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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-02-03

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. 23/11 03.02.11 C O N T E N T S

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

  • [01] Eroglu reiterates the Turkish side's support to a timetable in the Cyprus talks
  • [02] Eroglu comments on the economic situation in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [03] Statements by Ozersay after his contacts in Ankara
  • [04] BKP and Cyprus Green Party form a joint committee
  • [05] "28 million euro, new contribution from the EU"
  • [06] Further reaction on the rally of 28 January; Trade Unions issued written statements
  • [07] Criticism on the pensions in occupied Cyprus
  • [08] Antiquities found in the occupied village of Eptakomi
  • [B] TURKISH PRESS

  • [09] Kilicdaroglu accuses AKP government of following dual attitude on the Cyprus problem
  • [10] Bagis says no deviation from Turkey's EU target
  • [11] Turkey and Nigeria signed economic deals
  • [12] Turkey and Kyrgyzstan agree to deepen ties
  • [13] Davutoglu will attend a meeting in Doha on Egypt
  • [14] Turkey highly favoured in many Mideastern countries
  • [15] Highlights

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

    Eroglu's statements regarding the negotiations and the economic measures after his meeting with the "minister's council," Kudret Ozersay's statements after his contacts in Ankara, the continued aftermath of Friday's rally, CTP's Kutlay Erk comments on an interview of the head of the technical committee of Turkey's Aid Delegation, new "polluter pays" legislation in the context of the "Environment Year" implemented in "TRNC," BKP and Cyprus Greens joint committee, reaction by the Chamber of Town Planners regarding the construction of a mosque in the occupied Lefkosia bus terminal area, and other internal issues are the main topics in today's Turkish Cypriot press.

    [01] Eroglu reiterates the Turkish side's support to a timetable in the Cyprus talks

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (03.02.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu reiterated yesterday the Turkish Cypriot side's support to a timetable in the Cyprus talks. In statements before entering into a meeting of the so-called council of ministers of the breakaway regime, Eroglu said the negotiations to reach a solution in Cyprus continue since 1968 and added: "We are in favour of the negotiations' having an end and being concluded by a certain period of time".

    Eroglu reiterated that the Turkish Cypriot side had proposed a plan in this direction during the meeting in Geneva. He alleged that the Greek Cypriot side rejected this plan, put no suggestion onto the table and implemented delaying tactics.

    Eroglu said he would brief the "council of ministers" on the Geneva summit and the proposals they had submitted. He noted that he wanted to be briefed on the work of the "government", pointing out to the economic difficulties in the occupied areas of Cyprus and the measures taken by the "government".

    Eroglu said despite the fact that the Geneva meeting did not meet the expectations of the Turkish Cypriot side, it had positive aspects. These are, he said, the fact that the UN Secretary-General liked the proposals submitted by the Turkish Cypriot side, and the fact that the sides will meet again after Ban Ki-moon's submits his report to the UN Security Council in February. Noting that the next meeting will most probably be held in March, Eroglu noted that after this meeting the UN Secretary-General will prepare a report and determine his own position.

    He added: "Given that the UN Secretary-General noted in his press report that the negotiations could not last forever, I anticipate that the UN now favours ending this issue in one way or the other. The UN Secretary-General is the one who will decide on this".

    Eroglu said the election campaign will start in the Republic of Cyprus in April and in June elections will be held in Turkey. He noted that it will take time for the sides to meet again after the elections. He added: "In 2012, unfortunately, south Cyprus [Tr. Note: This is how Eroglu described the Republic of Cyprus] will become EU term president... In 2013 presidential elections will be held in the south. I think that this is their intention. This is this is tantamount to preventing the agreement and wasting time. We have no patience to waste time".

    Eroglu alleged that the most important problem is the fact that the Republic of Cyprus is a recognized state and that it joined the EU without a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (03.02.11) reports that last night Eroglu attended the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the "Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers' Union" (KITOB). In his address, Eroglu referred to the Geneva meeting and said if Ban Ki-moon is impartial, he "could foresee" what the UN Secretary-General will write in the report he will prepare in the end of February. He noted that a new tripartite summit will be held in March and the UN will evaluate its stance after this meeting. Eroglu alleged that the Greek Cypriot side implements delaying tactics waiting for the Turkish Cypriots to further frazzle and debate among themselves.

    Referring to the meeting he expects will take place in March, Eroglu said he has "great expectations" for March. "There are proposals which both we and the Greek Cypriots will bring. March is a critical month for us", he added.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Eroglu comments on the economic situation in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (03.02.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said that when he was "prime minister", the "Protocol for Economic Cooperation" and not a "package of economic measures" was signed with Turkey. Addressing last night the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the "Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers' Union" (KITOB), Eroglu argued that the criticism against him on this issue is groundless. He alleged that if this protocol is implemented to the letter, the economy of the breakaway regime will get out of the difficulties. He said sometimes governments are obliged to take measures during economic crises, but this should be done after a dialogue with the aim to prevent social upheaval.

    Moreover, according to Gunes (03.02.11), Eroglu's cabinet issued a written statement on the economic situation and the rally organized recently in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The statement said reaction against the economic measures could be regarded as natural, but diverting from the target, giving political dimensions to this reaction and giving the impression that this is an action against Turkey, disrupts social unity and harms the negotiating process. The statement claimed that the slightest conflict among the Turkish Cypriots will be perceived as "weakness" by the Greek Cypriot side and cause hardening of the latter's rigid stance at the negotiating table. "In fact, some statements made at the highest level by the Greek Cypriot side are a clear proof of this", alleged the statement.

    Arguing that taking measures in the "public finances" is "absolutely necessary", the statement claimed that the reason for the financial problems in the occupied areas is not only the global economic crisis, but also the "isolations" and the "embargoes" implemented on the Turkish Cypriots for years.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Statements by Ozersay after his contacts in Ankara

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (03.02.11) reports that Kudret Ozersay, Turkish Cypriot leader's special representative, alleged that a date for a new meeting had not been set during the Geneva summit, that the negotiating process in Cyprus is prolonged and that the Turkish side is unhappy with this situation.

    In statements after his contacts in Ankara, Ozersay claimed that "the Cyprus problem created weariness in the Turkish side. If this is so, he added, the international community should take steps so that the Greek Cypriot side shows political will and the necessary momentum is created. In our view, the EU has the biggest responsibility on this issue".

    Ozersay said the Cyprus problem passed through an important threshold with the meetings in New York and Geneva and added that the Turkish Cypriot side wants to meet and exchange views with officials from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the meeting in Geneva. This was a meeting of coordination and mutual exchange of views, he said.

    Ozersay noted that both sides have put forward their arguments and proposals on the Cyprus problem so far and added that political will needed from now on. He argued that the lack of political will "is something which prevents the process from coming to a conclusion soon" and alleged that both sides might be forced to accept "some recipes" after April. He reiterated the allegation that the Turkish Cypriot side has put forward some proposals with steps and thoughts in order for a successful result to be achieved by the end of March.

    Ozersay alleged that the main lines of the solution should come to surface by the end of March. Referring to the elections in the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey on the one hand, and Cyprus' EU term presidency on the other, Ozersay said if the main and important elements of the solution are not found by March, Turkey might face difficulties.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] BKP and Cyprus Green Party form a joint committee

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star (03.12.11) reports that the United Cyprus Party formed a joint committee with the Cyprus Green Party. The general secretary of BKP, Izzet Izcan, and other representatives met yesterday with Giorgos Perdikis and members of the Green Party and decided to create a four member committee.

    In a statement after the meeting Izcan said the objective is to produce policies for the future of Cyprus and Cypriots, for peace and reunification and also bring people from both sides together through common activities. Abdulah Korkmazhan, organising secretary and Sami Sonustun, Education secretary will represent BKP in the committee.

    The Greens will be represented by Kyriakos Kyriakou, and the assistant general secretary Andreas Evlavis. Perdikis said that views were exchanged during the meeting regarding the Cyprus problem and last Friday's demonstrations.

    [05] "28 million euro, new contribution from the EU"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star (03.02.11) reports that the representative of the European Commission in Cyprus, Andrulla Kaminara, visited the Star Cyprus Media Group yesterday and provided information for the negotiations process and the economic aid to the north of Cyprus.

    Kaminara said that although the 2010 budget of 259 million Euro is no longer valid, new economic support is being prepared for 2011. The European Commission will provide 25 million Euro additional economic aid for Turkish Cypriots and the European Parliament will contribute another 3, making a total of 28 million euro. Kaminara also announced that there will be a call for proposals and this money will be given within 2011.

    [06] Further reaction on the rally of 28 January; Trade Unions issued written statements

    The reaction over the communal existence rally in the occupied areas continues. Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (03.02.11) reports that Guven, Varoglu, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers' Trade Union (KTOS) in a written statement yesterday referred to the rally saying that the Turkish Cypriots proved once more their determination for self-government. He reiterated that trade unions want a solution to be found in the Cyprus problem based on the UN parameters - bi-zonal, bicommunal, federal Republic of Cyprus.

    Havadis also reports that the secondary teachers' trade unions (KTOEOS) and the Customs employees Trade Union (GUC-SEN), in a joint written statement yesterday condemned and described as "ugly" the activity by the so-called "Young Fighters' Association" against the "Baraka Cultural Centre" in protest of the latter's slogans during the rally targeting Turkey. Both trade unions said that this activity was unacceptable.

    Regarding the rally of 28 January, the joint written statements supported that a systematic effort is exerted by the "government" to downgrade the rally.

    On the same issue, Cyprus Turkish Civil Servants Trade Union (KTAMS) in a written statement criticized the protest organized against the "Baraka Cultural Centre" and called on people to a common struggle against fascism.

    The activity by the so-called "Young Fighters' Association" against the "Baraka Cultural Centre" was also condemned by the United Cyprus Party (YKP). In a written statement, YKP stated that such initiatives raise chauvinist and sexist ideologies in the country.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (03.02.11) reports in its front page that "Baraka Cultural Centre" is to organize today at 12.00 hours a protest against fanatism and the activity organized against the "association". "Baraka Cultural Centre" in a written statement calls on everybody to support them and participate in the march.

    (AK)

    [07] Criticism on the pensions in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot Yeni Duzen (03.01.11) reports on statements of Halil Ibrahim Akca, head of the "TRNC Technical Committee" which coordinates Turkey's aid to the occupied areas. Speaking to the Turkish economy magazine, "Fortune", Akca stated, inter alia, stated that among the basic problems in the occupied areas are the very powerful unions which impede every step to be taken. He also said that the power of the unions on some issues must be narrowed.

    Referring to the retirement pensions in the occupied areas, he said that the sums are very high and possibly reach one million TL, adding that there will be serious reforms in the social security institutions. As he said, at the moment, the "government" owes almost one million debt to the fund and that the employees are unpaid. Akca also noted that there are 35,000 receiving an average pension of four thousand TL, while the average salary of the public servants is three thousand. He added that even if sources are found, this situation cannot continue, noting that the "law" on the issue has been referred to the "Constitutional Court".

    Reacting to Akca's statements, Republican Turkish Party ? United Forces (CTP-BG) general secretary, Kutlay Erk, said in a written statement that Akca declined the truth and that he tried to mislead the Turkish public opinion. He added that there is a limit in the criticism of the "Turkish Cypriot people", and that it is difficult to tolerate such criticisms that hide or deny the truth. "We are not obliged to do so," he noted. Erk, inter alia, stated that Akca's allegations are a result of ignorance or he wants to deceive the Turkish opinion.

    [08] Antiquities found in the occupied village of Eptakomi

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (03.02.01.11), during repairs of the water main at the occupied village of Eptakomi which is situated in the occupied Peninsula of Karpasia, an ancient tomb of the Classical Age was found. The tomb contained many ancient artefacts. The artefacts include: 1 torpedo heavy-shaped amphora, 3 sharp jug pieces, 1 bowl and 1 earthenware jug.

    The paper recalls that an ancient tomb of the same period was found in the occupied village of Eptakomi a few days ago. (See Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Mass Media Review-28/01/11)

    (AK)


    [B] TURKISH PRESS

    The main issue in today's Turkish newspapers is the ongoing developments in Egypt. In addition, the papers refer to statements by CHP leader Kilicdaroglu accusing the AKP government of following dual approach in the Cyprus problem, as well as statements by Bagis on Turkey's EU process. Furthermore, Erdogan's contacts in Kirgizstan, reports that Turkey and Kyrgyzstan will lift visa requirements by the end of the year, the meeting of the Nigerian President with Gul and the Nigerian Foreign Minister with Davutoglu, Davutoglu's meeting with his Dutch counterpart, and other internal issues are some of the main stories also highlighted by today's Turkish press.

    [09] Kilicdaroglu accuses AKP government of following dual attitude on the Cyprus problem

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 02.02.11), under the title "Turkey could be a role model for Islamic countries, opposition leader says , Kemal K1I1cdaroglu, leader of the Republican People s Party (CHP), speaking to the members of the Diplomatic Correspondents Association on Wednesday, said that  Turkey can be a role model for all Islamic countries .

    Asked how he would score the foreign policy of government, K1l1cdaroglu said he would give 6 out of 10.

    Assessing the turmoil in Egypt, K1l1cdaroglu approved Erdogan s call to Mubarek to resign, adding  a politician cannot ignore his people s demands, especially, if a million people are protesting .

    Commenting on a shift in axis debate, K1l1cdaroglu said if democracy and freedom blossom in the Middle East, then Turkey s relations with these countries would move to a healthier ground. "Their desire for democracy will lead us to a strong democracy. Then the AKP will not seek to be politically similar to them," he said.

    Criticizing the government for failing to keep up with Turkey's EU bid, he added: "The process with the EU has fallen off the agenda. He added that Turkey's chief EU negotiator Egemen Bag1s s statement,  If the plug is to be pulled, I leave it to the EU, was disappointing.

    K1l1cdaroglu said the government does not implement the additional protocol, which requires Turkey to open its ports to Greek Cypriots, because it wants to avoid domestic reaction.  Then why did you sign it? The government follows a dual attitude on the Cyprus issue. They seem to slow down the harmonization process to the EU in order to overcome potential negative repercussions in domestic politics, he said.

    K1l1cdaroglu also criticized the government's actions on the Mavi Marmara incident. He said if they were the government, they would not have sent the Mavi Marmara to Gaza.

    [10] Bagis says no deviation from Turkey's EU target

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.02.11), during a press conference in Ankara on Wednesday, Turkey's State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis said that as a government that has opened negotiations with the EU on 13 chapters, the government has no concerns or reservations about the membership process. "We are still determined, and we do not have any deviation from our EU target," Bagis added.

    Bagis said Turkey's EU membership will be a symbol and example showing that differences could co-exist and humanity can unite around common values, adding that Turkey is organizing different events to promote itself within the EU.

    Noting that Turkey's contributions to Europe's energy security cannot be ignored, Bagis said that Turkey is also an important country for the security of the EU as the Turkish army is one of the most dynamic, well-equipped and biggest armies within the EU zone.

    Bagis enumerating three objections of the EU to Turkey's membership as being a big, poor and Muslim country, said Turkey's dimensions is an advantage for Europe because Europe needs bigger markets today.

    The minister said the income per capita in Turkey is increasing more rapidly than other European countries, and Turkey has become a perfect centre for the EU and western civilizations to communicate with cultures, societies and religious groups in the East.

    "We are telling the Europeans that we are not patient enough to wait for 50 years more", he said.

    [11] Turkey and Nigeria signed economic deals

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (02.02.11), Turkey and Nigeria signed a number of agreements on defence, tourism, higher education and mutual investments.

    "We have signed agreements to make the tasks of both Turkish and Nigerian businesspeople easier. We have discussed work permits and visa liberalization," Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said following a meeting with his counterpart, President Abdullah Gul, in Ankara. He said: Nigeria wants to receive assistance from Turkey especially in the technological field, and that Turkish entrepreneurs can assume crucial roles in key areas of the economy" such as infrastructure and electricity.

    Gul said Turkey attached importance to establishing cooperation in energy in particular.

    Moreover, Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.02.11) reports that Turkish and Nigerian foreign ministers Ahmet Davutoglu and Henry Odein Ajumogobia had a meeting on Wednesday in the Turkish capital, on the sidelines of Nigerian president's official visit to Ankara.

    Speaking to reporters, Davutoglu said Turkey placed special importance on Nigeria in terms of bilateral relations, relations with the African continent and international affairs.

    "We have a trade volume of over 850 million USD, which makes Nigeria our second largest sub-Saharan trade partner. And we hope that the figure will go even higher," Davutoglu said. He said Turkey considers Nigeria as its biggest partner in Africa, adding, "we want to take advantage of Nigeria's leadership and work with Nigeria in Africa."

    Ajumogobia, on his part, said the two countries have signed "important agreements", adding that relations between Turkey and Nigeria have deep roots in history.

    [12] Turkey and Kyrgyzstan agree to deepen ties

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.02.11), during a joint press conference with Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev in Bishkek on Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that it was decided to set up a High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council, adding that the first meeting of the council will take place in Turkey in March.

    Investments and support made to Kyrgyzstan have reached 450 million USD so far, while the support which Turkey extended only regarding Manas University has reached 150 million USD so far, Erdogan said.

    Turkey donated 10 million USD to Kyrgyzstan in 2010, while the International Cooperation & Development Agency of Turkey (TIKA) will make an investment of 15 million USD in 2011 for hospitals and schools especially in southern regions of Kyrgyzstan.

    Noting that a tripartite cooperation can also be made between Turkey, Kyrgyzstan and Russia to make investments in Kyrgyzstan, Erdogan said that today Turkey and Kyrgyzstan signed an agreement to lift 90-day visas. He added that the agreement included a proposal to lift visa procedures completely between the two countries by the end of 2011.

    Moreover, A.A. reports that during a Turkish-Kyrgyz Business Forum in Bishkek on Wednesday, Kyrgyzstan's Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev shed green light to Turkish businessmen, saying "We will protect your rights, and our government will close all institutions that cause problems for businessmen and investments". On the sidelines of the forum, Turkey and Kyrgyzstan signed six MoU on trade and economy.

    Meanwhile, A.A. reports that Turkey's National Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul, who accompanied Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his visit to Kyrgyzstan, met with his Kyrgyz counterpart Abibilla Kudayberdiev on Wednesday. Gonul said that Turkey will increase its financial and technical support to Kyrgyz Armed Forces. Turkish military has provided Kyrgyz Armed Forces with military and technical assistance worth of 9 million USD in the last 19 years.

    [13] Davutoglu will attend a meeting in Doha on Egypt

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 02.02.11), under the title "Turkey, Qatar to discuss Egyptian revolt", reports that the foreign ministers of Qatar and Turkey are set to meet Thursday in Doha in a meeting that comes in the wake of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolts, which could shake stability in the entire Middle East.

    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will depart for Doha on Thursday morning to meet with Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani. The initiative came after Turkish Prime Minister's phone conversation with al-Thani on Tuesday. The two countries developed a good sense of cooperation in efforts to defuse a recent problem in Lebanon, according to diplomats.

    Following the meeting in Qatar, Davutoglu is also scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Munich on Saturday, on the margins of an international security conference. "The two ministers will surely talk about Egypt and the growing upheaval," diplomats said.

    [14] Turkey highly favoured in many Mideastern countries

    Today's Zaman reports that a new survey has found that people in eight Middle Eastern countries view Turkey quite favourably and positive feelings about Turkey have increased compared to a previous survey as Turkey ranked first with 85% of respondents having very favourable and favourable views of it.

    The poll, "Perceptions of Turkey in the Middle East 2010," which was conducted by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) and KA Research between August 25-Sept. 27 in seven countries -- Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq -- and this time also in Iran, involved 2,267 people.

    "If the survey was conducted tomorrow, favourable views about Turkey would be even higher than this," said TESEV foreign policy programme officer Sabiha Seny?cel G?ndoar, who introduced the research results yesterday during a panel discussion as she responded to a question from Today's Zaman regarding expectations of Turkey amid public uprisings in the Middle East, especially in Egypt.

    She said that Turkish Prime Minister's statements in support of the Egyptian people came late as the people of the Middle East expect Turkey to play a leadership. "If Turkey supports democratic initiatives in the region, it will have more support from the people of the Middle East," she said.

    "The public has expectations from Turkey. And opinion leaders see Turkey and the Turkish prime minister do what they cannot do, whether supporting the Palestinian people or standing up against Israel, said Altun11k from the Middle East Technical University (ODT?).

    The TESEV and KA Research survey found that Turkey has started to play an active role in the Middle East not only in the areas of politics and the economy but also in culture. It found that people of the Middle East have become more familiar with the culture of Turkey since the country has become a preferred vacation destination and Turkish soap operas are widely viewed.

    [15] Highlights

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 02 February 2011:

    Unrest in Arab countries

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review entitled "Turks rise up against dictators! Well, some dictators...", columnist Burak Bekdil criticizes Islamists in Turkey for supporting popular uprising against Egyptian and Tunisian leaders because they are secular and have not declared war on Israel while turning a blind eye to oppression in Syria, Iran, and Sudan and monarchies in the Arabian Peninsula.

    Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review columnist Yusuf Kanli says: "The message Erdogan delivered to Egypt's embattled President Hosni Mubarak was a rather clear one: Amigo, it's high time to pack up and escape to oblivion." He concludes by saying that Erdogan was perfectly right in his "friendly" and "sincere" advice to Mubarak.

    Milliyet columnist Asli Aydintasbas lauds Erdogan for tacitly advising Mubarak to step down. She notes: "Turkey waited for long, but finally made a very strongly-worded statement which will increase its influence over the Middle East and command respect from people in the region." Aydintasbas also urges Erdogan to make similar calls to the rulers of other Muslim countries which, she says, have not taken any step toward democratization.

    In an article in Milliyet entitled "Erdogan should not forget his words", columnist Semih Idiz says that Erdogan's remarks will certainly boost morale among protestors in Egypt who, he notes, look up to him, and at the same time disturb those he describes as dictators such as the Sudanese President. He comments: "Erdogan yesterday outlined his vision about the events witnessed in Egypt. But, it is a vision which should not be forgotten and constantly reminded to dictators in the region."

    In an article in Vatan entitled "Could Turkey become a country like Egypt?", Vatan columnist Rusen Cakir focuses on alleged attempts to launch a campaign in a bid to oust the Turkish government with the military's support and says that such efforts would be vain because Turkey and Egypt have significant dissimilarities. He says that those who are not satisfied with the AKP government should roll their sleeves ahead of the general election due to be held in June and make efforts to defeat the ruling party rather than waste time in such futile efforts."

    Yeni Safak columnist Hakan Albayrak cites Prime Minister Erdogan's address to the parliamentary group of his party yesterday expressing support for the riots in Egypt and urging Hosni Mubarak to "lend an ear to the people's outcry", and poses the question whether Erdogan's support for the "revolution" in Egypt might harm relations between Ankara and Cairo if Mubarak survives the crisis. He argues that while there are a number of "unpleasant balances" that Turkey needs to maintain and "nobody expects the [Erdogan] government to defy all dictators [in the Islamic world] at once," Ankara should adopt a general stance against repressive governments in the region and not fail to give its full backing to "extraordinary" popular uprisings like the "revolt of the oppressed" in Egypt even if this entails damage to regional "balances."

    Zaman columnist Mehmet Kamis interprets the latest events in countries like Tunisia and Egypt as meaning that the region is breaking free of the "straitjacket" it was made to wear a century ago. He claims that the riots herald the end of secularist regimes based on state coercion. He also argues that what tipped the regional balance in favour of democratization is "the presence of a democratic Turkey that is open to the world."

    In an article in Today's Zaman entitled "'Turkish experiment' through Egypt's prism", columnist Yavuz Baydar defines "through the prism of Tunisia and Egypt what we have been experiencing for a decade or so in Turkey," asserting that "if civilian segments are left unbothered, uninterrupted by tutelage-obsessed forces, they will find the paths to move into the center, change from within and find safety in democracy ..." He also asserts that "the 'silent evolution' of Turkey, merging Islamic-based conservatism with western democratic models, will continue to show the way for the region's suppressed [peoples] and will be seen with more respect [with] every day that passes as a role model."

    Milli Gazete columnist Nedim Odabas calls attention to some of the "lessons Turkey should draw from the wave of insurgency" in North Africa, asserting that Prime Minister Erdogan would be well advised to ponder the possible consequences of his "figurehead" role as co-chairman of the United States' Broader Middle East Project displayed earlier by his efforts to make Turkey part of the US war in Iraq in 2003.

    In an article in Bugun entitled "Turkey's model status", columnist Ahmet Tasgetiren argues that the ruling Justice and Development Party, (AKP), is refraining from stressing Turkey's potential to serve as a "model" for Arab countries in response to the latest events in Tunisia and Egypt because it does not want to harm its relations with the ruling cadres in these countries. He recalls how Turkey "during the days when the Broader Middle East Project attempted to export democracy to the region" maintaining that any democratization in the Middle East should be based on internal dynamics rather than being imposed from the outside. He also describes the events in Tunisia and Egypt as "the normalization of history."

    Debates over presidential system

    Hurriyet columnist Sedat Ergin says that Erdogan aims to vest himself with broad executive powers if he is elected as President and to ensure that there are only two political parties represented in Parliament which, he says, would be similar to the current system in the US Congress. Emphasizing that such a system would conflict with Turkey's efforts to join the EU in addition to its various drawbacks, Ergin says: "It would not be wrong to predict that Erdogan would eagerly want to return to the current parliamentary system in Turkey after the end of the first month in a scenario supposing that the American system, which is based on sharing power, is implemented in Turkey for a short period."

    Cumhuriyet columnist Hikmet Cetinkaya says that Erdogan plans to form a majority government after the upcoming general election while ensuring that only his party and the CHP win seats in Parliament. He comments: "He will transform the current system in Turkey into a federal one based on ethnicity as a result of constitutional amendments. Thus, Erdogan will be elected as President who will wield all executive powers. The system that he is proposing is, therefore, antidemocratic. The Prime Minister cannot stomach democracy."

    Senior PKK man arrested

    A report in Hurriyet says that a man allegedly commanding the PKK's armed militants in Dogubeyazit and Igdir has been remanded in custody after his detention by security forces at a checkpoint. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    /EG


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