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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-02-14

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. 30/11 12-14.02.11 C O N T E N T S

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

  • [01] Turkish Cypriot political party leaders in a panel discussion in Ankara on the latest developments
  • [02] Eroglu met with leaders of political parties
  • [03] Reaction on the appointment of Akca to the position of "ambassador"
  • [04] Cemil Cicek: "TRNC's economy will go bankrupt by October if the protocol is not implemented"
  • [05] Talat comments on recent developments and his meeting with Erdogan
  • [06] Sahin: "The Greek Cypriot side has always been the side to run away from a settlement"
  • [07] Bagis: We will continue to offer our support to Cyprus with the taxes given by Turkey's poor people
  • [08] Turkey's DSP accuses AKP of deliberately creating tension in Cyprus
  • [09] Turkey's ODP to illegally visit the occupied areas to express support to the trade unions
  • [10] Turkey's BBP: Erdogan should have said "Cyprus is and will remain Turkish"
  • [11] Increase in applications submitted to the "Property Compensation Commission
  • [B] TURKISH PRESS

  • [12] Gul: "Turkey stands by TRNC both politically and economically"
  • [13] Davutolu says replacement of envoy to  TRNC not a punishment
  • [14] Columnist in Today s Zaman assesses Turkey s EU bid in relation with the Cyprus problem
  • [15] Gul and Davutoglu arrive in Iran on 4-Day Visit
  • [16] Turkey, Georgia agree on passport-free travel
  • [17] Highlights

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

    Reaction to the appointment of Akca is the main issue in the Turkish Cypriot press over the weekend. The panel organized in Ankara by the Turkish Cypriot Cultural Association on the Cyprus problem is the main issue in Monday's Turkish Cypriot press. Statements by Cicek, Talat, Bagis and others on the latest developments in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus are also covered by the press.

    [01] Turkish Cypriot political party leaders in a panel discussion in Ankara on the latest developments

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (14.02.11) reports that the leaders or representatives of the five Turkish Cypriot political parties represented in the "assembly" of the breakaway regime discussed the latest developments in the occupied areas of Cyprus during a panel organized in Ankara by the Turkish Cypriot Cultural Association.

    Ertugrul Hasipoglu, general secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP), Ferdi Sabit Soyer, chairman of the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces (CTP-BG), Serdar Denktas, chairman of the Democratic Party (DP), Mehmet Cakici, chairman of the Social Democracy party (TDP) and Turgay Avci, chairman of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) addressed the panel. Before their address, the politicians held each other's hand in order to give a message for unity. The chairman of the association, Ahmet Goksan argued that a "game" is being played lately aimed at creating tension in the relations between Turkey and the "TRNC" and added that they organized this panel in order to spoil this game.

    In his address, Ertugrul Hasipoglu noted that the strategic importance of Cyprus has always been very high. Therefore, he added, there has never been a "Cyprus nation" and whoever conquered Cyprus increased its population. Hasipoglu compared the current economic situation in the occupied areas of Cyprus with the situation before 2004 and added, inter alia: "This is the most important issue to which we must pay attention. We are not aware of the fact that we have come to a dangerous point. A marginal group comes out in Cyprus and carries 3-5 banners to which we all protest. They are 5-10 persons. (Such persons) exist in all countries. Ankara's reaction is in comprehensible."

    Hasipoglu expressed the view that it is not possible to criticize the entire community because of a few people and added that such discussion should be held behind closed doors.

    "Of course we may have committed some mistakes, but please do not call us 'servants'. We have protected the Turkish existence on Cyprus since 1571. My generation did not live its youth years. Why? In order to maintain the Turkish existence there, to carry out the duty of guarding the borders of Anatolia. We will remain there. No power will be enough to eliminate our existence".

    In his address, Ferdi Sabit Soyer noted that the economic model in the occupied areas of Cyprus had been brought by Turkey. He added: "The Turks of Cyprus are no one's fool. We want to arrange our own affairs. The aid which comes to us is funds from the poor people of Anatolia. We do not want to see ourselves as a people who administer and feed ourselves with these taxes. We attach great importance to this aid, but we want an economic model which will be able to be sustained with our own income. And we want to spend Turkey's funds correctly". Everybody should respect the people's will for self-administration", he said.

    Mehmet Cakici recalled that they will organize a second rally will be organized on 2 March noting that the rallies are not against Turkey. Noting that the first rally was called "Communal Existence Rally", Cakici said the Turkish Cypriots are saddened and hurt when they hear such words especially from Turkey, which they love very much. He noted that the Turkish Cypriots demand two things: revision of the economic package and the self-administration of the institutions of the "TRNC". He added: "If I am a state, I have to be like one. One day before the rally I sent a letter using polite language to [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan. 'Do not send us officials who insult us. This hurts us', I said". Cakici noted it would be wrong to say that the rally on 2 March will be organized against Turkey and to judge a people by a few banners.

    Serdar Denktas said the economic package will annihilate the Turkish Cypriots and added that this package is not suitable to the characteristics of the "Turkish Cypriot people". Admitting that the Turkish Cypriots might have committed mistakes, Denktas said they have to elaborate plans according to their own character in order to correct these mistakes and use the technical and political support of Turkey. He argued there is a need for a "TRNC" which stands on its own feet under all circumstances. He said no Turkish Cypriot could turn his back to Turkey, alleging that the relation between Turkey and the "TRNC" is a historical one. "This is not a relation of give and take", he pointed out noting that efforts are exerted recently to present this relation as such.

    Turgay Avci argued that relations between Turkey and the "TRNC" are not like relations between any other two states. "These are relations written with blood", he alleged and claimed that the Turkish Cypriots would not exist if the Turkish invasion of Cyprus had not taken place in 1974. He said the Turkish people made sacrifices for Cyprus and added that these relations should not be harmed further.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Eroglu met with leaders of political parties

    According to illegal Bayrak website (12.02.11), the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu met yesterday delegations of political parties represented in "Parliament". The meeting was a follow-up to an earlier meeting held last Sunday.

    Ways of overcoming current social and economic problems faced in the country and achieving communal consensus, as well as reconciliation on the outstanding issues dominated yesterday's meeting.

    According to a statement released by the "TRNC Presidency", the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu will continue to meet with political figures and representatives of civil society organizations and trade unions in the coming days.

    [03] Reaction on the appointment of Akca to the position of "ambassador"

    Under the title "The unwanted man!", Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (12.02.11) in its front page reports that there is a huge reaction in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus on the appointment of Halil Ibrahim Akca to the position of Kaya Turkmen, until recently "ambassador" of Turkey to the occupied part of Lefkosia.

    Havadis reports that the Trade Union Platform declared Halil Ibrahim Akca, "Turkey's new ambassador in Lefkosia", persona non grata. The Platform representatives convened yesterday to discuss the latest developments. KTOEOS leader Adnan Eraslan, in a written statement on behalf of the platform, said: "The Platform has declared Halil Ibrahim Akca, who has been appointed as Turkey's ambassador in Nicosia, persona non grata because he is a symbol of enforcement."

    The statement also said: "The Platform has decided to endorse its struggle until the destructive package of economic measures and all the steps taken in connection with it are withdrawn and to raise the voice of the Turkish Cypriots at the meeting to be held on Wednesday, 2 March."

    Moreover, criticizing the replacement of the "Turkish Ambassador Turkmen", the leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Ferdi Sabit Soyer, said in a written statement, that the way that Kaya Turkmen has been withdrawn from the island not only has not contributed to the interests of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots, but it will harm them.

    The Democrat Party (DP) has launched a signature collection campaign against the appointment of Akca, the paper reports. Speaking to reporters the leader of DP, Serdar Denktas, said that there will be a demonstration on Monday to protest the appointment of Akca, adding that they will not accept Akca as an "ambassador" and will not contact him. He also said that DP will hold a sit-down protest until Ankara appoints a diplomat as an ambassador.

    Serdar said that it is the first time that relations between Turkey and the breakaway regime have reached such an unfortunate situation.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (12.02.11) reports that the General Secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) Izzet Izcan, commenting on the same issue, said that "the new appointment of Akca is not an appointment of an ambassador, but rather a governor". He also said that "Turkey is treating TRNC as its province".

    Under the title "Reject the ambassador", Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika in its front page reports that during a press conference the leader of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP) Mehmet Cakici called on the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots, not to accept Akca's letter of credence. He also said that the appointment of Akca is equal to an appointment of a governor and not an ambassador.

    In addition the papers report that Turkish Associations such as "Karadeniz [Black Sea] Cultural Association", and the Culture and Solidarity Association of people from Alexandretta, expressed support of Ankara's decision.

    The paper under the title "support by Avci to Akca" reports that the leader of the Freedom and Reform Party Turgay Avci, in a written statement, said that Turkey can appoint any personality it wants, adding that it is not the business of trade unions or some political parties.

    On the same issue, Kibris (12.02.11) reports that the leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu said that replacement of former Ambassador Turkmen after just six months is a scandal. He added: "You will appoint an ambassador, and after six months remove him from office. Are there any precedents?"

    Kibris, in its front page, under the title "It's all yours", reports that Turkish State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, in an interview to CNN Turk channel, inter alia said that more than 800 million TL is donated for development of the occupied areas.

    Commenting on the replacement of Turkmen with Halil Ibrahim Akca, "the head of technical delegation for TRNC", Arinc said that Akca is a person, who has been working for years for the development of the economy in the occupied areas, and he wonders why there is so reaction on this appointment. Noting that Turkey is exerting all its efforts to bring permanent solution to the Cyprus problem and supports the Cyprus talks, Arinc said that "TRNC is part of Turkey, and Turkey wants permanent peace on the island".

    [04] Cemil Cicek: "TRNC's economy will go bankrupt by October if the protocol is not implemented"

    Under the title "He gave time limit until October", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (13.02.11) reports on statements by Cemil Cicek, Turkish State Minister responsible for Cyprus and Deputy Prime Minister, to Turkish daily Hurriyet.

    In his statements, Cemil Cicek recalled the bankruptcy of the "Turkish Cypriot Airlines" ("KTHY") and its 40 million TL loss and said that if the "TRNC" does not implement the protocol it might face the same risk.

    Pointing out that 84% of the funds is given for salaries of the public employees, Cicek pointed out that by the October of 2011 the "TRNC" economy will go bankrupt. Cicek added that if the protocol between Turkey and the "TRNC" is not implemented, then the "TRNC" will face bankruptcy.

    Commenting on the appointment of Halil Ibrahim Akca to the position of "ambassador of Turkey" to the "TRNC", Cicek denied allegations that Akca is "his man" adding that they are all government official. He also described as ridiculous allegations that the Turkish government has appointed a vali [governor].

    Cicek further stated that Turkey's contribution will be in line with the protocol. He said that their contribution during 2010 was 916 million TL, of which 450 million was used to cover the budget deficit. Referring to the 13th salary he said that national law envisages payment by December 31st. However, he said, as there were not enough funds, this was not possible and so it was paid out of the 2011 budget. Cicek warned that there will be funds by next autumn and called on everybody to comprehend this.

    (AK)

    [05] Talat comments on recent developments and his meeting with Erdogan

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (13.02.11) reports on statements by Mehmet Ali Talat former Turkish Cypriot leader. Talat participated in a TV programme in which he evaluated the latest developments and the rift in Turkey-"TRNC" ties.

    Talat said that he undertook the initiative to meet with Erdogan in order to lower tension. He justified the fact that after contacts in Ankara he did not make any statements, saying that he did not promise anyone to make any statements in order to condemn the demonstrations. Talat added that he does not want any dispute between Turkey and "TRNC," because neither of them has such a luxury.

    Moreover, he objected to Cemil Cicek's statements saying: "He has no right to dictate when we will make statements or not," and said that if Cicek expected statements he could have said so. He also said that Cicek should have learnt by now that he cannot insult anyone whenever he wants to, and he should understand that the Turkish Cypriots have different principles, for example protesters in the "TRNC" can protest and criticize. Talat said that protesters who were involved in this provocation were only given a warning and not dealt with force, contrary to Turkey where protesters are arrested and silenced.

    Commenting on Akca's appointment Talat said that it was a mistake to appoint an economist as an ambassador, because the Cyprus problem is political and ambassadors should be diplomats.

    [06] Sahin: "The Greek Cypriot side has always been the side to run away from a settlement"

    According to illegal Bayrak website (13.02.11), the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey, Mehmet Ali Sahin reiterated Turkey's continuous support to the Turkish Cypriots.

    Answering reporters' questions on Turkey-"TRNC" relations, Sahin pointed out that motherland Turkey has always defended the rightful cause of the Turkish Cypriots on every platform and worked to achieve a peaceful and prosperous life for the Turkish Cypriots. "Both Turkey and the TRNC did their part for the solution to Cyprus problem and the Greek Cypriot side has always been the side to run away from a settlement" he said.

    [07] Bagis: We will continue to offer our support to Cyprus with the taxes given by Turkey's poor people

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (14.02.11) reports that Egemen Bagis, Turkish Chief Negotiator with the EU, has argued that Turkey has and will always be by "TRNC's" side. In statements at Justice and Development Party's (AKP) local organization in Besiktas, Bagis referred to the Cyprus problem arguing that the main opposition in Turkey is doing politics over Cyprus. He said the opposition tries to present the incidents in Cyprus as having relation to what is happening in Tunisia and Egypt.

    Bagis said, inter alia, the following: "No one wants to see their child in trouble. The TRNC is our daughter land. We cannot expose our child, even if we get angry, even if we are saddened, even if we are offended. This is what our main opposition does not understand. We want them to keep their budget in order, to do their accounts, their books well, to receive our citizens with open arms, to bond with them. We are trying to offer our support to Cyprus with the taxes paid by the poor people of Turkey and we will continue to do so. When it was needed, we gave our martyrs. If needed we will give them again...When it was needed we risked our EU course for Cyprus and we will do it again, because Cyprus is a national cause of our people. There could be no quarrel between the government and the opposition in national causes. Also, there could be no political exploitation of national causes..."

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Turkey's DSP accuses AKP of deliberately creating tension in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (14.02.11) reports that Masum Turker, chairman of Turkey's Democratic Left Party (DSP), accused the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of wanting "to end" the Cyprus problem and "turn it into ashes".

    In statements to Anatolia news agency, Turker argued that the AKP government wants Turkey to get rid of this problem and expressed the view that the AKP "deliberately causes the quarrels and the conflicts with this aim".

    Turker said the relations between Turkey and the occupied part of Cyprus are heading towards a negative direction. He noted that Turkey should always help Cyprus and added that this aid derives both from Cyprus' strategic position and the treaty of guarantee signed by Turkey.

    Turker said similar conditions existed when he was minister and he immediately instructed that 50 million dollars are given to the occupied part of Cyprus. He noted that aid is granted to the occupied Cyprus because this is one of their obligations.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Turkey's ODP to illegally visit the occupied areas to express support to the trade unions

    Under the title "He will offer its support to the trade unionists", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (14.02.11) reports that Alper Tas, chairman of Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP) in Turkey, is illegally visiting the occupied areas of Cyprus today in order to "see on the spot" the struggle of the Trade Unions' Platform and exchange views with the opposition.

    According to a statement issued by Kemal Darbaz, chairman of the Press Worker's Trade Union (Basin-Sen), during his two-day visit Tas will hold meetings with the trade unions and the political parties which had expressed support to the struggle.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Turkey's BBP: Erdogan should have said "Cyprus is and will remain Turkish"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (14.02.11) reports that Yalcin Topcu, chairman of Great Unity Party (BBP) in Turkey, said that the demonstrations in the occupied areas of Cyprus hurt Turkey. In statements during a meeting of his party in Izmir, Topcu alleged that "the necessary reply was not given" to those who had demonstrated in Cyprus. He added: "The Prime Minister should have said that 'Cyprus is and will remain Turkish'. This is what the Prime Minister should have said".

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] Increase in applications submitted to the "Property Compensation Commission"

    Under the title "Unbelievable increase in the applications to the Commission", Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (13.02.11), the paper publishes details on the number of applications per month during 2010:

    During January of 2010, only 2 persons had applied to the "Property Compensation Commission" while in January 2011 the number of applications reached 59. The paper adds that the total number of applications at the "Property Compensation Commission" in 2010 was 844 and it predicts that this number will reach 2000 during this year.

    The figures published by the paper are:

    2010 2011

    January: 2 January: 59

    February: 5 February: 38 (until 11.2.11)

    March: 26

    April: 28

    May: 36

    June: 31

    July: 36

    August: 28

    September: 36

    October: 41

    November: 40

    December: 67

    (AK)


    [B] TURKISH PRESS

    Statements and commentaries over the replacement of recently appointed Kaya Turkmen with Halil Ibrahim Akca, the head of the "Turkish aid disbursement agency" in occupied Cyprus and the architect of the belt-tightening measures for Turkish Cypriots, as "Turkey's ambassador" to occupied Cyprus were covered by the Turkish press today and during the weekend. Moreover, President Gul's visit to Iran, a telephone conversation between US President Obama and Turkish Premier Erdogan over the recent developments in Egypt, a decision of an Istanbul court to jail 163 military personnel suspected for the Sledgehammer case, a meeting between Turkish Premier Erdogan and General Staff Chief Gen. Isik Kosaner in Istanbul over the Sledgehammer case, and other internal issues were reported by the Press.

    [12] Gul: "Turkey stands by TRNC both politically and economically"

    Turkish News Agency Ankara Anatolia (A.A., 13.02.11) reports that the Turkish President Abdullah Gul ruled out a setback in relations between Turkey and "TRNC" and said that Turkey would continue to support it.

    Prior to his departure for Iran, Gul was asked about recent developments in Cyprus and the Turkish government's move to appoint a new ambassador to the "TRNC". "I do not see an anomaly here. Because Turkey will continue to make sacrifices in strengthening the TRNC, helping build a self-supporting economy and for a deep-rooted democracy," Gul told reporters at Ankara's Esenboga Airport.

    Gul also said that Turkey stands by the "TRNC" both politically and economically and that the Turkish Cypriots will decide who will govern their country, adding, "Turkey exerts efforts to help relations move forward in the healthiest way and also help the TRNC achieve a very strong future."

    [13] Davutoglu says replacement of envoy to "TRNC" not a punishment

    Under the above title Turkish daily Today's Zaman reports (14.02.11) that Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu dismissed speculations on Saturday that Turkey has punished former Ambassador to the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)" Kaya Turkmen by recalling him to Ankara.

    Davutoglu stressed that Turkmen's replacement was not for personal reasons and should not be exploited. "We have appointed a bureaucrat who is an expert in this [economic] affair who will help realize reforms we want in a healthy way," Davutoglu added. Noting that Turkey has been waging large-scale struggles for Turkish Cyprus and that Turkey's efforts should be honoured, Davutoglu said the "TRNC" could achieve this by establishing a strong economy.

    Davutoglu acknowledged that the "TRNC" economy has serious problems and said Turkey is seeking mechanisms that will enable the "TRNC" to stand on its own two feet. Claiming that the "TRNC" authorities should also embrace economic reforms, Davutoglu said when he saw the anti-Turkey placards during the protest on January 28, he wondered "What did we do wrong?"

    [14] Columnist in Today's Zaman assesses Turkey's EU bid in relation with the Cyprus problem

    Under the title "Ankara, Brussels brace for showdown over Cyprus", Fatma Demirelli writes, inter alia, in Today's Zaman (12.02.11) that Turkey's hardly moving European Union membership process may well come to a breaking point this year over the Cyprus dispute, according to both Turkish and European officials.

    Demirelli says that as Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders appear to be nowhere near achieving progress in reuniting the island despite holding dozens of rounds of talks since 2008, policymakers in both Ankara and Brussels are coming to terms with the idea that the end of the road may now be in sight.

    She writes: "?Ankara has refused to consider any revision to its policy of no access for Greek Cypriot vessels and aircraft, while the EU issued deadlines for the opening of the ports and then extended them to avoid a fatal collision. Policymakers in Ankara now expect the long-delayed crisis to hit anytime this year and are ready to face the consequences. 'A showdown is inevitable,' said one senior diplomat, speaking to a group of journalists in Istanbul this week. 'We are now looking to see how this showdown will take place and what results will come out of it.'

    According to the official, what is at stake is the political dialogue between Turkey and the EU at a time when Turkey is becoming an increasingly key player not only in the volatile Middle East but also in the global arena. Defence cooperation between NATO and the EU, currently blocked because Turkey blocks Greek Cypriot access to NATO and Greek Cyprus blocks Turkish access to European defence apparatus, is also likely to be one of the victims of the Turkey-EU stalemate over Cyprus.

    Both outcomes are likely to hurt the EU's aspirations to boost its global standing as an influential political actor. But in the corridors of the EU buildings in Brussels, few seem bothered. Leaving aside occasional calls for the creation of a new Turkey-EU dialogue mechanism to discuss defence issues and coordination in foreign policy -- a call readily rejected by Ankara, by the way -- European politicians are adamant not to let Turkey's accession process proceed unless Ankara makes amends to its Cyprus policy. Whether Cyprus is the real concern or is merely an excuse, as Turkish leaders frequently say, not allowing Turkey's accession because it is religiously different, is up for discussion. What is certain, however, is that the accession process will not be allowed to move forward unless Turkey agrees to concessions on Cyprus.

    In Ankara this week, the ambassadors of the EU countries heard Ankara's clear message once again, this time from Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. In a meeting with EU countries' ambassadors, Davutoglu said it was unacceptable that Greek Cyprus 'uses the EU' to achieve its own political goals and lamented the EU countries' position'."

    [15] Gul and Davutoglu arrive in Iran on 4-Day Visit

    Turkish News Agency Ankara Anatolia reports from Tehran (13.02.11) that the Turkish President Abdullah Gul arrived in Iran's capital Tehran yesterday for a four-day official visit at the invitation of his Iranian counterpart Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

    Gul, who is accompanied by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, State Minister Cevdet Yilmaz, lawmakers, businessmen, academics and governors of Turkish provinces bordering Iran, is the first Turkish president visiting Iran in nine years. Before his departure he stated to reporters: "I will attend Turkey-Iran Business Council meeting in Tehran along with President Ahmadinejad. I will also visit Iranian cities of Tabriz and Isfahan. Political, economic and commercial relations between Turkey and Iran will be high on agenda of our talks. We will also have the chance to review recent regional and global developments." Gul added that Turkey supports Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency to remove concerns of the international community about its nuclear programme.

    [16] Turkey, Georgia agree on passport-free travel

    Under the above title Turkish daily Today's Zaman (14.02.11) reports that the Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Saturday that Turkey and Georgia have already started works to allow citizens of both countries to travel with only state identity cards.

    Davutoglu told a joint news conference with his Georgian counterpart, Grigol Vashadze, during his visit to Tbilisi that they plan to apply "single window customs" at the Sarp border gate, the largest and busiest gate in the Caucasus, facilitating trade transactions and enabling cross-traders to present their documents at a single location. Davutoglu said it is a very serious initiative regarding the integration of the two countries' economies.

    Davutoglu met with Vashadze to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries, regional developments and ongoing restoration in the cultural heritage of Georgia in Turkey and Turkish heritage in Georgia. Ministers then headed delegations during a follow-up meeting, in which they discussed ways to ease travel between the two countries.

    [17] Highlights

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 11-14 February 2011:

    Cyprus issue

    In his column in Milliyet (13.2.11), Semih Idiz argues that "despite Foreign Minister Davutoglu's narrative regarding 'foreign policy with a vision,' the government's incompetency in diplomacy has now been revealed in Cyprus. Moreover, this was done in a way that undermines all of Turkey's theses regarding Cyprus and assists the cause of the Greek Cypriots." The quarrel created by Erdogan's anger toward a bunch of Turkish Cypriots and Davutoglu's subsequent attitude showed that Ankara is unable to conduct even the Cyprus diplomacy without problems, Idiz says. He adds that this affair strengthens the Greek Cypriot thesis that there is no point in conducting negotiations with the Turkish Cypriots because Turkey is the real proprietor. Idiz also terms as a blunder the appointment of an envoy to north Cyprus who he says is hated by the Turkish Cypriots, and adds: "Turkey has thus declared: 'Yes I am the proprietor here and I will do whatever I want.'" Idiz states that "the recent developments show that at least Erdogan and State Minister Cemil Cicek have not totally realized that the Cyprus issue is one that affects our entire foreign policy." How does Davutoglu plan to defend Turkey's Cyprus policies now, Idiz asks. He also writes that the current situation in north Cyprus, which appears to annoy Ankara, is the product of Turkey's own policies. Thanks to Erdogan, Idiz notes sarcastically, Turkey's true colours in Cyprus have been revealed.

    In an article in Vatan (12.2.11) entitled "It seems Turkey is prepared to sacrifice Cyprus", Can Atakli says he understands Turkey's reaction against the insulting attitude displayed by some in northern Cyprus, but at the same time he observes a defamation campaign vis-a-vis the Turkish public. "The AKP government makes some promises in international forums to find a lasting and final solution to the Cyprus issue. We are going to lose Cyprus completely if and when the government's solution plan is implemented." The writer concludes: "Given recent reactions, a campaign is under way to alienate Turkish public opinion from Cyprus so that Turks can think of Turkish Cypriots along the lines of 'let them stew in their own juice.' I hope that I am mistaken."

    Cengiz Aktar in Hurriyet Daily News (12.2.11) warns: "Tahrir square? Do not overlook Inonu square in Nicosia." Aktar writes: "It is important to know that Turkey is approaching the end of the road in northern Cyprus. The removal of Turkish Ambassador Kaya Turkmen last Thursday and his replacement by a non-diplomat in charge of the austerity plan marks a turning point and a milestone on the road to de jure annexation. It shows the Turkish intent not to even pretend to consider northern Cyprus as an independent country and calls a spade a spade, or a protectorate a protectorate."

    In a column in Hurriyet (11.2.11), Yilmaz Ozdil reminds Turkish Cypriots that Turkish army saved Turkish Cypriots from massacres, yet today those toadying to Greek Cypriots are "shamelessly" calling on Turkey to get out of Cyprus, adding that it is beyond Turkish Cypriot capability to remove the Turkish army from its entrenched position.

    Ferai Tinc of Hurriyet (11.2.11) comments on the European Parliament Foreign Relations Committee's draft report on Turkey and argues that the Cyprus talks as well as Turkey's EU process are heading to an impasse and these two interrelated issued may cause a serious crisis this year and force Turkey to seek new paths in foreign policy.

    Vatan (12.2.11) editor Gungor Mengi warns against the "ugly fight" between Turkey and its "daughter land" and expresses hopes the whole thing is merely AKP's "disciplinary measure" against Turkish Cypriots and does not involve any scenario of abandoning Cyprus. Mengi criticizes Erdogan's vengeful attitude and says Turkey has to feed the Turkish Cypriots for its own strategic interests, especially now that the Middle East is in turmoil.

    Milliyet's (12.2.11) Fikret Bila quotes Cemil Cicek as saying that the Turkish Cypriots should not be offended by criticism, for the Turkish Cypriot protesters should not have insulted Turkey in the first place. Cicek also denies Turkey is imposing economic measures on Turkish Cypriots, saying that the measures are in accordance with the bilateral protocols and that Turkey is conveying its economic and financial experience to Turkish Cypriots for them to radically reform their economy and balance the budget.

    In an article in Yeni Akit (12.2.11) entitled "Jewish Republic of Northern Cyprus", columnist Serdar Arseven criticizes the Erdogan government for what he describes as its failure to take measures to prevent north Cyprus from virtually turning into a Jewish country as a result of a Turkish Cypriot bill allowing foreigners to buy real estate in North Cyprus.

    Egypt/Turkey

    Writing in Star (13.2.11), Mustafa Karaalioglu views developments in Egypt arguing that "a bloodless, democratic, and gentlemanly revolution took place in an Islamic country. From that viewpoint, this is an extremely valuable political achievement." Turkey, too, should be proud, he says, because it has served as a model based on its economic development and human rights in a democratic atmosphere, and because under Erdogan's leadership it has "demolished the paradigm of the Islamic world stuck along the US-Israel axis." Karaalioglu lauds the Turkish Government's Middle East policies and its positive influence in the region.

    Writing in Yeni Akit (13.2.11), Mustafa Ozcan assesses the situation and writes: "This is primarily the victory of the Egyptian people. Secondly, it is Turkey's victory because a brotherly regime has arrived in the region". From the geopolitical and geostrategic points of view the Egyptian developments are in favour of Turkey, writes Ozcan, pointing out that the departure of Mubarak is a great loss for Israel. Asserting that this revolution has brought Egypt closer to the Muslim world and has distanced it from the West, Ozcan dismisses assessment regarding a military coup order, adding that the Egyptian army is acting on behalf of the people and will not cast a shadow over its "revolutionary legality."

    Writing in Yeni Akit (13.2.11) Yavuz Bahadiroglu notes that the Egyptians might regret their choice of the army and draws attention to the close links between the Egyptian army and the United States, adding: "Now Turkey seems to be in a good position. One should, however, take into consideration the vast US donations to the Egyptian army because the United States might soon revise its position and overtake Turkey."

    Hurriyet's (12.2.11) Ozdemir Ince foresees a "moderate Islamic structure" in Egypt and blames the United States for "still pursuing the Greater Middle East Project." In his article entitled "Tahrir square against Kemalism," he says: "It is not possible for Egypt to transform itself into a secular democratic structure." The writer uses recent comments by former CIA Director Graham E. Fuller to validate his argument: "Fuller was talking about the beginning of a new era in the Middle East under Turkey's leadership. He also emphasized that the Greater Middle East project is a US ideal, and it remains on the table. When it comes to choosing between democracy and the Greater Middle East Project, the United States will go for the latter. Therefore, the United States wants to see the elimination of the secular Kemalist mentality in Turkey as well. This is how the United States hopes to keep the Muslim Brotherhood under its control."

    Ergun Babahan of Star (12.2.11) observes "Victory for Erdogan and for the Egyptian People." In a 200-word article, the writer says: "Prime Minister Erdogan took a timely stance against Mubarak and advised him to go. Thus, in a very critical period of world history, Turkey sided with change instead of protecting the status quo. A new world is about to be built in the Middle East while Turkey also takes its proper place."

    Yeni Akit (12.2.11) columnist Ali Karahasanoglu compares the events in Egypt that culminated in Mubarak's resignation to developments in Turkey that signify what he claims to be the end of the "ideological higher judiciary" through a bill that entails the appointment of new justices to the Supreme Court and the Council of State who are opposed to the restrictions on the wearing of Islamic headscarves. He claims that just as "oligarchs" in Egypt who maintained close relations with Israel and turned a deaf ear to the Palestinian people's demands have been ejected from power through street protests, so an "ideological" group within Turkey's higher judiciary that has so far maintained an "arbitrary" ban on Muslim headscarves will be prevented through new judicial appointments from rendering rulings that go against the people's wishes and expectations.

    Gul's visit to Iran

    Writing in Yeni Akit (13.2.11) Hasan Karakaya underlines the importance of President Abdullah Gul's visit to Iran and explains: "Turkish-Iranian relations are going through the best period of their history because of the 'embargoes' imposed by the United Nations and the United States. 'Iranian businessmen' who had been channelling their investments to Dubai for many years have recently been facing obstructions. Businessmen who are considering leaving Dubai are considering coming to Turkey." Companies based in Europe that do not want to conduct direct business with Iran because o f the embargoes have begun to open office in Turkey in order to conduct their businesses via Turkey, writes Karakaya, stressing that Gul's visit at such a period is most important from the viewpoint of developing bilateral relations. Referring to the increasing fears about a shift in axis especially in the aftermath of the Tunisian and Egyptian developments, Karakaya argues that the Hezbollah in Lebanon, FIS in Algeria, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and HAMAS in Palestiene are not "terror organizations" but "people's movements." Dismissing claims that Mubarak's demise is a "US-supported soft coup," Karakaya argues that the transfer of Mubarak's authorities to the army is an indication of the failure of the United States and Israel. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    /EG


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