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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-02-23

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. 37/11 23.02.11 C O N T E N T S

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

  • [01] Eroglu on the Cyprus problem and ties with Turkey
  • [02] Bagis says "there are two republics in Cyprus"
  • [03] Talat says "we should make our own programme"
  • [04] The occupation regime will cover expenses of Talat's office
  • [05] CHP MP censures Erdogan's statements targeting the Turkish Cypriots
  • [06] Kudret Ozersay to meet with UN officials in New York
  • [07] Survey: 92% consider in flow of population from Turkey "very negative"
  • [08] Strikes continue in occupied areas; KTOS protests against the ban on strikes
  • [09] So-called transportation minister holds contacts in Ankara
  • [10] "Turning point"
  • [11] Cavusoglu goes to Portugal
  • [B] TURKISH PRESS

  • [12] Eroglu warned on possible escalation of tension if measures not taken
  • [13] "Our extremely dangerous dance on Cyprus"
  • [14] "Errors in the Cyprus policy"
  • [15] Luxembourg to open embassy in Turkey; Davutoglu met with Asselborn
  • [16] Erdogan says visa procedures with Malaysia to be lifted
  • [17] Turkey selected member to UN's Habitat governing council
  • [18] Turkish Defence Industry signed $600 million deal with Malaysia
  • [19] Highlights

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

    Eroglu's statements that solution must be based on realities, Saner's contacts in Ankara, contacts of a "parliament" delegation with officials in Ankara, Ozersay's visit to New York prior to the Secretary-General's report on the Cyprus negotiations, statements by the speaker of the "parliament" regarding the slogans used in the 28 January rally, a meeting between the occupied Lefkosia mayor and the Italian Ambassador, the continued strikes and demonstrations by school teachers union, and other domestic issues are the main issues in today's Turkish Cypriot press.

    [01] Eroglu on the Cyprus problem and ties with Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak television (22.02.11, online) reports on statements yesterday by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu on the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking to a delegation of the "Cyprus-Turkish Handicrafts and craftsmen Association", Eroglu stated that a lasting solution can only be found to the Cyprus problem if the "realities" on the island are taken into consideration.

    Eroglu said that the "TRNC" cannot exist without motherland Turkey and added that Turkey's support will continue if Turkish Cypriots know what they want. On the negotiations process Eroglu said he only tables proposals that reflect the Turkish Cypriot expectations.

    Stating that he is in charge of maintaining solidarity among people as the "president", Mr. Eroglu said he is doing his best to carry out his duty.

    [02] Bagis says "there are two republics in Cyprus"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (23.02.11) reports further on the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee. The paper says that the Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU Talks Egemen Bagis referred to criticism by some members of the Committee for not using the expression "Republic of Cyprus", and said: "Whether we accept it or not, every morning the sun rises above two separate states in the beautiful island named Cyprus. There are two separate active republics. If it is desired then these two separate republics should be united on the basis of political equality. Everyone in Turkey wants this, however, a solution which will not be based on political equality cannot be accepted by the Turkish Cypriots or us, one of the guarantor countries."

    [03] Talat: "The answer to all the problems is the Cyprus settlement"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (23.02.11), in its front page under the title "Eroglu sparked the fire", reports that the former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, speaking yesterday on Sami Ozuslu's programme of the private channel SIM TV, evaluated the tension between Turkey and the breakaway, and financial difficulties.

    Talat accused the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu of being responsible for the tension between Turkey and the breakaway regime.

    Noting that the answer to all their problems is the Cyprus settlement, Talat said that the Turkish Cypriots should make their own economic, social and political programme, adding that it is a great drawback not having one. He said that if they had presented a way out plan to Turkey, then this crisis would not have occurred. He added that these problems appear because the Turkish Cypriots expect everything from Turkey without doing anything themselves.

    Noting that if the current package had been presented at a referendum, it would have been rejected, Talat said that the economic package should be prepared in the occupied areas and then conveyed to Turkey.

    Responding to the question why he visited Ankara, Talat said "if I do not go to Ankara, where should I go". He also said that he does not approve of the placards in the rally, adding that he criticized them from the first day. He noted that these placards generated Prime Minister's harsh reaction. So the words he used illustrated this tension and since the Turkish Cypriots cannot digest these words, the tension builds up, Talat said.

    Talat also said that it was a mistake to hold flags of the Republic of Cyprus and wonders what benefit this action has for the Turkish Cypriots.

    Responding to criticism that he also signed the protocol, Talat said that the protocol he signed did not include any privatizations.

    Commenting on Akca's appointment as "ambassador" in the occupied areas, Talat stressed that the way the appointment was made was not correct, adding that it is wrong to appoint a non-diplomat in the position of an "ambassador" in Cyprus, especially during all this tension.

    Moreover, Turkish daily Milliyet (online, 23.02.11) reports that Talat also said during the programme that Turkey and the "TRNC" have serious problems for the first time in their history. He added: "We have some troubles with Turkey. Our people living in Turkey don't want to say that they are from the TRNC. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made harsh statements regarding the Turkish Cypriots."

    [04] The occupation regime will cover expenses of Talat's office

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (23.02.11) reports that the so-called council of ministers have approved to pay the rent of the political office of the former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, as well as utility expenses. The decision was published in the "gazette".

    [05] CHP MP censures Erdogan's statements targeting the Turkish Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (23.02.11), reports on statements by the Turkish main opposition Republican Peoples' Party (CHP) Bursa Parliamentarian and retired Ambassador, Onur Oymen, who reacted to the statements of the Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the latest developments in occupied Cyprus.

    Speaking through a telephone connection at a programme on "Kibris TV", Oymen evaluated the Turkish PM's statements targeting the Turkish Cypriots as very wrong, stating that Erdogan has gone too far and has harmed their "national Cyprus cause", adding that these statements pleased the Greek Cypriots and their supporters.

    Oymen added that Turkey, even in difficult periods where its own resources were limited, has never failed to provide the necessary help to the Turkish Cypriots. He added that, since the beginning, Turkey gladly offered this assistance that the Turkish Cypriots' living standard does not fall beyond the Greek Cypriots. "That was also the reason why the automatic telephone system was that of established in Cyprus before in Turkey," he noted and added: "The minimum wage in south Cyprus is 840, in Greece 740 and in Turkey 380 Euros. Thus, the Turkish Cypriots' salaries and living standards comparable to the Greek Cypriots and not to Turkey."

    Saying that Turkey's financial assistance for 2011 to the Turkish Cypriot "public sector" will be given as a credit and is only 375 million TL, Oymen pointed out that this amount is an allotment of 1.3 per thousand in Turkey's 2011 budget for the public sector, noting that there is exaggeration for such humble assistance.

    [06] Kudret Ozersay to meet with UN officials in New York

    Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak television (22.02.11, online) reports that Kudret Ozersay, Special Representative of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu, is paying a two day visit to New York to hold meetings with representatives of the UN Security Council member States as well as other UN officials, ahead of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon report on Cyprus.

    [07] Survey: 92% consider in flow of population from Turkey "very negative"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (22.02.11) continues to publish the results of a public opinion poll held by KADEM Research Company in February 2011. The paper reports that the participants in the survey were asked to rate various developments and describe them as "very negative", "negative", "positive" or "very positive".

    Replying on the possible settlement in their area of domicile of Greek Cypriots, 86.8% of the participants in the survey said that this would be a "very negative" development (65.8%) or "negative" (21%). Furthermore, 61.9 % of the participants in the survey said that joint investments of Greek and Turkish Cypriots would be a "very negative" (37.5%) or "negative" (24.5%) development.

    The paper reports that almost 92% of the participants in the survey think that the inflow of population to the occupied areas of Cyprus from Turkey is a "very negative" or "negative" development. Yeni Duzen writes that 70% of the participants expressed the view that the Turkish Cypriots living in Britain and other countries should be encouraged to return to the occupied areas of Cyprus. Moreover, 79.7% does not agree with building more mosques in the occupied areas of the island.

    The paper writes that 76.1% of the participants in the survey think that the reduction of the financial aid granted by Turkey to the occupied areas of Cyprus is a "very negative" (51.3%) or "negative" (25.8%) development. It also emphasizes that 64.5% of the sample think that the UBP "government" has failed. The Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu is also considered to have failed by 52.9% of the participants in the poll, while 42.9% think that he is successful. The paper recalls that in a poll held in February 2010, Eroglu was considered successful by 48.1% of the sample.

    Finally, according to the poll, the average monthly income of a Turkish Cypriot household is 3.128 Turkish liras.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Strikes continue in occupied areas; KTOS protests against the ban on strikes

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (23.02.11) reports that the Trade Union Platform met yesterday in order to evaluate the situation in the occupied areas given the recent decisions taken by the "government" to ban strikes in schools. The Platform announced that they will continue the strikes in "the courts and in the Land and Population registry departments", while "customs" employees and workers in Keryneia and Famagusta ports will refuse to work over time.

    Moreover, the Cyprus Turkish Teachers' Trade Union (KTOS) realized yesterday a march to the prime ministry in order to protest about the decision to declare their strike illegal. During the march slogans like "Ankara take off your hands," "This country is ours, we will govern it" were used. Also KTOS along with KTOEOS (the Turkish Cypriot Secondary School Teachers' Trade Union) laid a black wreath outside the so-called ministry of education, as a protest to the decisions. The trade unions underlined the fact that in some schools 60-70% of the students are of Turkish origin.

    [09] So-called transportation minister holds contacts in Ankara

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (23.02.11) reports on the meeting the Turkish Minister of Transportation Binali Yildirim had with the so-called minister of public works and communications Ersan Saner in Ankara, in which they discussed issues transportation and communication.

    Speaking to the press after the meeting, Yildirim stated that the instalment of the second undersea fiber-optic network to connect Turkey with the occupied area will begin on March 9 and is expected to be concluded by the end of May and begin operation by the end of June. As it was stated, the problems between Turkey and the breakaway regime in the field of communication will be eliminated. In addition, Yildirim, inter alia, stated that the problems faced regarding the founding agreement of the newly-established "North Cyprus Airlines" company (KKYH), have been discussed with the Turkish Civil Aviation and have been overcome.

    On his part, Saner expressed his satisfaction for overcoming the problems with the "KKHY", and noted that after the completion of the fiber-optic network, the "TRNC" will not face any problems again. Saner added that a big part of "two-way roads" has been completed and noted that they will not demand from Turkey the construction of roads, but higher standards and quality of the roads.

    Referring also to the "banner crisis", Yildirim said that it "is unjust to attribute to all the Turkish Cypriot people some marginal events; no one can accept this". He added that "such minor attempts that target to influence negatively relations between Turkish and the TRNC will never be effective". "We are like flesh and nail" and we will continue to work in Cyprus like we do in Turkey, no Turkish citizen can think negatively of the Turkish Cypriots," he concluded.

    [10] "Turning point"

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Kibris (23.02.11) hosts statements by the so-called Democratic Party MP Mustafa Arabacioglu. Arabacioglu argues that the continued "motherland ? daughter land - gratitude" relationship is not healthy and this is shown by the latest political developments. He supports that the relation between Turkey ? "TRNC" must be re-established on new sound foundations and that the uprise of the Turkish Cypriot people is an important opportunity.

    Arabacioglu also described the Erdogan's statement after the 28 January rally as a milestone for Turkish Cypriots, because although the same slogans have been used in the past, it was only a domestic issue, not reflected outside Cyprus due to the motherland - daughter land relation. "However after Erdogan's statements everyone started speaking out loud," said Arabacioglu who argued that this is not a revolt against Turkey but rather against the existing mentality and also a message of the Turkish Cypriot people to the world, stating: "I will not share my sovereignty with Greek Cypriots, nor with you [Turkey], nor with any other country. I am sovereign, this is what I am fighting for and I will continue to fight."

    [11] Cavusoglu goes to Portugal

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (23.02.11) reports that the so-called minister of National Education, Youth and Sports Nazim Cavusoglu, travelled to Portugal in order to visit tourism schools. The visit is realized within the framework of the VETLAM project which is financed by the European Union.

    Cavusoglu is accompanied by Metin Gultekin, director of the department for Vocational Tecnhical Education and other tourism educators. During the visit they will also meet with officials of the International Hotel and Tourism Association (AEHT). Cavusoglu and his delegation are expected to return to the occupied areas on Sunday.


    [B] TURKISH PRESS

    The main issue in today's Turkish newspapers are the recent developments in Libya and the statements of the Turkish Premier Erdogan that [Turkey] will neither ignore cries of brother nations, nor harm its interests. Moreover, statements by Talat on the relations between Turkey and occupation regime, the meeting between Erdogan with his Malaysian counterpart, a meeting between Foreign Minister Davutoglu with Luxembourg's deputy prime minister and foreign minister, a thank-you letter by the German President Wulff to his Turkish counterpart Gul who helped in the release of two German journalists arrested in Iran, Emine Erdogan's address of the UN Commission on the Status of Women as an honorary guest, and other internal issues were covered by the press.

    [12] Eroglu warned on possible escalation of tension if measures not taken

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.02.11), reported on statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu who warned of escalation of tension between the "TRNC" and Turkey ahead of a new mass demonstration planned for March 2 to protest austerity measures backed by Ankara.

    In statements yesterday, Dervis Eroglu said he hoped protesters would not carry anti-Turkey banners or chant slogans against Turkey.

    Dervis Eroglu called on organizers to take the necessary measures to avoid a fresh wave of tension between the two countries during the new mass demonstration. "Falling out with Turkey does not serve the purposes of Turkish Cypriots," Eroglu said and warned that steps must be taken carefully from now on.

    [13] "Our extremely dangerous dance on Cyprus"

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Today's Zaman (23.02.11) publishes a commentary by its columnist Orhan Kemal Cengiz who points out the general disastrous effects of nationalism with particular reference in Cyprus

    Orhan Kemal Cengiz wonders "What on earth is it that Greeks and Turks cannot share on this island of Cyprus? Why can they not solve it? Who will solve this problem?" The writer describes the Cyprus talks between President Christofias and Eroglu a childish game and that no one actually believes that the meetings will produce anything. He adds that each side blames the other.

    Though the parties consider the Cyprus question complex, sophisticated, the writer says "it is simply that the people of Cyprus, Turks and Greeks, could not create a common identity which we could call Cypriotism, that would transcend ethnic and religious affiliations and place an emphasis on a common history, multiculturalism and so on. I cannot say this is true for all Cypriots, but the destiny of the island has always been determined by nationalists and their respective deep states that they have always been in cooperation with. The National Organization of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA) on the Greek side and Turkish Resistance Organization on the Turkish side paved the way that led the island to its current situation".

    Agreeing that there are serious problems that need to be solved such as properties, missing people, minority-majority relations, the writer underlines that "above all, Turkish and Greek nationalisms are the biggest obstacles to the solution of the Cyprus question.

    He supports that the most dangerous part of the "game" is Greek Cypriots who say that if this problem cannot be solved, that Turkey cannot join the EU and then Turkey which says if it is forced to make a choice between Cyprus and the EU, it will opt for the former...

    Orhan Kemal Cengiz concludes that Turkey has not fully recovered from its military-state structure and adds: "A militarized Turkey would be a disaster for everyone in the region -- the democrats in Turkey, the current government, all Cypriots and Greece. And an unsolved Cyprus question is like an open wound through which this disease can penetrate into the body at any time when other, necessary conditions are present. Militarism also means extreme nationalism and they all mean that we have all fallen prey to the same well-known traps again and again.

    Expressing the wish that both parts of the island speak up louder than nationalists and that a real solution emerges, he notes "If the two parts can be united, they should be; if they cannot, there must be two 'real' states that could be united in the future, at least. Whatever the solution, the parties should put aside their current hysterical stances and reach an agreement. The most dangerous option is to leave things as they are in Cyprus."

    [14] "Errors in the Cyprus policy|"

    Today's Zaman publishes an analysis with the above title on Turkey's policy on Cyprus, by Professor Ahmet Nuri Yurdusev, an international relations instructor at Middle East Technical University (ODTU).

    Yrudusev suggests that the debate regarding anti-Turkey posters has pointed out several incorrect and defective aspects of Turkey's policy on Cyprus. As such he cites: the "TRNC" is "a rent-seeking 'state'"; the "TRNC" is only recognized as a "sovereign" by Turkey, (even though Turkey has not fulfilled the requirements for recognition like obtaining a letter of consent before appointing an ambassador); with the Cyprus issue (which the writer describes as "the last case of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire") in abeyance, the previous two factors will continue to be valid.

    The writer points out that Turkey bases its interest in Cyprus primarily on geographic and strategic reasons, followed by legal reasons and humanitarian reasons:

    a) Cyprus' geographic position is very important for Turkey for the protection of Anatolia. It is like a "fixed base or an aircraft carrier." The vast gas resources under the sea around Cyprus are a new element in support of this. b) Turkey's legal authority over Cyprus, deriving from its obligations as one of the guarantor powers. c) The welfare of "Turks in Cyprus" who are consanguineous with Turks of the main land.

    The writer argues that Turkey's main mistake in its policy on Cyprus is the order of the above parameters. The order of precedence, he says, should be: a) humanitarian factors (the welfare of Turks in Cyprus); b) legal authority and c) geographic and strategic factors.

    If Turkey follows this order in its Cyprus policy, it will break the global perception that Turkey is an "occupier" and an "expansionist", argues the writer and adds " If Turkey bases the justification of its intervention in Cyprus strictly and solely on the protection of Cypriot Turks (in other words Cypriots), develops its policy on the basis of providing and protecting the basic rights of everyone in Cyprus and voices these arguments loud and clear without giving up, it will be impossible to continue perceiving Turkey as an occupier and expansionist.". Moreover, this approach will destroy the negative perceptions about Turkey that prevail in Turkish Cypriots.

    The writer asserts that the argument that the geographical and strategic importance of Cyprus for Turkey is essential for the protection of Anatolia, does not hold true, if today's means of transportation, communications and weapons technologies are considered. Moreover, regarding the new argument about Cyprus' importance because of the alleged rich natural gas resources it has, the writer points out that prosperity and development are not strictly dependent on natural resources and that they are affected by several other factors.

    The article concludes: "if Turkey, which has adopted a very humanitarian policy like the zero problems policy with neighbours policy and is trying to end the inhumane visa practices of the traditional nation-state system, takes action on the Cyprus issue first according to humanitarian and then according to legal principles and pays no regard to outdated 19th century strategic theories, it will be more befitting of its position as a model country."

    [15] Luxembourg to open embassy in Turkey; Davutoglu met with Asselborn

    According to Anatolia news agency (22.02.11), following a meeting yesterday in Ankara with Luxembourg's deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a joint press conference that Luxembourg plans to open an embassy in Turkey.

    Davutoglu said that relations between the two countries as well as the development of commerce, Turkey's-EU relations and the incidents in the Middle East, were discussed during the meeting.

    Jean Asselborn said the European Union will be stronger with Turkey's membership, as the EU could play a more important role on the global stage. Asselborn said that when the current transformation of Arab countries is considered, Turkey could be a reference country for them in this process.

    He added that Turkey had accomplished many important reforms in the past seven to eight years, adding that the accession process is a very important process for both Turkey and the EU. He added that Turkey displayed a better performance in economy than EU countries in recent years.

    [16] Erdogan says visa procedures with Malaysia to be lifted

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.02.11), during a joint press conference after meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamed Najib bin Abdul Razak, the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said that it was agreed to lift visa procedures between Turkey and Malaysia. He also said direct flights between Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen airport and Kuala Lumpur are being planned.

    Pointing out that Abdul Razak is the first Malaysian prime minister to pay a state visit to Turkey in 28 years, Erdogan said a free trade agreement will be signed this year between the two countries. He said that current trade volume is about 1.2 billion USD.

    For his part Malaysian Prime Minister Abdul Razak said that he invited Prime Minister Erdogan to Malaysia by the end of 2011 to sign strategic cooperation agreement and free trade agreement. He added that these two agreements will mark the beginning of a new era in Turkey-Malaysia relations. He further said that Turkey and Malaysia could develop an exciting cooperation in oil and natural gas.

    [17] Turkey selected member to UN's Habitat governing council

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.02.11), the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) have selected Turkey and Finland as members to the UN Habitat Governing Council.

    In its meeting last Friday, the ECOSOC decided to appoint Turkey and Finland to the two vacant seats at the governing council with a term ending on December 31, 2014.

    The 58-member Habitat Governing Council convenes twice a year at its headquarters in Nairobi. The council will meet in April this year to discuss Habitat's work schedule and its budget.

    [18] Turkish Defence Industry signed $600 million deal with Malaysia

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.02.11) reported that the Turkish Defence industry company FNSS signed on Tuesday a $600 million deal with Malaysia's DEFTECH to sell armoured combat vehicles to Malaysian military.

    Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul and his Malaysian counterpart Amhad Zahid Hamidi witnessed the signing of the agreement in Ankara.

    Under the $600 million deal for the sale of 257 armoured combat vehicles, the Pars 8x8, Turkish company FNSS will design, develop and produce vehicles and provide logistics support. The deal is important for Turkish defence industry as it is the largest amount in defence industry exports of the country at one time.

    The 8x8 Pars armoured vehicle will be redesigned by Turkish and Malaysian engineers while vehicles will be produced locally in Malaysia.

    Moreover, Malaysian companies signed several defence industry agreements with other Turkish companies MIKES and TUSAS and GATES.

    [19] Highlights

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 22 February 2011:

    Unrest in Arab countries

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News Economic Review entitled "Some friendships becoming difficult for AKP", columnist Semih Idiz points out that maintaining friendly ties with the "brutal Middle Eastern dictators" is going to get harder, and not easier, for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leadership in the face of developments in the region. Pointing out that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has found himself in a difficult position because of his friendship with the Libyan leader Al-Qadhafi, Idiz also notes that the Iranian regime was grateful to Turkish President Abdullah Gul for his recent visit to Teheran which served its propaganda purposes at a difficult time. He concludes: "Whether the AKP administration can continue to keep this kind of company as 'people power' increasingly comes onto the streets in Islamic countries is an open question. Our best guess is that it will not be able to do so, not because it does not want to, but because the inconsistency will be glaring."

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review, columnist Yusuf Kanli reminds that Erdogan recently urged the Mubarak Administration not to use force against protestors. He says: "Now, the Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi regime in Libya and the Mahmud Ahmadinezhad regime in Iran are killing people on the streets. Is the absolute ruler of Turkey suffering from amnesia? Why can he not remember the 'Thou shall not kill' commandment and as a pious Muslim fulfill his duty of reminding Al-Qadhafi (who presented him a human rights award just a while ago) and Ahmadinezhad, his so intimate friend?"

    Milliyet quotes AKP deputy leader and spokesperson Huseyin Celik as saying that they are concerned about developments witnessed in Libya because there are 25 thousand Turks working there. Responding to criticism that the government has not made a statement about the unrest in Libya similar to the one it made about Egypt, Celik stressed that every country has unique conditions that should be taken into consideration. He said: "Nobody could tell the Prime Minister when and how he should make a statement. Such statements should be issued based on safety of people and property rather than such attitudes. Foreign policy should not be guided by anger and feelings."

    Milliyet columnist Taha Akyol says that Libya is unlikely to achieve a smooth transition of power because Al-Qadhafi is the most ruthless dictator in the region. In addition, he notes, there are not strong establishments that could achieve a peaceful transition. Akyol says that Erdogan should use careful language to give advice to the Libyan government without going beyond it, because it could place Turkish citizens in Libya in jeopardy.

    Milliyet columnist Sami Kohen says that the Turkish Government is deeply concerned about the ongoing unrest in Libya because it poses a serious risk to Turkish citizens and their property in Libya. He also notes that the rising tide of change in the Arab world forces Ankara to adapt its regional policy to the emerging situation.

    Cumhuriyet columnist Cuneyt Arcayurek criticizes pro-government dailies for trying to justify Erdogan's silence about the unrest in Libya by ascribing it to his policy aimed at protecting Turkish interests in Libya. Arcayurek argues that those dailies will run many stories about advice given by Erdogan to the Libyan under banner headlines if they see strong indications that Al-Qadhafi will be toppled. He also criticizes Erdogan for not returning the human rights award that he has received from the Libyan leader.

    In an article in Zaman, Kadir Dikbas writes that there are currently some 200 firms working in different sectors in Libya, adding that a great majority of the 25,000 Turkish citizens in Libya work for these firms. Given the historic and cultural ties and the intense business relations between Turkey and Libya, Turkey should be more sensitive to the developments in that country, argues the writer, predicting that the Turkish business world will be greatly affected by the developments in Africa and the Middle East.

    In an article in Milli Gazette entitled "Europe's Mediterranean policy is cracking", Sinar Ozdemir notes that while the Arab spring is tantamount to getting rid of the despotic regimes for the Arab peoples, it is the harbinger of chaos, instability, and the end of relations that have been built over long years for Europe and the superpowers. Criticizing the hesitant stand adopted by the EU, France, and Italy in the face of the North African developments, Ozdemir draws attention to Baroness Ashton's visit to Cairo, predicting that the EU will ask the preservation of the status quo in exchange for financial aid. The writer adds: "Since the 'new structure' to take shape in Egypt will constitute a model for other countries, Europe is showing special sensitivity to Egypt." The fact that the EU member countries cannot formulate a clear and unified stand regarding the North African developments can be attributed to the different expectations of the member countries, argues Ozdemir, concluding that what is important for the EU Commission is to maintain the status quo.

    Kurdish question

    Hurriyet quotes Sezgin Tanrikulu, deputy leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) as saying that the party's election manifesto will set attainable goals regarding the Kurdish question and democratization, including proposals to set up a fact-finding committee, drafting a new constitution, and lowering the election threshold.

    Milliyet quotes Osman Ozturk, a member of the Central Committee of the Physicians' Association of Turkey, as saying that a total of 114 mass graves containing the bodies of 1,469 people have been discovered and the bones of 171 people were unearthed in 26 mass graves. He added: "The real dimension of this issue is much wider. It appears that mass graves are located in various areas, including city centers, roadsides, municipal landfill sites, and rural areas."

    Sabah says that a PKK informer identified as Nadir C. who has surrendered himself to security forces disclosed the names of 610 PKK members who have taken part in 31 armed attacks carried out by the organization in the past 25 years.

    Turkish-EU relations in light of MENA developments

    Andrew Finkel of Zaman views Prime Minister's upcoming visit to Brussels to meet with EU Commission's Barroso in the light of the developments in North Africa and the Middle East (MENA) in a 665-word article entitled "Europe, MENA and the Biggest Fish" in Today's Zaman, Andrew Finkel writes: "So what will unite Mr Erdogan and Mr Barroso concerning the rebellions in their 'near abroad' is how to pick up the pieces. At the same time the thought might be buzzing through the Turkish premier's head that Europe is not such a bad place after all."

    Freedom of press

    In an article in Today's Zaman entitled "A guide to Turkish media for the US ambassador", Ergun Babahan explains to US envoy Ricciardone the position of the media in Turkey. Conceding that relations between the government and the media are problematic in Turkey, Babahan, adds: "Unfortunately, the media in Turkey have functioned as an extension of the General Staff for many years." Pointing out that traces of the media's involvement in the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer incident are emerging now, Babahan argues that this has nothing to do with freedom of the press, adding: "The issue before us is about protecting democracy."

    12th June general elections

    According to a report in Bugun, Erdogan and Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kilicdaroglu will be conducting election activities in Germany which has over a million potential Turkish voters. Erdogan is expected to announce to the Turkish community in Germany that they will be able to cast their votes for the Turkish elections in the German cities they reside, notes the report, adding that negotiations are continuing with the German authorities to enable Turkish citizens to cast their votes at the Turkish Embassy in Berlin and at 13 Turkish consulates around the country. The report concludes by noting the infrastructure difficulties Turkey is facing in sending voting slips and ballot boxes to all its representations around the world. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    /EI


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