led visitors to the stand of Corendon airlines, where they could see also advertisements for a "North Cyprus" website. The website prepared and launched by Corendon airlines.

    [08] Efforts to retain consumers spending within "TRNC"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan (17.01.11) reports that the "Independence Alliance" consisting of 33 Turkish Cypriot NGOs, published a statement aimed at preventing Turkish Cypriot people from shopping in "South Cyprus." In their statement, they call on consumers not to spend money in the south but instead to shop in the north.

    Also, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (17.01.11) reports that the so-called minister of Finance, Ersin Tatar, while visiting a supermarket in the occupied territories said that "prices in the TRNC are lower compared to South Cyprus" and called the press to inform the people. Moreover, Zorlu Tore the so-called minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, while visiting animal producers, stressed the importance of local production, drew attention to reduction of meat prices and called consumers not to turn to "South Cyprus."


    [B] TURKISH PRESS

    The top stories in today's Turkish press are statements by President Abdullah Gul that he expects German Chancellor Angela Merkel to be more cautious and constructive, on statements by Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he expects an "apology" from Merkel and reports that Erdogan is to travel in Germany on February 28-Mart 1 for a t?te-a t?te meeting with Merkel on the Cyprus problem. Moreover, the papers highlight statements by Ahmet Davutoglu during the joint press conference with Joschka Fischer on the Lebanon crisis and Merkel's statements in Cyprus, the press conference by the UN Secretary-General on the negotiation process in Cyprus and Merkel's statements, statements by Omer Celik vice chairman of Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) describing Merkel's statements as unfortunate. Other issues covered by the Turkish press are the tripartite meeting to take place in Syria with the participation of Erdogan on the Lebanon crisis, and other internal issues.

    [09] Ankara court rules Turkish foundation as owner of property in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (TZ ? 15.01.11) reported that an Ankara court has declared that a Turkish foundation is the owner of property in Cyprus that was the subject of a landmark case against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

    According to TZ, in December 2006, the Strasbourg-based ECHR ordered Turkey to pay 800,000 Euros in compensation to Greek Cypriot plaintiff Myra Xenides-Arestis for blocking access to her house in Famagusta since 1974. In 2007, however, a group of 23 Turkish citizens filed a declaratory action at the Ankara court, demanding to be registered as "descendents" of the Abdullah Pasa Foundation, which they said once owned the property in Famagusta. Their lawyer, Asli Aksu Eren, says it was determined through family records and birth registrations that all of the applicants were descendants of Esseyid Abdullah Pasa, born in 1636.

    According to Eren, the Greek Cypriots who seek return of or compensation for the property that is owned by the Abdullah Pasa Foundation in Cyprus will have to show title deeds proving that they really own the property in question, the Anatolia news agency reported on Friday. Anatolia said during the case at the ECHR, Xenides-Arestis verbally declared that she inherited the property from her father, a claim accepted by the European court.

    [10] Turkish President Gul reacts to German Chancellor Merkel's statements

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.01.11), speaking to reporters in the Turkish north-western province of Balikesir regarding Angela Merkel's statements in Cyprus, the Turkish President Abdullah Gul said he expected Europe's strongest country to be more cautious and constructive on Cyprus. "Greek Cypriots were admitted to the European Union (EU) violating EU's basic principles. The Greek Cypriot administration should not have been permitted into the Union before a solution in Cyprus. All involved must act in a constructive manner so as to facilitate peace. The Annan Plan voted on in 2004 was also the plan of the EU. The then EU Commissioner for Enlargement Gunter Verheugen said that they were deceived by the Greek Cypriots. Ms. Merkel should have spoken taking into consideration such remarks of the past. I was saddened by the way Merkel spoke," Gul stated.

    [11] Erdogan: "We will not give you even a tiny bit from Northern Cyprus"

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.01.11) reported from Ankara that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan argued that German Chancellor Angela Merkel owed an apology to Turkish Cypriot side because of the remarks she uttered during a visit to the Republic of Cyprus, calling her to get her facts straight.

    In his address at a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Friday in Ankara, Erdogan said Merkel's remarks, aside from hurting the Turkish Cypriot side, contradicted her earlier remarks and showed how detached she is from historical facts.

    Commenting on Merkel's statement that President Christofias displayed "courage" during the negotiation to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem, while the Turkish Cypriot side did not reciprocate the initiatives of the Greek Cypriot side, Erdogan claimed that the "German Chancellor showed how clueless she is about the Cyprus issue". He reiterated the allegation that Merkel's remarks were nothing more than an attempt to carry favour with Greek Cypriots.

    "We urge Ms. Merkel to check her historical facts and apologise to the Turkish Cypriot side which has made all sorts of sacrifices for a solution in the island", alleged Erdogan.

    He further said Merkel's predecessor Gerard Shroder noted in his autobiography all the "injustices" done to the Turkish Cypriot side during the Burgenstock talks. "If she invites Shroder for a cup of coffee, she will clearly learn about that period", said Erdogan.

    He reiterated the allegation that Turkey initiated the Annan Plan process with the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, on a win-win basis. Erdogan claimed that the Annan plan contained many Greek Cypriot demands including the demilitarization of the island and withdrawal of Turkish and Greek troops. He reiterated that Turkish Cypriots kept their promises in the 2004 twin referendums.

    "Who were unfaithful to their promise? The Greek Cypriots. Who were rewarded? The Greek Cypriots. EU is not loyal to the promises it made to the Turkish Cypriots," argued Erdogan.

    Referring to the UN and EU, Erdogan claimed: "They are still looking for someone to blame. 'Turks should give, Turkey should give'... With all due respect, Turks alone displayed a positive approach (in the Cyprus issue)... but if you demand things from us that are not foreseen in agreements, you are not getting them. We will not give you even a tiny bit from Northern Cyprus. You should know that", said Erdogan and added: "If you are saying, 'we will admit Turkey to the EU and we will snatch these from Northern Cyprus, in exchange'... If you are expecting this, sorry but you are not getting it. Because we have always said we will not allow the Cyprus issue to be subject to political exploitation".

    [12] Erdogan to discuss the Cyprus problem with Merkel

    Turkish daily Milliyet (15.04.10) reported that after the recent statements by Angela Merkel on the Cyprus problem, the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has decided to visit Germany between February 28 and March 1, for a t?te-a-t?te meeting with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss Turkey's stance regarding the Cyprus problem.

    On the same issue, Turkish daily Zaman (14.01.11) reported that while in Germany Erdogan will visit the Cebit trade Fair in Hannover. (AK)

    [13] Council of Europe Group of Eminent Persons' Chairman: Erdogan and Merkel need to meet as soon as possible

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (AA ? 14.01.11) reported from Istanbul on statements of the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at a joint press conference with the Chairman of the Group of Eminent Persons of the Council of Europe Joschka Fischer. Speaking at the press conference, Fischer said that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel need to come together as soon as possible.

    As AA reported, Fischer's comments came after Merkel defined Turkish presence in Cyprus as "invasion" during a recent visit to the island.

    "I am not the spokesman for the German government. You know my status. The Turkish government took highly crucial steps (on Cyprus) in the past. As a former minister, I have witnessed such Turkish efforts and defended Turkey. I have openly supported Turkey when the process was blocked. I support the notion that everyone should reach a common point and reach a solution. This is crucial for the region, the island of Cyprus and Europe. The rest could be solved between Merkel and Erdogan," Fischer noted.

    For his part, Davutoglu said that Turkey had assumed the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and prepared an action plan, the most important aspects of which are co-existence and shaping the Europe of the 21st century.

    "We decided to establish a Group of Eminent Persons in order to put forward basic approaches," Davutoglu said. "The group was formed taking into consideration the critical phase Europe is going through regarding cultures, religions and relations. It was important to appoint Joschka Fischer as the Chairman of this group which brought together Europe's most distinguished intellectuals and politicians," Davutoglu said, adding that the group held its third meeting in Turkey on Thursday and Friday.

    He added: "The European continent is facing two scenarios. The bad scenario involves polarization between ethnic and religious groups and weakening relations between cultures. Unfortunately, there are serious signs of a bad scenario. The rising racism, Islamophobia and anti-semitism. The good scenario involves Europe, which we want to create and in which all peoples, religions, ethnic groups and societies live side by side understanding and respecting each other. We need the views of European intellectuals to move away from the risks of the bad scenario and to jointly build Europe with a good scenario."

    Davutoglu added that the Group of Eminent Persons will prepare a report on Europe's future, and this report will guide us as a reference material for decades to come. "I believe that the report will be shaped at the meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to take place in Istanbul in May," he also said.

    [14] "It is time for a new strategy in Cyprus"

    In his commentary in Turkish daily Milliyet (17.01.11) with the above title, Semih Idiz criticizes Angela Merkel's statements in Cyprus and recalls Gunter Verheugen's statements during 2004 after the referendum on the Annan plan.

    Semih Idiz supports that a new active diplomacy is needed in the Cyprus problem. He asserts that actions exerted by the Islamic world and especially the Middle East to support the Turkish Cypriots should be intensified. He suggests that Ankara demands from Muslim countries to contribute and support efforts to economic, cultural and political isolation "imposed" on Turkish Cypriots, adding that this would be the best response to Merkel and the Europeans who think like her.

    Semih Idiz also asks AKP government to follow more active diplomacy for the recognition of the "TRNC".

    (AK)

    [15] Turkish Foreign Trade Minister visits Syria

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.01.11) reported that the Turkish state minister for foreign trade Zafer Caglayan said that Turkey was determined to boost its trade with all countries.

    Caglayan, together with the Syrian Minister of Economy and Trade Lamia Assi, attended ground breaking ceremony of a cement factory to be built by Turkish construction and engineering firm Guris in Syria.

    Following the ceremony, Caglayan told reporters that Turkey-Syria trade volume reached 2.5 billion USD in 2010. "Our target is to increase our trade volume up to 5 billion USD," he added.

    Asked about plans to establish a free trade zone among Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, Caglayan said, "The four countries have created the Close Neighbours Economic and Trade Partnership Council (CNETAC). Ministers of trade, energy, tourism and foreign affairs will hold regular meetings in order to establish a free trade zone and boost trade with the neighbouring countries. Earlier, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon have lifted visa requirement." Caglayan said that the second meeting of trade ministers of CNETAC would take place in Damascus on February 20.

    Referring to the recent developments in Lebanon, Caglayan said that they wanted a new Lebanese government to be formed as soon as possible. "Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan travelled to Kuwait and Qatar earlier this week with a delegation of nearly 500 Turkish businessmen. Our businessmen held a series of talks with their counterparts and agreed on new projects worth of some 247 million USD. Turkish construction firms have undertaken several projects in Qatar and Kuwait with a total amount of 8 billion USD," he added.

    Syrian Minister of Economy and Trade Assi called on Turkish firms to make more investments in his country.

    The cement factory to be built in Syria city of Raqqa will cost about 280 million euro. It will have an annual production capacity of 1.5 million tons cement.

    [16] Investments made by Turkish business owners abroad reached nearly $24 billion

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.01.11) reported from Ankara that investments made by Turkish business owners abroad reached nearly $24 billion, data showed. Nearly 3,500 Turkish companies in 103 countries operating mainly in sectors of energy, banking and information technologies have foreign direct investments worth $23.6 billion, according to figures released by the Turkish Treasury and the Central Bank.

    The figure marked a powerful boost from $3.7 billion in 2001, highlighting a greater say for the Turkish investors in the global economy though raising questions over surging costs in Turkey.

    "A significant part of those investments is made abroad because of increasing labour, raw material and energy costs in Turkey. The reasons for national capital outflow are at the same time the reasons that prevent investment in Turkey," said Sinan Aygun, chairman of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce.

    The largest Turkish foreign direct investments (FDIs) have been made in energy as well as banking and finance sectors, with respective figures of $4 billion and $4.6 billion. Manufacturing industry claims a share of $2 billion while FDIs in commerce, IT, and construction sectors are worth of $1.6, $1.5 and $444 million, respectively. Turkish FDIs have transferred $2.2 billion in profit back to Turkey over the last decade.

    [17] DP elects its new leader

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (TZ ? 17.01.11) reported that the newly elected leader of the Democrat Party (DP), Namik Kemal Zeybek, has seemingly failed to ensure long-awaited unity in the party, with members of the DP having already engaged in plans for a merger with another political party.

    Zeybek was elected the new leader of the DP in a regular congress on Saturday. He was one of five candidates for the leadership and received the support of 566 delegates in the congress.

    TZ reported the following:

    "Zeybek is better known for his nationalist identity. He spent his youth working for the Ulku Ocaklari, the youth branches of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). He then served as minister for both the Motherland Party (then ANAP, now ANAVATAN) and the True Path Party (DYP). He also served as the deputy leader of the Grand Unity Party (BBP).

    However, the election of Zeybek to the top post of the DP did not please former President Suleyman Demirel and a considerable number of party supporters. According to rumours, some party members have already started to think about a merger with another party to save the DP.

    While some party supporters back a merger with the Felicity Party (SP), led by veteran politician Necmettin Erbakan, others believe that a merger with Abdullatif Sener's Turkey Party (TP) will save the DP. A delegation from the SP observed the DP congress, which led to comments that the SP is warm to a merger with the DP. In addition, DP supporters fervently applauded SP leader Erbakan's congratulatory message to Zeybek after his congress victory.

    Zeybek is also the brother-in-law of media boss Aydin Dogan, who owns Turkey's largest media conglomerate, Dogan Yayin Holding. The relationship between Zeybek and Dogan has raised questions over whether Dogan was behind a plan to have Zeybek elected to the head of the DP. A former CEO of Dogan Holding was appointed as head of the Istanbul provincial branch of the Republican People's Party (CHP) last week. In addition, the former chief columnist of the Hurriyet daily --the flagship of Dogan Yayin Holding-- Oktay Eksi, recently joined the CHP.

    According to rumours, MHP, which is not happy with Zeybek's election as DP head, may have difficulty in overcoming the 10% threshold in the approaching parliamentary elections. Zeybek's identity as a nationalist figure may attract some nationalist voters to support the DP instead of the MHP in the upcoming elections, which will certainly make it more difficult for them to pass the election threshold."

    [18] Poll shows ruling AKP receiving almost half of the votes

    Turkish daily Torday's Zaman (17.01.11) reported that if the general elections in Turkey were held today, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) would receive 46% of the vote, according to a recent poll conducted by the Konsensus polling firm for the Haberturk daily.

    The poll also showed that the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) would receive 26.5% of the vote and the other opposition party, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), would get 12.5%. Compared with the poll results of December, the AKP seems to have increased its votes by 5.1% reaching the same percentage as in the referendum on a constitutional reform package in September, 2010. No difference was seen in the results of the CHP, while MHP votes dropped by 1.7% compared to December.

    The poll was carried out in all 81 Turkish provinces between January 4-10. A total of 1,500 people participated. Another striking finding was the increase in the number of undecided respondents. While 6.3% of the respondents said they were undecided in the last survey, this figure rose to 11.5% in the most recent poll.

    [19] "How not to solve the Cyprus conflict"

    An article by Klaus Jurgens in Today's Zaman (15.01.11) with the above headline, describes the statements by German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her recent visit to Cyprus as an open challenge to Ankara.

    Though, the writer argues, a politician's comments may be labelled as gaffes by some analysts but in all likelihood are exactly the opposite, they are well-crafted statements aimed at achieving a particular outcome. Therefore, he speculates that Merkel's statements "was indeed how she interprets the divided island."

    Jurgens interprets Merkel's reference to "missing reciprocity" as an indication to Ankara's lack of a will to find a compromise solution. Criticizing Merkel for not seeking to hear the other side's concerns, Jurgens argues: "German bilateral diplomacy could become German trilateral diplomacy, ultimately leading to having the EU --perhaps even more so than the UN-- taking over the role of true permanent peace and unification mediator. Leading a formerly divided nation, Mrs Merkel will have a lot to contribute to this debate."

    The article poses the question "But after Mrs Merkel's visit, I must ask the question of whether this reluctance to let the peoples of the north begin to enjoy hassle-free international trade and improved access to international infrastructure funds is indeed part of a wider plan by Brussels to, at least for the foreseeable future, keep the division in place?"

    Merkel's statements in Cyprus "will only reinforce this understandable hesitation" in Ankara, the article argues, adding that Turkey should "reinforce just this once (more) its lobbying activities all over Europe, but should not shelve its recent proactive 'zero problems with neighbours' efforts. One day a politically strong Turkey will join the EU or not --much more advantageous than a politically weak Turkey joining or not joining the EU. When will Brussels finally listen?"

    Highlighting what is described as "another Brussels incongruity", the article recalls Baroness Catherine Ashton's recent visit to Turkey while "a leading member state of the same political institution visited another member state and openly challenged the willingness of an EU candidate country to find a solution to a certain regional conflict." If a public opinion survey is carried out asking Turkish citizens "? who represents EU's foreign policies: Baroness Ashton or individual heads of state and government?" respondents would be forgiven for ticking the box 'Don't know'", the article concludes.

    [20] Highlights

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 14-16 January 2011:

    a) Cyprus / EU / Angela Merkel's comments

    Milliyet (14.01.11) columnist Sami Kohen understands German Chancellor Angela Merkel's psychology on the Cyprus issue because "she comes from a divided country." In his article under the title "Misrepresentation" Kohen opines: "Even though she knows historical and political facts about Cyprus, she still feels closer to the Greek Cypriot views." The columnist goes on: "Her personal experience in the past as an East German citizen makes her supportive of a unified Cyprus" He adds: "She does not want to see any divided country in Europe and she believes that German federal system can be a good example to unite the Cyprus island."

    Cumhuriyet's (14.01.11) Orhan Birgit speculates on a similar argument but talks about "bare facts" which "Merkel did not know." He asserts: "Germany was divided in an unnatural way due to a world war situation. Unlike Turkish and Greek Cypriots, Germans come from the same ethnic and religious as well as cultural background." The writer also finds "commercial interests" behind Angela Merkel's pro-Greek Cypriot stance: "German commercial vessels display the Greek Cypriot flag in order to avoid paying tax."

    Ferai Tinc of Hurriyet (14.01.11) sees predominantly "energy interests" behind Merkel's approach. In an article entitled "Cyprus and new natural gas reservoirs in the Mediterranean," Tinc says "It is no coincidence that Merkel has become the first German chancellor to visit Cyprus after 30 years", adding: "Given Merkel's strongly pro-Greek Cypriot stance despite some obvious facts about the Cyprus issue, her visit needs to be evaluated from a different perspective (...). Tinc adds: Newly explored natural gas resources in the Mediterranean, including in Cyprus, has become the main reason for the growing European interest toward Cyprus. The recent visits by Medvedev, Sarkozy and now Merkel indicate that a new regional energy map is to be drawn. Being a part of this energy map is more important than solving the Cyprus issue."

    In his editorial in Hurriyet Daily News.com (14.01.11), Semih Idiz dwells on the EU-Turkey prospects "It is not clear what purpose was served by Chancellor Merkel's remarks in Cyprus, especially if Germany wants this problem to be solved" he writes and maintains: "If Merkel believes that her approach will somehow push the Cyprus problem towards a solution with outside pressure from Germany on the Turkish side, she is to be proven wrong. Her lack of objectivity on this score has ensured, if anything, that Germany is the last country the Turkish side would want to see involved in the Cyprus talks. Representing the most important country in the EU, as she does, Merkel's remarks also made it clear to Turks that the more the EU is kept out of the Cyprus issue the better it is for them. The simple fact is that the prospect of EU membership is no longer a 'carrot' for Ankara, and Germany is one of the countries which are responsible for this with its opposition to Turkish membership. ... If the EU is at the same time meant to be some kind of a 'stick' to push Turkey into a corner on Cyprus, even the deaf sultan knows by now that this will not work, to quote a Turkish saying. To the contrary, it will make Ankara more determined than ever concerning its stance on Cyprus, especially in an election year as this is."

    In his commentary in Milliyet (15.01.11), Hasan Cemal poses questions to the Prime Minister Erdogan regarding Turkey's EU bid. Referring to the statements made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel accusing Ankara of not taking any step toward a resolution of the Cyprus problem and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou's criticism that Turkey's continued presence in northern Cyprus is an obstacle to EU membership, Cemal says that all these comments may upset us, they are facts when it comes to the Cyprus issue. "For this reason," Cemal continues: "Prime Minister Erdogan is right when he asks: 'Tell us, do you really want to see us in the EU or not.' Others, though, ask Erdogan the following question: 'Are your intentions serious with regard to the EU. I know, though, that it is not the time to have these Cyprus discussions. The time, if it comes, will be after the elections'."

    b) Istanbul nuclear talks with Iran

    Semih Idiz explains in his column in Milliyet (15.01.11) that Turkey will act as a host during the second round of nuclear meetings in Istanbul even though Davutoglu's wish was that Ankara assumes an active role in the negotiations. Idiz concludes by noting that "the signals given by Iran before the Istanbul meeting are not very encouraging in terms of finding a solution to the issue."

    Ilhan Tanir assesses in Hurriyet Daily News.com (15.01.11), the upcoming meeting between "the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, or P5+1, group" with an Iran nuclear delegation next week in Istanbul and the "rare window of opportunity" that "might let us see what Iran plans to do going forward."

    c) Kurdish issue / PKK-Hizbullah

    Mehmet Metiner in Star (16.01.11) dwells on Ocalan's approach toward the AKP government and finds traces of upcoming PKK violence in order to weaken the government. Metiner says that Ocalan seems to be working for the interests of the nationalists and for the benefit of Ergenekon members, and threatens to cease working for a cease-fire unless the government takes concrete steps by March. Metiner opines that Ocalan may order the PKK to incite violence again so that the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) can easily overpower the AKP.

    All papers (16.01.11) report that the recently-released Hizbullah members are on the loose and most of them do not obey the court order to report to a nearest police station on a daily basis. Taraf's (16.01.11) Demiray Oral recounts his talk with an "important member of the Hizbullah" and says that the Hizbullah plans to engage in politics. Oral sums up his chat with this unnamed member and writes: "The member says that the Hizbullah organization has gone through a transformation and drawn a lesson from the past. The Hizbullah has decided to engage in politics." Having realized that they can only be powerful via politics, just like the Peace and Democracy Party and the Hezbollah in Lebanon, Oral states that the Hizbullah is planning to nominate an independent candidate in the upcoming general elections. Oral argues: "A fight between the PKK and the Hizbullah is unlikely at this point. The Hizbullah does not want to create another 'Kurds are clashing with Kurds' situation again."

    d) New regulations/ Islamist agenda / Tolerance debate

    In his commentary in Hurriyet Daily News.com (15.01.11), Yusuf Kanli writes about the recent regulations tightening governmental grip on alcohol consumption, the release of Hizbullah members, and a ban according there must be at least 45 centimetres between boys and girls on school premises. He concludes that this agenda shows that the "government has slightly unveiled its secret Islamist agenda."

    Writing in Hurriyet Daily News.com (15.01.11), Mustafa Akyol says that the new regulations imposed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) on alcoholic beverages show a change and a transformation of the Islamic camp in Turkey is still in progress. It will need more liberal criticism and more "modernist" theological reasoning in the years to come."

    Hurriyet Daily News.com (16.01.11) carries an article by Yalcin Dogan about "systematic efforts to intimidate wine producing companies." Dogan explains: "Apparently a scenario prepared ahead of time is now being played out gradually. First deal a blow to alcoholic beverage production companies and then work on alcohol ban regulations."

    Okay Gonensin in Vatan (16.01.11) writes that everybody "including the prime minister" has a right to dislike a monument or an art piece however, "no one has any right to insult an art piece. Calling a statue a monstrosity is a clear insult."

    e) Call to Erdogan

    In a commentary in Taraf (15.01.11), Ahmet Altan says that "In order to shove the Nationalist Action Party [MHP] to the bottom of the election threshold during the elections, Prime Minister Erdogan is becoming more and more MHP-like, conservative, and restraining in addition to being eager to destroy statues, suspend television series, strike an agreement with the military, and deny the rights of the Kurds. Furthermore, Erdogan believes that all those who warn him and urge him to regain his progressive, proactive, fair play, and democratic personality are actually going the wrong way. " TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    /EI


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