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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-02-16

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. 32/11 16.02.11 C O N T E N T S

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

  • [01] CHP deputies met with Eroglu and Kucuk
  • [02] Chairman of Turkish party ODP with Turkish Cypriot opposition leaders
  • [03] Ozgurgun called on the Greek Cypriot side to act with common sense
  • [04] Cakici evaluated on CNN Turk latest political developments
  • [05] Avci calls on the government to postpone the strikes
  • [06] YKP supports demilitarization of the fenced off town of Varosha and its return to its owners
  • [07] BKP criticizes Davutoglu's statement 8"Immigrants Assistance and Solidarity Association" launches collection of signatures campaign
  • [09] 25,000 "citizenships" will be granted by June
  • [B] TURKISH PRESS

  • [10] Bagis: "Turkey has very serious strategic sensitivities concerning the island"
  • [11] MHP leader Bahceli reacts to the latest developments in occupied Cyprus
  • [12] "Turkish Cypriots: between the devil and the deep blue sea"
  • [13] A Turkish diplomat on Sarkozy's visit to Turkey; He urges EU to wake up and find a way out
  • [14] Turkish FM discussed Iran's nuclear programme with Iranian counterpart
  • [15] Davutoglu to visit Nepal, India for talks on LDC conference; Turkey to host the 4th UN conference on the LDC
  • [16] Turkey to host migration seminar
  • [17] Highlights

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

    The main topics covered in today's Turkish Cypriot press are CTP delegation contacts with Kucuk and Eroglu, ODP chairman Alper Tas meeting with opposition parties in occupied Cyprus, statements by Bagis, Avci and Cakici on the demonstrations and Turkey-"TRNC" relations, a statement by Ozgurgun accusing the Greek Cypriots of trying to cut Turkey-"TRNC ties. Bahceli's criticism of Erdogan for the appointment of Akca, statements by Zorlu Tore that motherland and daughterland is the same country, and other internal issues are also highlighted in today's press.

    [01] CHP deputies met with Eroglu and Kucuk

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 15.02.11), the leader of Turkey's Republican People s Party Kemal K1l1cdaroglu, in a letter to the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu expressed his party s support to the Turkish Cypriots. The letter was handed to the Turkish Cypriot leader by two party deputies Huseyin Pazarc1 and Tansel Bar1s.

    Receiving the letter, Eroglu underlined the need to strengthen further relations with motherland Turkey adding that his political career has followed this philosophy. Eroglu emphasized that it is impossible for the Turkish Cypriots to maintain their existence on this land without motherland Turkey.

    At a separate meeting with CHP delegation, "prime minister" Kucuk stressed that no one can harm the fraternal relations between Turkey and the "TRNC".

    Asserting that Demetris Christofias is trying to take advantage of the current economic and political situation in the "TRNC" and suggest to Turkey what to do on this, Kucuk said that the Greek Cypriot side should rather focus on resolving its own economic problems.

    Speaking during the visit, CHP deputy Huseyin Pazarc1 said that the purpose of the contacts in the  TRNC was to underline the value and significance their party attaches to the Turkish Cypriots.

    [02] Chairman of Turkish party ODP with Turkish Cypriot opposition leaders

    Turkish daily Kibris (16.02.11) reports that Alper Tas, general chairman of the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP) met yesterday with opposition parties, during his visit to Cyprus. Tas, who wished to visit the parties which supported the Communal Existence rally, said that ODP supports a bi-communal, bi-zonal, federal independent republic in which the two people will be able to live as equals, in peace. He also said that the most common question asked by [Turkish Cypriot] people was "why has the Turkish state behaved in such a way" followed by "will they implement a policy of opening the ports to Greek Cypriots?"

    Ferdi Sabit Soyer, general chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), thanked Tas for his support and said that the Turkish Cypriot people want to administer themselves and want to cooperate with the Greek Cypriot society in their common land. At the same time they want to establish a brotherly and democratic relation with Turkey, the Turkish people, and every other people of the world.

    Serdar Denktas, general chairman of the Democratic Party (DP), also thanked Tas saying that the latest developments demonstrate to the president of the "Greek Cypriot administration" Demetris Christofias that relations of Turkish Cypriots with Turkey are very close and also that the "TRNC" is not under the administration of Turkey.

    General chairman of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP), Mehmet Cakici, said that Alper Tas' visit and support to the Turkish Cypriot people is very important response to those who say that the demonstrations are organised with Greek Cypriots.

    Tas also met with members of the New Cyprus Party (YKP). Murat Kanatli, member of YKP's executive board recalled that there is a political connection between the two parties for many years now, recalling a common statement in November 2009, which is still valid.

    Moreover, Izzet Izcan, general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) stated that it is very important that a progressive Turkish party stands by the Turkish Cypriot people and offers its support to the fight in such a critical period.

    [03] Ozgurgun called on the Greek Cypriot side to act with common sense

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 15.02.11), the so-called foreign minister Huseyin Ozgurgun in a written statement yesterday called on the Greek Cypriot side to act with common sense.

    Responding to recent statements by Greek Cypriot politicians, he argued that, once again, those statements aim at harming relations between Turkey and the "TRNC", adding that such attempts are vain. Huseyin Ozgurgun called on Greek Cypriot politicians to abandon such an approach.

    He added that the Greek Cypriot side's statements are not sincere or convincing aiming at the political, social and economic collapse of the Turkish Cypriots, ignoring the "realities".

    Ozgurgun added that "Presenting Turkey as an occupation force in Cyprus and eliminating the Turkish existence on the island by damaging relations between Turkey and the "TRNC", has been the core of the Greek Cypriot policy. But that scenario will never come true".

    Stressing that Turkey and the "TRNC" will continue their common for struggle on the Cyprus national cause, he called on the Greek Cypriot side to share the Turkish side's sincere and constructive position in the Cyprus talks in order to reach a lasting and just settlement on the island.

    [04] Cakici evaluated on CNN Turk latest political developments

    Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam (16.02.11) reports that the leader of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP) Mehmet Cakici, in an interview on CNN Turk, evaluated the latest political developments in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Cakici said that the time has come to talk, listen and understand the relations between Turkey and TRNC, the realities regarding the system and the democratic mechanism which is established in the TRNC, and to evaluate and act accordingly.

    Noting that "the relations of TRNC-Turkey have not been established on a healthy basis and that there are problems of democratic conception in North Cyprus", Cakici said that "both the governments in Turkey and in Cyprus have joint responsibilities on this".

    Describing "the democratic system established in North Cyprus after 1974 as crooked and distorted", Cakici also said that "for years they have depended on money and protection from Turkey, for this reason they (the governments) have been doing what they have been told". He added that the Turkish Cypriots, trade unions, political parties, NGOs, associations have convened to oppose this enforcement on them. He stressed that all these people have two demands, first, the withdrawal of the enforcement package which will drag the Turkish Cypriots to annihilation, and second, the desire to administer themselves.

    [05] Avci calls on the government to postpone the strikes

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (16.02.11) reports that Turgay Avci, the general chairman of Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) participated yesterday in a Kibris tv programme. Avci argued that the political and economic structure in the occupied areas is not viable and therefore they should accept their mistakes and try to correct them. He said that if people complain about the economic package, they should review it and discuss with Turkey the changes they want. He also said that the Turkish Cypriots themselves have to remedy the situation, and stressed that they need to increase production.

    Moreover, Avci proposed the postponement of all the strikes for 60 days, and argued that the country is being governed by the trade unionists. He also stated that the government should take measures to tackle issues like illegal economic activity and illegal workers, saying: "We must control entry and exit to the country, if need be we should bring the latest technology." Avci proposed that the Political Parties Law and the Elections Law must change, because the existing political structures lead nowhere. Regarding Turkey ? "TRNC" relations, he said that relations must be cleared up because it is not to the benefit of the "TRNC", since continuing the conflict with Turkey reduces the flow of students and tourists.

    [06] YKP supports demilitarization of the fenced off town of Varosha and its return to its owners

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (16.02.11) Murat Kanatli, General Secretary of Executive Committee of New Cyprus Party (YKP), in a written statement, said that the demilitarization of the fenced off town of Varosha as well as the return of Varosha to its owner will speed up the ongoing Cyprus talks. He also said that the return of the fenced off town of Varosha to its lawful inhabitants is not only a demand of the Greek Cypriots but it is also an important demand of the Turkish Cypriots.

    [07] BKP criticizes Davutoglu's statement

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (16.02.11) reports that the executive secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) Abdullah Korkmazhan, in a written statement, criticized the statement by Davutoglu that "the Turkish Cypriot community lacks the sense of belonging and that Turkey will assist them to bridge this gap". Korkmazhan said that this statement is unacceptable and that the Turkish Cypriots have separate identity and culture, adding that no one will change this.

    [08] "Immigrants Assistance and Solidarity Association" launches collection of signatures campaign

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (16.02.11) reports that the "Immigrants Assistance and Solidarity Association" in the occupied areas. Started collection of signatures campaign in order to clarify the legal status of immigrants living in "TRNC." According to a written statement by the chairman of the association Enver Dincoglu, the campaign aims to reveal problems that the "immigrants" face and request measures by the respective authorities.

    He also said that their purpose is to abolish double standards applied for immigrants, so that they are able to exercise the basic human rights and freedoms, and not be treated as second class citizens or be insulted by public officers. Moreover, he called on the "Turkish Embassy in TRNC" to undertake its responsibilities, and said that their future actions will depend on the answers they receive from officials.

    [09] 25,000 "citizenships" will be granted by June

    Levent Ozadam, writing in the column "Free Chair" in Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (16.02.11), reports that the breakaway regime, with the directions of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), will give "citizenship" to around to 25,000 persons by June.

    [B] TURKISH PRESS

    Statements and commentaries over the latest developments in occupied Cyprus are covered by the Turkish press today. Moreover, diplomatic sources on French President Sarkozy's visit to Turkey, President Gul and Foreing Minister's Davutoglu visit to Iran, an upcoming visit of Davutoglu to India, statements by the newly-appointed US Ambassador to Ankara Ricciardone over press freedom in Turkey, and other internal issues are also reported by the press.

    [10] Bagis: "Turkey has very serious strategic sensitivities concerning the island"

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (16.02.11) reports on statements by state Minister Egemen Bag1s, Turkey s chief EU negotiator, in an interview with Turkey s private Kanal 24 TV channel on Tuesday.

    Bagis said that the  TRNC would be under a Greek Cypriot  yoke were it not for Turkey s efforts, adding that Turkey has very serious strategic sensitivities concerning the island. He reiterated that Turkey has done everything to support the "TRNC" and that there might be some "problems within the family" but these can be tackled.

    Noting that the "TRNC" is in its "most prosperous" period in history, he added that the protests and social discontent intensified with Greek Cypriot provocation. He dismissed speculation that Turkey is ready to open its sea and air ports to Greek Cypriot vessels and aircraft in exchange for the opening of several EU acquis chapters, and said Turkey is ready to open its ports if the economic isolation imposed on "TRNC" is lifted and planes from European Union member states start landing at "Ercan International Airport" in occupied Lefkosia.

    Moreover, according to illegal BRT (15.02.11- online), Bagis said that Turkey faced many difficulties in its EU membership talks for the sake of the Turkish Cypriots, but that Turkey will not give up Cyprus for the sake of the European Union.

    [11] MHP leader Bahceli reacts to the latest developments in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish daily Hurriyet (online 15.02.11) reports on statements of Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader, Devlet Bahceli, regarding the latest developments in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus and the tension created between Turkey and the occupation regime.

    Speaking during the ordinary meeting of his parliamentary group Bahceli, inter alia, evaluated recent developments in occupied Cyprus. He said that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statement that the slogans on the banners were unacceptable, revealed his plot. Bahceli added that the Prime Minister found the suitable opportunity to punish the Turkish Cypriot "people" and to take his revenge saying that Turkey "feeds" them.

    Referring to the sudden replacement of recently appointed Kaya Turkmen with Halil Ibrahim Akca as "Turkey's ambassador" to occupied Cyprus, Bahceli said that the prime minister's message is clear, adding that this appointment is another disgrace and a scandal.

    Following this crisis, which has been created deliberately, Erdogan has to inform who he talked to after the incident. The Turkish Cypriots are neither abandoned nor unprotected. The attempt to give a present to the Greek Cypriots will be unsuccessful.

    [12] "Turkish Cypriots: between the devil and the deep blue sea"

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Today's Zaman (16.01.11) publishes a commentary by columnist Amanda Paul who recalls Erdogan reaction statements to a protest staged by Turkish Cypriots on January 28 and inter alia, writes that Erdogan's comments have left even the most Justice and Development Party (AK Party)-friendly Turkish Cypriots feeling angry.

    Referring to Eroglu's responding statements to Erdogan's complaints by issuing a statement calling on people to be responsible in their protests and not target Turkey and its government, the writer argues that for Turkish Cypriots, who are not used to having restrictions placed on their democracy and freedoms, these apparent efforts to narrow and muzzle their sphere of democracy has been a real eye-opener.

    The columnist continues:  A second, and apparently much larger protest, is to be staged on March 2. It seems Tahir Square is being followed by 0nonu Square. With tensions rising, if no precautionary measures are taken, it risks turning into an ugly battle between Turkish Cypriots and mainland Turks.

    Northern Cyprus is not (yet) a colony of Turkey, although Ankara seems to have been trying to transform the Turkish Cypriot culture for years. There seems to be a presumption among ordinary Turks that Turkish Cypriots are happy with Turkey's role on the island, being increasingly viewed as the 82nd province of Turkey, and that they should be eternally grateful for having such a kind and generous big brother guarding them. January 28 has shaken this perception. In all the years I have been following Cyprus I don't ever remember Turkish Cypriots publically expressing their unhappiness about Turkey's role in their affairs, let alone waving a Republic of Cyprus flag, until now. Some may have grumbled behind closed doors, but not publically. After all, with Ankara signing a nice big check every year to keep the north financially buoyant, this seemed to dictate that Turkish Cypriots should keep tight-lipped over Turkey's increasing footprint in the north.

    An increasing number of Turkish Cypriots seem to be getting fed up. Now a minority in the north thanks to the massive number of Turkish settlers (the precise number is seemingly unknown), they feel like foreigners in their own country. They are sick of being isolated, having to cow-tow to Ankara, being let down by the international community and by many Greek Cypriots (but certainly not all) treating them like second-class citizens.

    Pointing out that the only way out is to reach a peace deal to reunify the island, Amanda Paul indicates that "if by December 2011 there is no deal", the talks will probably collapse and there may not be another opportunity, she adds that in such a case "Turkey may convince a few "friends" to recognize it, but in real terms this will not much change the lives of ordinary Turkish Cypriots. Or Turkey may just move to "absorb" the north. With EU talks on the rocks, it would seem Turkey has little incentive to do otherwise. Indeed, the recent replacement of the Turkish ambassador by a non-diplomat could be a milestone on the road to de jure annexation.

    The writer also views the possibility that Erdogan's over-the-top reaction was deliberate: "He is beginning to pave the road for a Cyprus deal by trying to create a division between mainland Turks and Turkish Cypriots in order to save face when Turkey accepts a compromised Cyprus solution.

    However, if this is not the case, I would advise the Greek Cypriots to perhaps accelerate their efforts because if it is Turkey's intention to make northern Cyprus their 82nd province, it will not only affect the lives of Turkish Cypriots but also Greek Cypriots in a whole range of ways: illegal migration, security, investment and probably put the brakes on their hoped for oil/gas exploration, too".

    [13] A Turkish diplomat on Sarkozy's visit to Turkey; He urges EU to wake up and find a way out

    Hurriyet Daily News (15.02.11) cites a senior Turkish diplomat that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to pay a six-hour visit to Ankara on February 25. "It is totally a working visit only with regard to G-20 issues," the diplomat said about Sarkozy, the current G-20 chairman.

    The Turkish diplomat said that the EU negotiations are held up because of France and Cyprus, noting that Germany was not delaying any chapters ? "at least openly" ? although German Chancellor Angela Merkel is known to oppose Turkish accession. "We have experienced many crises with the EU. I think it has become a common word for us now. The EU has to wake up and try to find a way out," said the diplomat. "They have to convince Cyprus to be more forthcoming in the negotiations, otherwise this process will be stalled and will return to the situation we had in 1997."

    "This relationship has been going on for five decades up and down? We have been waiting in line and everybody else passed us," said the diplomat, emphasizing that Turkey would not abandon its EU quest until the bloc finally says, "Look, sorry, we can't have you in."

    [14] Turkish FM discussed Iran's nuclear programme with Iranian counterpart

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.02.11) reported from Tehran that Turkey's foreign minister met his Iranian counterpart and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator on Monday.

    Ahmet Davutoglu had talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Tehran to set the road map on negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear programme. Iran and P5+1 meeting in Istanbul in January was on the agenda.

    Davutoglu also tried to set a new date and place for negotiations during his talks.Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the next meeting would probably take place in Istanbul.

    Davutoglu's meetings took place on the sidelines of Turkish President Abdullah Gul's official visit to Iran.

    [15] Davutoglu to visit Nepal, India for talks on LDC conference; Turkey to host the 4th UN conference on the LDC

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Today Zaman (16.02.11) reports that according to a Foreign Ministry statement released on Monday, the Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will travel on Thursday to Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, which this year holds the rotating chairmanship of the United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC), to discuss an upcoming LDC conference in Istanbul.

    Turkey will host the fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries on May 9-13 in Istanbul. During his visit Davutoglu is scheduled to have talks with Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal.

    The statement said Davutoglu would discuss the fourth LDC conference during his talks, along with international and regional affairs and bilateral relations between the two countries. The purpose of the conference is to assess the results of the 10-year action plan the LDCs adopted at the third United Nations conference on LDCs in Brussels in 2001. Participating countries also plan to adopt new measures and strategies for the sustainable development of LDCs into the next decade.

    To prepare for the UN conference in Istanbul, Davutoglu will then proceed to New Delhi on February 18-19 to attend a foreign ministerial-level meeting called "The Positive Contribution of South Cooperation for Least Developed Countries' Development."

    [16] Turkey to host migration seminar

    Ankara Anatolia news Agency (15.02.11) reported that Turkey is set to host a seminar on the human rights dimensions of migration in Europe, on Thursday and Friday.

    The seminar is organized by Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights, and the rotating Turkish head of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers.

    The aim is to exchange views on the most important discrepancies between European migration laws and practices and human rights standards, as well as on optimal ways to provide assistance to states in reflecting on and revisiting their migration policies.

    Representatives from the Council of Europe member states, migration experts from intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and scholars are set to discuss topics such as the general human rights challenges of migration in Europe, the protection of unaccompanied migrant children and measures to combat smuggling.

    [17] Highlights

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 15 February 2011:

    Cyprus issue

    In an article in Star entitled "Why is the TRNC dependent on Turkey?", Mustafa Karaalioglu views the economic dependence of northern Cyprus on Turkey and the criticism regarding Turkish aid to Cyprus. If one has a look at the economic opportunities of the island, there is no need for this dependence, argues the writer, adding: "The economic dependence of the TRNC on Turkey is per se the policy of the Turkish state. For years this policy of dependence has been protected, and importance has not been attached to the economic development or the economic productivity of Cyprus." Drawing attention to the difficulty of changing a policy that Turkey has been pursuing for the last 40 years, Karaalioglu questions why Turkey has not opened the paths of trade to the Turkish Cypriots instead of subsidizing the Turkish Cypriot budget. Noting that the Turkish Cypriots are not the only ones responsible for this dependence, the writer continues: "If Turkey purchases even only potatoes and oranges from this tiny country to which it exports goods worth 2 billion annually part of the problem can be solved. TRNC's exports to Turkey meet only 20 percent of its imports. The injustice in the picture is quite clear. Let us also not forget that the subsidies the TRNC receives from Turkey are not only spent on the education, health, and other expenditures of its 'official' citizens but on the Turkish citizens who have arrived from Turkey and who have no social security."

    In an article in Taraf entitled "A change in the Cyprus policy", columnist Temel Iskirt argues that the recent Turkish-Turkish Cypriot crisis cannot be explained with political logic. Iskit questions the tension-increasing statements of AKP ministers and the appointment of Halil Ibrahim Akca who has been declared "persona non grata" by all the sectors in north Cyprus. The recent stand of the Turkish government is incompatible with its previous policy of portraying the Turkish Cypriot administration as an independent entity in a bid to keep alive the option of a "two state" formula for a Cyprus solution, argues the writer, adding: "Above all, it has now become difficult to claim that the TRNC is an independent country." Noting that the recent government stand has provided ammunition to the efforts of the Greek Cypriots to bypass the Turkish Cypriots and to consider Turkey their interlocutor, Iskit suspects that the sole goal of this new AKP policy is to improve the Turkish Cypriot economy through a strict economic programme disregarding the fact that this policy will further complicate the solution of the Cyprus issue.

    In an article in Today's Zaman entitled "Separate states in Cyprus on the horizon", columnist Lale Kemal accuses the European Union of setting the scene for two separate states in Cyprus in admitting the Greek Cypriots to full membership in 2004. She also links the recent "anti-Turkish protests" in north Cyprus to the "economic measures package" the ruling AKP initiated some time ago to "enable the Turkish Cypriot administration to create its own economic revenues instead of being reliant on aid coming from Turkey."

    Egypt / Turkey

    Yeni Akit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan enjoys sufficient popularity in the Middle East to come to power in any regional country if he wanted to, adding that this situation, coupled with a wide regional demand for the "Turkey model," should lead the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), to look into qualifying Turkey for the "historic role" it is expected to play in the region by writing a new constitution and introducing the presidential system.

    In a commentary in Zaman, Professor Birol Akgun asserts that the Egyptian people will enable their country to stage a "historic comeback" if they "show the same patience, resilience, and ability" in establishing democracy as they did in ejecting Mubarak from power. Akgun also argues that an Egyptian-Turkish rapprochement that could take place in the period ahead should be expected to "radically redefine the geopolitical and strategic architecture of the Middle East."

    Sledgehammer operation

    Writing in Hurriyet Daily News, Mehmet Ali Birad considers that the recent arrests within the Sledgehammer Operation have caused unnecessary tension in the public. Dismissing the possibility that the suspects might flee the country or destroy evidence, Birand wonders whether this case could not have been tried without arrests. Noting that the AKP is not only blamed for the arrests but is also perceived as taking revenge on the military, Birand adds: "To tell the truth, the government does not need to intimidate the military. This has been done already and the military has retreated to the barracks."

    Ergun Babahan in an article in Star assesses what he calls the arbitrary arrests pertaining to the Sledgehammer case, adding: "This is the fundamental difference between the law of coups and the law of a democratic order. (?) I believe that the decision to arrest the retired generals has not only failed to repair the communal conscience, but it has, on the contrary, seriously damaged it." Pointing out that the arrests have created an unnecessary tension between the army and the civilians, Babahan argues that arrests should not be the principle but the exception and concludes: "Even if the case is called Sledgehammer this view should not change. I have written in the past and I am repeating now: We should also defend the law of the coupists."

    Cumhuriyet columnist Hikmet Cetinkaya writes on the Sledgehammer plan: "As a journalist who has witnessed history, I do not believe that this is a 'scenario.' This means that there are coup-loving commanders in the TSK. The commanders have learned nothing from past coups." Describing, however, the recent "exaggerated" arrests in the Sled gehammer case as wrong, Cetinkaya expresses his concern over the war of attrition launched against the TSK, underlining that it is wrong to target the entire army.

    Yeni Safak columnist Abdulkadir Selvi comments on allegations that Chief of Staff General Isik Kosaner might resign in response to the arrest of certain senior members of the Turkish Armed Forces as part of the so-called Sledgehammer coup trial. Explaining why he believes such a turn of events is unlikely, Selvi claims that given how Prime Minister Erdogan is known to have looked into the legal feasibility of having a lieutenant general appointed as chief of staff before, the military should be aware that it could not force the Government to retreat through such moves.

    Yeni Akit columnist Yener Donmez criticizes a "unit" within the Government or the judiciary that is "keen on maintaining balances" for what he describes as its efforts to restrict the number of military arrests in the Sledgehammer trial to "five to ten senior commanders." He accuses this group of posing a greater threat to democracy in "continuously preventing Turkey from taking courageous and determined steps" toward democratization.

    Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone argues that the latest arrests in the Sledgehammer trial are not to be compared to the so-called "Auspicious incident" in Ottoman history, where some 6,000 janissaries were executed and some 20,000 others were deported after they mutinied against Sultan Mahmud II in the year 1826. Turkone interprets the arrests as meaning that as a law-based state, Turkey is disbanding unruly elements within its military. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    /EG


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